Wednesday, 18 September 2013

hidden monsters

As hinted at in my previous post, my stranger feet are back. Thankfully, there's no complex walking, just the paraesthesia - numbness from both knees down. Blah. I've been brooding on this since it started up again - how will I respond if and when the sensation disappears forever? I always assume it will return again - that I will regain the sensation I've lost. I am an eternal optimist but I know that particular expectation is a naive sentiment to many with MS. I realize that many cases of relapsing remitting MS change to progressive/secondary progressive MS at some point, but I'm not sure I'm mentally prepared to lose sensation to this disease, one limb at a time. Apt, but creepy, one of the early names for MS was "creeping paralysis" - geez, way to be uplifting. It's a strange thing to see a splinter in my foot and not be able to feel it. I know millions deal with much worse, but I'm in a bit of emotional tumult over it these days. 

I'm assuming this is a relapse and not a pseudoexacerbation - a big word for the best case scenario. Last night, no matter what position I tried to sleep in, it felt like a hidden monster was gnawing on the full length of my right arm. Constant biting pressure. Not joint pain, not necessarily muscular - intense arm pain from below the shoulder to my wrist. I extended my arm towards my sleeping feet, bent it at the elbow to rest my wrist on my belly, raised it over my head, stuffed it under my pillow, but nothing changed the feeling of being a monster's lunch. I stared at the time projected onto the ceiling for four hours before finally slipping into sleep. Demons don't dine quickly.

This isn't meant to get you down or show you that I'm down. I'm lost in my head about it at times and will freely admit that needing a moment to get my balance because I misjudged my foot placement makes me sad, but it is what it is. It makes getting over the Abbey-proofing baby gates more of a challenge than before, but I can still get around just fine. No need to dust off the cane or grab at the walls or furniture. To look at me, you'd not see a struggle. I hope the foot and leg sensation returns. It's 10 in the morning and last night's excruciating arm pain has completely disappeared, so that makes me optimistic. Ever the fool. (true story: someone who is naive is technically termed a naif) The only way for me to avoid despondency and hopelessness when faced with relapse is to will myself not to define it as misery-inducing. Happiness is very often a choice from within.  

Getting MS was never on my agenda and now I can't seem to get it off the long-term calendar. I have to live with invisible monsters for the rest of my life, so I'm trying to look past the fear that comes with each new symptom and focus on the contentment I have in other parts of my life. Contentment that can, when not clouded by fear and discomfort, eclipse physical disability. Maybe I am ever the fool, and I'm certainly not happy to have multiple sclerosis, but I can be happy in spite of it.

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