Saturday, July 25, 2009

My First Year with Multiple Sclerosis

Well, in a matter of days it will have been a full year since I stood up, dizzy, to find my left leg didn't want to work.  Which, of course, we now know was the beginning of my first full-blown clinical exacerbation, eventually leading to my MS diagnosis.

I find myself rather reflective lately, and admittedly, a little sad.  I was talking to mom about a water aerobic class at our local YMCA this morning that I was interested in taking while the kids are at school, and during the conversation the inevitable "how are you feeling?" question arose.  Truth is, I've been feeling pretty crappy lately.  Further into the conversation about MS, I said "Mom, whether we all want to say it out loud or not, I've progressed during this year".  She agreed "I know you have, I see it".

And really in a nutshell, that is it.  I have progressed in this disease in the last year.  My left arm and had are considerably weaker (and useless) than they were a year ago.  A year ago, the left side of my face didn't constantly feel like it was tingling and sunburned.  A year ago, numbers and detailed directions didn't totally confuse my brain.  A year ago, Multiple Sclerosis didn't have a firm grip on my life.

Likewise, a year ago I wasn't taking handfuls of pills every morning and night to ease pain and be more functional.  Heck, I didn't take any prescriptions at all.  Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without mention of my infamous, dreaded daily Copaxone injections.  Last night I was doing my shot, and per usual it left a massive red itchy welt on my arm.  Morgan cringed and looked away as I about to pierce my skin with the needle.  She hates needles, and can't even watch while her own blood is drawn.  As I was putting the cap back on the syringe afterward, she commented "I could never do that" in reference to my daily shots.  I shrugged, and rather matter-of-factly replied "You could if you didn't have a choice, I never thought I could either and now I do".  And really, that says it all.  I never thought I could stick a needle in my own flesh.  I had hated and feared needles since I was a little girl having my appendix removed.  Now?  They don't even phase me.  They are a part of my daily life, just like brushing my teeth or combing my hair.  

This first year of "officially" having MS (I say that in quotes, as we now know I had it mildly for years before finally diagnosed) has been trying to say the least.  My life has changed drastically, as has the lives of my family.  I have friends who've had MS for years, and they assure me the first year is always the hardest.  I can only hope they're right.  

There is a plus side I've discovered this last year.  I have an appreciation for my life, and those I love in it, that I didn't have before MS entered my life.  I also realize more now than ever how much I am loved, as so many of my family have gathered around me to support me and simply "be there" for me.  I guess even with something as awful as MS, there's still a silver lining around the black cloud.  For these things, and especially my family, I am so eternally grateful.

Until next time, be well all :)

Mis

2 comments:

  1. I can't believe it's been a year already. And I still find myself going over and over your childhood wondering if there was a sign, some illness, somthing that would have been a clue. I even wondered about something I took for nasea when I was pregnant with you, which I can't remember the name of. I even called your dad to see if he remembered the name of it.... Or was it moving you to an area that had a high number of MS cases? Lots of questions, no answeers.

    I do want to clear one thing. I notice small things about your MS because I look for them. I don't think the average person that didn't have MS would ever know. So don't let my comment make you even more concerned about your appearance. I also think that as you get your life more stress-free that will help more than anything else you could do.

    I love you Melissa.

    Mom

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  2. Mom, please don't do that to yourself. You and my dad did NOTHING to cause it. While no one knows the exact cause, they know it's likely a number of factors that align just right (wrong) that give it the opportunity to develop. But please don't beat yourself up looking to see if you did, or didn't do something to cause me to develop MS. You didn't.

    And besides... I'll beat this, you of all people know I don't give up, and I'm about the most stubborn woman on the planet. :)

    Thanks for always being there for me, Mom. I love you.

    -Mis

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