Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Multiple Scleroses: Inside-Out Introduction

Inside-Out Introduction

The theme for my study on multiple sclerosis is "MS From the Inside Out."   The work started out as a way to look at MS from a different perspective. The basic theme is the trauma of MS. A few years ago, I visited a hospital and noted a sign that read "Trauma Center." Intuitively I knew the reference, but for some reason, the name nagged at me.The word trauma provokes visions of a TV ER with gurneys, blood, and madness. I decided to find a better explanation. At last, I found that the classical use of trauma means not only the injury but it also includes social and emotional impacts. For a person with a long-term injury, I added disability as an impact area. These 4 impact areas, injury, social, emotional and disability frame my MS study.

Over time , my career in engineering and computers developed my skill over for information modeling. In my early 30’s I was a manager for a group of engineers and programmers. I was having a devil of a time communicating with staff about job assignments and work activity. A friend suggested I see a psychologist. Skeptical, I made an appointment. I explained the situation to the therapist. After about 20 minutes, the psychologist said you are fine, you just need some more tools. She handed me a book called “Frogs into Princes” saying “Read the first 100 pages. Come back if you have more questions.” I never went back. The book was about neural linguistic programming (NLP).  For me, those 100 pages opened the door to information modeling and enabled many career advancements.

As humans, our brains store unique abstract information models of reality. These models are complex integrations of learned experiences biased by physical constraints, social norms, environmental limits and subjective discrimination.   From the "inside-out" is a statement specific to my information models.  When doing information modeling, sometimes new and unexpected perspectives emerge. The Blog has a few topics I find interesting.  My study includes impact models for injury, social and emotional areas.  A common theme in many of the models relates to the injury model.

Because MS affects the central nervous system resulting from loss of myelin around the nerve fiber's axons, the effect is loss of quality-of-life. Over time the intervals of immune system attacks remove axon myelin. When the attack occurs, the biological wound results in inflammation then eventually scarring and disability. The clinical name for the process is a relapse, an attack, and remitting, interval between relapses.  However, as a person living with MS, the clinical explanation omits an important consideration of living with neurological damage. When an MSer experiences an attack, we go to the neurologist to confirm the relapse. If the experience is an attack, the treatment is an infusion of then steroids to promote remission. My model changes the clinical model from the relapse/remittance to an event model relapse/remission/remodel where remodel is the period between relapses. This definition of remodeling became a common thread in my MS study.

Remodeling occurs constantly in life's events. I consider reframing and reshaping as two general categories of remodeling. Reframing usually refers to modifying the psychological impact and reshaping usually refers to adapting to the physical impact.  Generally reframing and reshaping are codependent changes acting as twisted wires bonding the new model.  

Consider a common life event of getting up from a chair, walk across the room and out the door.  A microscopic analysis could demonstrate millions of coordinated model events occurring in the event's processes. Fortunately, remodeling can be effectively recruited by common practice.

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