Me and MS
Disclaimer: If I were to write a school report about my summer, it would go something like this: I lost part of my vision for a spell in June/July 2010. Then I lost the ability to walk. And then I found out I had multiple sclerosis. I’m now ready to talk about that journey. So for now, I’m keeping the blog name, because “Losing It” applies in so many ways still. But I will be shifting focus to this new challenge of living with MS, which, incidentally, requires me to try to stay as healthy as possible so I can fight this disease with all the strength I can muster. I plan to write with candor and humor, even if the latter is in short supply these days. I don’t want to dwell on the negative, but I do want to give as accurate a picture of my day-to-day life as I can.
This is something I wrote in the hospital back in September 2010, when I spent 5 terrible days cooped up in a drab gray room unsure of what was in store for me. Oh, and I was on drugs.
You know those anatomy books that show the systems of the body from the skeleton on up? I feel like see-through page No. 2 or whichever one it is, the one right after the skeletal system but before the muscles are drawn in. It’s the nerves, all tightly bundled electric sinews before ligaments and tendons are fleshed out.
Exposed. Raw. Pain. Jittery. Live wires. Do not touch.
Stripped down to a most subhuman level. I feel like one of those Renaissance anatomy figures, bulging eyes and skinned peeled away. Maybe da Vinci would have analyzed my foot, immortalized it in his notebook. He got it, that below the facade of enigmatic smiles of the Mona Lisa and muscular structure of his body drawings is us at our most elemental.
But also, contradictorily, I feel superhuman at the neurological level. It’s how we feel (literally), how our brain and body does this delicate dance of impulse and reaction. The spark of awareness.
And mine decided to give up for a bit. This could be my superhero origin story if I felt I had any powers to offer Stan Lee. I doubt an overweight, overworked possible MS patient would draw a lot of readers. But you never know, right? I could get a sidekick. And a supercane (more on that in a later post).
But mastering the layer of nerves that now shriek in agony and don’t respond as expected is my abstract enemy, my sword in the stone or whatever metaphor fits this undesirable path.
I forge ahead, because what other option can there be? You don’t retreat from yourself.