Heat (In)sensitivity

When I was first diagnosed with MS, I was warned by my former neurologist and by my feverish scouring of the internet vis-à-vis my strange new life, of one of the more common symptoms of multiple sclerosis: heat sensitivity. I was concerned because, well, I live in Central Florida, I do very physical work, and I do it outside. My diagnosis was in April; months of 90-degree temperatures and high humidity loomed imminently on the horizon.

That first summer, I replaced a driver who had injured his ankle. I was on the same route (a difficult one) for around 2 months, more or less every day. I remember the crushing fatigue of that summer—fatigue was my constant companion for at least 4-5 months after the “worst” of the exacerbation (numbness, weakness, loss of function in my right hand) had faded—but the heat didn’t bother me a bit.

You might wonder, but wasn’t the fatigue possibly due in part to the heat? I didn’t think so, but I wasn’t sure. Fortunately, the question was answered this past summer, where I felt perfectly fine each and every day. I hope for (and anticipate) the same for the summer of 2013. (In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen.)

As you can imagine, given my circumstances of location and career, I am probably gladder than most to be free from this symptom. It’s one less hassle of MS that I am currently fortunate not to have to deal with. My heart goes out to you for whom the heat poses problems. I have a friend in upstate New York who has MS, and she says she absolutely wilts outside in the summertime. Folks have been surprised to hear that the heat doesn’t bother me, but I just smile and tell them that I’m a contrarian by nature, so it doesn’t surprise me.

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