Sunday, December 27, 2009

Perfectly Fine

This week an unexpected nudge from an even more unexpected source reminded me that I’ve neglected this place for far too long. Honesty requires that I confess that my absence here is probably a form of denial … an opportunity to make MS invisible in some imaginary way. And another part of the avoidance is that, in many ways, I feel not only incredibly blessed … but also intensely guilty that my MS experience is so easy compared to what so many others face.

A couple of down weeks around Thanksgiving have lingered through the holidays. One Sunday afternoon, I went from perfectly wonderful to incredibly dizzy and nauseous in a matter of moments. And as usual, first there’s the little voice trying to convince me that it’s just a bug or food-poisoning or some other benign thing that everyone gets and passes quickly. A couple of days trapped in bed cured me of that delusion.

How do I explain that feeling? It felt like being extremely car sick … or extremely drunk … except it was there even when I wasn’t moving … and I hadn’t had anything except tea to drink. And it didn’t go away … ever. MS patients become expert at discriminating between ‘normal’ stuff and ‘MS’ stuff. Then there’s the whole process of determining whether it’s something to just wait out or if we should visit the doctor, jump on the steroid bandwagon and take whatever other medicines he prescribes for the symptoms. I opted for a phone call … which got me the advice to take Dramamine, but for no more than 10 days in a row … and a prescription for Prednisone. The Prednisone is an adventure all of its own … starts with a high dose then tapers off over 10 days … a much kinder option than Solu-Medrol. The first two days are awesome … I’m in a good mood, happy, energetic. Then the sleeplessness sets in and I go a few days without sleep … literally. And then I am grumpy and irritable for a few more days. And then, blissfully back to ‘normal’ again.

That’s the external process. The internal is more complex. Inside the voices begin whispering. They wonder if this is the flare-up that doesn’t get better … if this is the time that a symptom becomes a permanent part of my life. You see, I have been so blessed to this point … my symptoms all ‘sleep’ most of the time … most of the time my life is not very different than it would be without MS. I have no real reason to believe that will change for me. My diagnosis was early. The therapies work well for me. But the voices still whisper. And I know that the voices whisper in the minds of my children. I can see it in their faces and hear it in their questions. And because I’m the mom … because no matter how adult they get, I will always be the mom … I tease them and tell them how silly they are and that I’m perfectly fine.

And I am.