Last reply 11 months ago
On the brink of a relapse?

Hi everyone,

As always, I hope you’ve been well.

So- I’m both newly diagnosed and a school teacher. I got started on Tecfidera approx 6 weeks ago and also am now back at school. I’ve only ever had optic neuritis (once in winter 2017 and made a full recovery) and I get frequent migraines (developed March 2018) and as of August 2018, I’m now on Amitriptyline at 10mg once a day and I have not had a single migraine since. Asides from that, I haven’t had many symptoms. I get sporadic vertigo, pins and needles if I lean on any of my limbs for too long and a little bit clumsy when walking. Basically, nothing particularly debilitating or difficult to live with.

However, since school started three weeks ago, I’ve noticed a few changes; in the first week, my vision began to blur, which was particularly noticeable to me when I was walking. I developed left eye pain and a left-sided headache (my ON was previously in right eye and my migraines are always right side) and so I immediately feared I was developing ON in left eye. It all went away after a few days, but now I’ve noticed I wake up with a slight headache a few times a week now (possibly need a stronger amitriptyline dose as body had adjusted?), but more worryingly, I’ve developed pins and needles that are so frequent and severe. Both my legs and arms tingle throughout the day, I feel extremely sleepy all the time despite 7-8 hours sleep a night and I feel extra forgetful. For example, I wanted to say “plum” today, but couldn’t get beyond describing it was “a purple fruit that’s yellow inside”, much to mine and my husband’s amusement.

Anyway- if I get to the point, I can’t stop wondering what all these symptoms mean. I guess it could be nothing and just coincidental, in that I’m back at school and my body is just trying to adjust to being busy again. But I am worried I might be headed for a relapse? Has anyone had a build-up of symptoms that eventually resulted in a relapse?

Weirdly enough, I’ve not been finding it hard at school. I live in a new area, I’m new to the school, I teach over 300 children a week by myself, I plan all my lessons and get to school and stay in school with no difficulty every day, so I wouldn’t say the stress is overwhelming, but I have always felt like I have the capacity to deal with a lot, so maybe my body and mind are on different pages about my current workload!

Any advice? Since I’ve never had a relapse, I thought who better to turn to than my fellow MSers! I feel like my body is telling me something and I don’t yet have the experience to understand and listen to it. (I sound very dramatic. FYI I teach science, not drama, by the way)

Sorry if this doesn’t make proper sense. Brain fog.

Thanks always,


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11 months ago

@fraction , here’s everything you need to know about what is and isn’t a relapse :-

The thing is that you job brings you into contact with all the bugs that are presently going around. If your immune system gets activated to counter one of these bugs, then your MS symptoms will grumble.

You’re wise to “listen to your body” in situations like this. If you can, factor in extra breaks, to see if this helps and generally take things a bit easier. And, if you have any concerns that it may be a relapse, then contact your MS Nurse.

11 months ago

@fraction Have you had an MRI recently to see if there has been any progression since your last attack? Based on what you described you are having new symptoms so it might already be a relapse. Cog fog is also a symptom worth discussing with your doctor. It would be good to consult your neurologist as soon as possible. Its great you are able to continue in your classroom, but I would take some extra caution and see if you can be looked at. It might be worth considering changing DMTs if you have breakthrough activity on an MRI.

11 months ago

Talk to your doctor. New symptoms could be a relapse. As for saying the wrong word, or not being able to remember a word, I started doing that this summer and a new MRI showed a new lesion in the part of the brain associated with speech. So MS can cause that symptom.

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