MS or Just Me?

*side note – I have not updated my blog in a long time for two reasons. #1 – I no longer have a job that leaves me stagnant for 8 hours a day with nothing better to do than check Facebook and write a blog. #2 – My previous laptop was so virus ridden, it took too long to actually start up and by then, I’d forget why I turned it on in the first place. Anyhoover, I am back and going to try to keep these thoughts organized and a little more current. If this is the first time you’ve read my blog, start with my first post from December 2013.

There are a few key symptoms of MS that I can be 100% sure are because I have this illness. Emphasis on the word few. The left side of my body is always a little off. My foot has been swollen for a year and my stubbornness and inability to accept that some thing just are led me to a doctor, an orthopedic surgeon (thanks for the 8 weeks in a boot of shame for NO REASON), an accupuncturist, another orthopedic, a PT, a chiropractor and my neurologist.  My hand usually feels like it is coming out of being asleep, not pins and needles but that weird feeling right after. If I trip, it’s usually because my left foot will drop.  Sometimes I wake up and cannot feel that hand at all. It’s scary but it always comes back to my normal.  Sometimes I have fatigue so bad, I feel like I could fall asleep driving home from work. Fatigue is the WORST and it’s by far the hardest thing to explain to anyone. Oh, you’re tired? Need a nap? NO. I’m not tired, I don’t need a nap. I will actually feel worse if I take one. When it’s really bad, I feel like I have narcolepsy. One time, I jerked awake at my desk. No idea how long I was out.

Most of the time, though, I feel fine. I think I feel fine, anyway. I find myself wondering if these “hiccups” are MS or just normal glitches. And and times, I over think it and panic. Maybe I don’t have MS? Maybe I’m lucky enough to have experienced Clinically Isolated Syndrome. OR maybe I’m just a total bad ass and they things are feel are the same that others with MS feel but I’m so tough that I forge on anyway…

I do forge on anyway, though. I’ve read a lot of MS blogs. A lot of them make me sad, scared, and angry. But every now and again, I read ones with a reoccurring theme. The theme is that MS has been a blessing. And for me, it really has. It sounds nuts, and I know that patients with a more progressive form of the disease probably feel rage when they read it. But it’s true. I have a completely different view on life now and I have never been this happy.  I’ve made some big changes in my attitude and in my life. I take risks, I find humor in my foibles, I no longer waste my time worrying about what everyone else will think. I count my blessings every day, I appreciate things like the beauty of nature, the wonderful people in my life, the fact that my legs continue to carry me.  I have a theme song by Young the Giant “My body tells me no, but I won’t quit, cause I want more.”

I also digress. A lot. I’m like the dog on Up. Squirrel!!! This post was suppose to be about the things I experience on a day to day basis that I honestly don’t know if are MS related or just Heather being clumsy Heather.  Is Heather clumsy because of MS or was she clumsy before and now has MS? It’s the ol Chicken or the Egg theory. Fortunately, a lot of it is really funny, charming really. (Right, friends??).

I went back home a couple of weeks ago and was making a salad for dinner. An old friend was talking to me while I was peeling the cucumber. She said “Heather, are you doing that on purpose?” I looked down and was peeling the cumber into the bowl of salad. I laughed, picked the peels out of the bowl and continued on. Five seconds later, she says “You’re doing it again….” OOPS.  Earlier that same day, I went dove hunting for the first time and shot my first ever game bird with a shotgun. I would have never shot a shotgun before because it might kick. Might hurt. I was a real wimp before.

The week before the cucumber incident, I went to Corky Canvas and messed up on my painting not once, but twice. That one kind of frustrated me. Once I couldn’t remember how to start the washing machine. I cried. Now I know that sometimes I just have to stop, take a deep breath and try again.  I’ll never forget the look on Sampson’s face when I went to feed him and threw his food in the trash can instead of his bowl. I’ve actually done that twice.  Or three times.

I’ve passed some big tests recently though, tests that encourage me to take care of myself and keep on with what I’m doing.  I started a new job that is challenging and rewarding, I sat in a hot tub. I drove all the way to North Platte on I-80. I switched to a 3 time per week injection. I made it all summer in the heat and humidity without an exacerbation. I’ve been to concerts AND the mall without a panic attack. I stopped taking Zoloft. I made Chicken Schwarma without getting pissed off.  And, I’ve kept my sense of humor. Actually, I might be more funny now than I was before. That might sound small but it was my second biggest fear when I was first diagnosed. The first was that I would have to go on disability and would lose our house and live at People’s City Mission (seriously).

*I just reread this post and it’s so scattered. I would re-write it but it’s taken me an hour and I’m still in my PJ’s watching ESPN College Game Day. I need to get some cleaning done so we can go tailgate before the Husker game. I also need to keep in mind that the game starts at 8 so we won’t get home until 1am. I probably should reserve some energy. I’ll write more soon, it will be better organized.

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