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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Paying the MS Tax: The day after being active


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Profile photo of Devin Garlit
It’s time for me to talk about a pretty common occurrence in my life, those times when I have to “pay the MS Tax”. That’s what I call it anyway. I’m referring to that period of time after I’ve tried to act normal, when I’ve put on my best smile (real or not), bit the bullet, and went out and actually did some sort of activity like most people do. That time when I feel like I’m paying for acting like everyone else. For me, the day after an activity is typically filled with fatigue,pain, and even confusion that necessitates me doing next to nothing. While my experiences certainly don’t reflect everyone with MS (or other chronic illnesses for that matter), I know there are many that do deal with this phenomenon.
Having to have a recovery day (or even days) has become such a necessity to me, that my wife and I have to plan for it. As you can probably surmise, if there are two things happening back to back, that means picking and choosing one over the other. Most times that’ll be whatever comes first because I will always tell myself “oh I can do it all”. I tell myself that and then the day after the first event, reality comes crashing down, I’m stuck in bed or on the couch and looking terrible because once again I’ve had to cancel at the last minute.
Even though logically I know I am going to need down time, I still tend to get this attitude that I can do everything. My wife knows better and will try to talk some sense into me but at the same time, I imagine it’s pretty hard to do that. MS and other chronic illnesses can be such roller coasters. You get lots of crappy lows but when you do feel good, it’s so rare that you want to take on the world and do everything possible. That leads to overdoing it which leads to an even longer recovery time. The process then keeps repeating itself.

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