Each day that goes by in this little life of mine has a small reminder that; even though, I may walk with a normal gait, use my hands to grow food, craft and cook, fill some days with the to-do list of super-mom, I am a person with Multiple Sclerosis. Every day this small thought enters my head. Every day.
When I am chasing sheep around the yard, tilling a garden, stacking wood, I am still a person with MS. When I am sitting quietly, savoring the fatigue that comes with good hard work at the end of the day, I am reminded of the fatigue that used to plague me in my early 30's when they symptoms of MS were a constant part of my every day.
And every once and a while;thankfully fewer whiles than in the past, I have an exacerbation that takes a month from my normal life.
There really is only one way to treat the exacerbation. A course of cortico-steroids. This miracle drug restores feeling and function to that part of my body that has decided not to work to full capacity. This drug raises my blood pressure, raises my blood sugar, robs my body of calcium, retains water, temporarily depresses my immunity also takes away the limp, numbness and restores balance.
They also do something else to me. They put me in a dark place. They tap into the fear that I can forget when I am in an extended period of wellness. It is the fear that this might be the one exacerbation that leaves me with a permanent limp. It is the fear that after a life time of MS my elder years will be spent like some of the residents at the nursing care facility I cared for; unable to care for myself, in a wheelchair with a hands and feet in braces. I can rage against this damn thing. I have given up running long distances, dancing for hours and savoring summer heat because my body can not tolerate extreme heat. This time my hands have taken the hit. They are numb and unable to do what I want to do with them. I can rage at the unfairness.
Yup, it gets that dark in this little brain of mine.
This too shall pass. I have had MS since I was 29. I am 43. I am doing pretty well. My last exacerbation was 2 years ago. The one before then was 7 years. I have made significant changes in the way that I live, eat and treat myself. I am aware that sometimes no matter what I do I will get sick. Other times it serves as a reminder that I have to slow down and pay attention.
I am blessed with a good husband and kind children. I am blessed with a good spot of soil and overall good health despite the MS. I am blessed with good food in the cupboard and a great new community. I am blessed with the learned lessons that MS has taught me. To slow down, listen to my body, eat well.
I am blessed.
Thanks for indulging me.