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Timothy L. Vollmer, MD
Department of Neurology
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Department of Neurology
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Travel, Lack of Sleep, and Possibly Altitude Worsen MS Symptoms

I awoke this morning after three days of travel over seven time zones, having spent four different currencies along the way.

On the heels of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society 2015 leadership conference, a missed flight connection in London, and now waking up a few thousand feet up in the Swiss Alps, my multiple sclerosis (MS) has caught up with me.

A strict resting schedule (aided by a few pharmaceuticals) helped make the conference in Fort Worth, Texas, draining but not burdensome. Heavy fog, and then air traffic congestion, made the travel time coming home significantly longer than advertised. Insufficient connection time between flights meant spending an extra three hours in London’s Heathrow Airport. And that made my one night in my own bed even shorter than expected.

Excitement over heading away on our first “real” holiday (not connected with a family event or business travel) got me through a drive to Dublin, and up far earlier than necessary to catch our flight. And seeing old friends who’ve been absent from our daily lives for six very long years (for those who’ve read my memoir, Chef Interrupted, we’re visiting “The Swiss”) propelled me through a busy city day and into a comfortable bed.

My ‘Traveling Companion’ Caught Up With Me in the Night
This morning I awoke to find that my autoimmune traveling companion caught up with me in the night, and he’s still sitting on my legs.

If I were to gauge my MS in the previous days using our Life With Multiple Sclerosis Self-Evaluation Scale (LWM3S), I’d have to say I’ve gone from a 4 to a 6 overnight.

For those who haven’t heard of — or don’t remember — the LWM3S, it’s a simple 1-10 scale whereby:

  • 1 = The best my symptoms have felt since being diagnosed with MS
  • 10 = The worst my symptoms have felt since being diagnosed with MS

Perhaps adrenaline and anti-fatigue meds made the previous week or so seem easier that it was. Maybe my rigid adherence to my schedule of resting and not overdoing it at the conference worked.

The truth of the matter is that multiple sclerosis “runs” faster than I do, and I’m a rather large target when I try to hide from it.

‘Que Sera Sera’

I’ll revise our holiday plans to accommodate my unwelcome traveling companion while still enjoying our friends and their home and hospitality. Legs, eyes, and coordination are affected, but we’ll hope that cognitive function stays with me.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by EVERYDAYHEALTH
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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