5.14.2008

Day 60

My name is Jennifer. I am a drug addict.
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Now THAT got your attention after a few boring days, didn't it?

Unfortunately, I suffer from RLS, which, no matter what Rush Limbaugh says in his commercial parody, is a very real disease. Well, maybe not a disease in the full sense of the word, but it is unbelievably irritating. And, it can be frustrating because people who have never experienced any of the symptoms have no idea just how horrible it is.

RLS is recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a significant neurological disorder that robs sufferers of sleep and causes significant daytime fatigue, with a resulting loss in cognitive ability, productivity, and quality of life. RLS is characterized by a set of extremely uncomfortable symptoms in the legs that occur during rest. These symptoms--generally burning, twitching, or creeping sensations--compel the victim to begin moving their legs around for relief (hence, "restless legs"). They have sudden jerks or shaking movements of their legs.

I meet each of the four criteria listed on www.rls.org and the best way I can think to explain my RLS is that it feels like billions of bugs are crawling under my skin from my knees down. Often, when it's bad, my legs (mostly my right leg) will jerk uncontrollably. My RLS is worst when I am sitting/driving/on an airplane/in church. The glances I get can be amusing when my legs start jerking and I cannot keep them still. But as long as I am walking or moving in some way, I am perfectly fine. I have had symptoms of RLS off and on since I was a teenager but I was so bad last fall that I had to talk to my doctor about medication.

RLS is also hereditary. (Thanks daddy!) My dad struggled with it for years before his doctor finally convinced him to take medicine, and now he feels the same way I do about it. We agree that we would give up every other medication, as long as no one took away our Mirapex! Hence, my "drug addiction". As long as I take the medicine every day around lunchtime, I am fine. If I forget it, the symptoms show up and are generally worse than they were before I ever started taking the medicine. I don't quite understand why, but it's great motivation to not forget!

I guess if you have to have a "chronic condition", there are many worse than RLS. But I am so thankful for advances in medical science that have been able to give me--and my dad--some relief. Now if they would just make a generic prescription for Mirapex. The cost for the medicine is enough to give me "the shakes" for a whole different reason!!!

6 comments:

The Thomsons said...

I'm glad that there is medicine available for you!
Rachel

Marzola Happenings said...

i too, have this annoying syndrome. not taking meds yet, but maybe that would help. ;)

Kim said...

I feel for you! I have had short seasons of this (especially during pregnancy) and my husband has dealt with it. It is maddening!

Anonymous said...

YOUR MOTHER IN LAW HAS A MAJOR CASE OF THIS!!!!

Mom said...

Jen, Daddy had to convince the dr. to give him the medicine. We heard about it on TV, but the dr. had never heard of it, and had to do some research before he would agree to prescribe it. It is a miracle drug, making for much more pleasant evenings. Also don't forget that his mother had it too.

Anonymous said...

I also suffer from RLS. I remember having that awful feeling as a teenager but not knowing what in the world it was. I know medicine would probably help but we have no insurance, so I suffer. It is much worse when I am really tired, like tonight. Denise