I am in the middle of a relapse that began mid-October, a little over a month after getting my MS diagnosis. It started in my right hand and quickly colonized my right side – arm, torso and even boob (sorry, breast, for those who prefer the clinical term).
The first exacerbation (technical term!) in September was in my right leg. I wasn’t expecting the new spot, but it has to do with where on my brain and spinal cord I get the lesions that cause the signals to get hung up. I know I’m dumbing all of this down terribly, so I hope I’m not being inaccurate.
The best way I can describe it is like when a part of your body falls asleep, but it goes beyond just being merely annoying and into excruciating territory. The affected parts are numb and unwieldy. They feel ice cold when the rest of me is on a hot-flash level. And it never ceases.
My fingers feel like chubby little sausages that can’t do basic functions like grab, type, wipe, button or pretty much anything. Good thing I’m a southpaw or I’d be screwed right about now, because I’m still working.
And I recoil from touching pretty much anything, because it sends shooting pains across the neuropathways (not a technical term, natch). Oh, and it feels like my fingernails are falling out. Fascinating, really, if it wasn’t me going through it.
So I asked my neurologist for steroids, the oral variety so I wouldn’t have to go back to the hospital. Which amounts to 72 pills in 72 hours. They’re small little buggers, so I’m downing them like the gritty, nasty Tic Tacs they are.
They’ve mitigated my symptoms somewhat, but not to the extent I’m happy with.
But in a way, I feel lucky. I’m now on Betaseron, one of the most bad-assest MS drugs out there (more on this in a later post). I haven’t been on it long enough for it to really kick in yet, but I’m confident once it does I will be in remission for a long time (power of positive thinking and all).
I am grateful to be diagnosed at a time when we know so much about this disease and have a variety of treatment options.
Just 25 years ago, MS patients didn’t have these drug treatment options. They had to endure monthly body-ravaging steroids via IV as their only form of relief.
And I just have three days. Seventy-two pills.