Friday, August 24, 2007

When I got marked down as damaged goods.

Life is divided for me into 2 phases. Before MS and Since MS. I remember before I was diagnosed or had my first symptoms, if I met or heard of someone with a disability it sort of creeped me out. Not to say that I am without compassion because that (among other things) is something I'm full of. It's just that in having to recognize a disability in someone else, I am forced to see the unpleasantness that can be part of life. I always viewed the disabled with a certain fear and sadness, and inevitably the phrase that would cross my mind is "Whew! Glad that's not me!"

Then, on cold winter morning when I got out of bed and my feet hit the wooden floor, I didn't feel a thing. It wasn't cold. Or rather, it was cold but I couldn't feel it. It was at that defining moment that I moved from being healthy observer of the disabled to "one of them". I wasn't disabled, I just went to that side of the spectrum from the healthy-without-a-care side in that moment.

Naturally, I blew off the numb feet as "oh, they fell asleep" and then later, as the numbness crept up both legs to settling at my waist, I thought "hmmm, pinched nerve?". I went to a clinic (because a: I had no doctor and b: I had no health insurance). The doctor looked me over and had the lady in the office set me up with an appointment to see a neurologist.

Meanwhile, my legs are solidly numb and it now feels like very step I take is through mud. It was taking all my energy to get around.

After lots of tests and a 3 day vacation in the local hospital getting and IV full of steroids, my doctor pronounced that I had "Transverse Myelitis". He said that the stomach flu I'd had 3 weeks prior had somehow crossed the blood-brain barrier to damage my nervous system.

Three months later I was back in his office with new symptoms and I got my diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Darn, now I was one of Jerry's kids. That's how much I knew about MS, I had it confused with MD.

I learned, tho. I read everything I could on the subject.

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