New Year, New Drug, New Resource, New Body.

It’s just gone 0900hrs and I have been awake all night.  Again.

Proper awake, too.  We went to bed just before 0200hrs (which is fairly normal for us) and I sat up, in bed, using my laptop, whilst my husband saw to a couple of emails.  He came to bed about a half hour later.  I wasn’t that sleepy, so I continued mithering Facebook and Twitter for a wee while.

He soon fell asleep and Peter (the cat) settled down to pummel at my legs and purr, loudly.     Well, you know, husband and cat seem to set each other off.  I don’t know if human snoring sounds like parental cat purring, but it makes Pete purr all the louder.  What I don’t understand, though, is when the purring appears to set off the snoring.

That’s just weird.  And annoying.

insomniaSo, I return to the living room sofa and consider my options.

For starters, I’ll take another couple of Tramadol.  That’s a strong pain killer that has the reported side effect of drowsiness (amongst others).  Drowsiness would be good right now.

However – and there’s always a however, right? – I have found quite the opposite happens to me when I take Tramadol.  Now, whether it’s the pain keeping me awake, because I only take this medicine when I have exhausted all my other means of pain relief, or the pills themselves.  I am thinking it’s the latter, as the drug is very effective pain relief, for me.  But I have to report that every time I hit up the Trams, I suffer with insomnia.

The next step in my quest for sleep is to self medicate, again.  I have already had three glasses of wine and one spliff, earlier in the evening.  I don’t want another drink, as I have already had too many Syns* but another smoke might ease me into a snooze.  It often does.  After my usual twice daily rounds of prescription medicine, my drug of choice is cannabis.  It eases my pain and muscle spasms and thus aides sleep.

It is often accompanied by alcohol, which has been my staple recreational drug since I can ever remember.  In fact, I cannot recall a time in my life when alcohol was not present.  This is not unusual for working class people, in the UK.  It’s ingrained in our collective British psyche.  We are a nation of piss-heads.

Yet still, tonight, I do not sleep.  I am very, very tired.

Insomniac

Four o’clock and five roll on by and I hear the milkman rattle his bottles and ply his trade.  It’s February and the sun will not be rising for another few hours.  The birds have not yet woken and it’s blissfully silent (bar the snoring I can still hear, Pete having pushed the door between the bedroom and the living room open again).

I feel nauseous.  This could be sheer exhaustion or it could be the new medicine I have finally been prescribed.  If you recall, at my last neurologist appointment, I was advised to wean myself off of one of my drugs with the aim of regaining my orgasm.  Then I was to be given an alternative to try (alternative drug, not orgasm, natch.  But that is an interesting concept, isn’t it?  What could ones options be?  If only there were a menu one could successfully choose from!)

I have been prescribed Lamotrigine.  Like many other drugs I have tried, it is mainly prescribed for epilepsy.  This one is also used for bi-polar disorders and the like, as well as for neuropathic pain.  I am starting on 25mg once a day, for the first week, then, for the next week, twice a day, then up to a total of 75mg a day for a week, and so on – slowly increasing to 400mg a day.

I have to, as usual, weigh up the pros and cons.  If this one reduces my pain but does so without removing all my muscle spasms then I’ll be a happy bunny.  I’ll also be highly surprised, mind.  We’re back to “reduced pain or satisfying sex-life” again, if not.

Thankfully, I have a great support network.  Not only is there the long suffering, ever patient, total hero of mine that is Pete’s purring buddy, but I have a whole swathe of Twitter buddies (hello, fellow Spoonies) and Facebook friends and, of course, there’s the charity that I have been fund-raising for, via VixPix.org for the best part of a decade.  That’s the Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre (MSRC).

MS-UK

The MSRC have, very recently, rebranded themselves as the far more approachable sounding MS-UK.
MS-UK are simply the dogs’, (that’s a good thing, by the way :lol:).  They helped me through those fractious months after diagnosis and have been there for me ever since.
With a very comprehensive website that contains everything you might need to know about this sucky disease including a forum that provides support as well as an off topic community, and a chat-room for those instant fix moments we can all need from time to time.
They provide telephone support and advice and the whole team always appear helpful and cheerful and knowledgeable.

If you have MS, or know someone that does, or if you’re just looking to find out more about this unpredictable, incurable disease, then you really should take a look.  Pass on the url, too, if you can.  “Sharing” this blog would be an easy way to spread the word about MS-UK and I am sure they would really appreciate it, almost as much as I appreciate their very existence.

http://www.ms-uk.org/

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*Syns : One of the terms used by Slimming World, the diet club I have been using to lose weight.  I am happy to report that I achieved my target weight of 9½ stone (133lbs or 60kg) in October and by continuing to go to group meetings, I am managing to stay there!
I have become quite the Slimming World bore, I am sure, but it has been do-able and, if you’ve ever been on a diet before, you’ll know that that is a major plus.  That and not being hungry.  In fact, feeling full.  Proper full-up-full.  Yummy, family friendly, satisfying eating and lose weight?  Hell yeah!!

And like with the MS, the support is all important and it’s there when you need it: at meetings; on social networks; on the phone; whatever you need.  I have met a great bunch of people, too.  People I now consider friends, not just acquaintances.   I wish there were a graph to show that, but instead, here’s a graph of my weight loss.  Yeah, I’m showing off.  Bite me.

Vix' Slimming World Weight Loss Graph

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