Wednesday, 9 July 2014

#4 Saying it Out Loud

After my mother’s death I threw myself into work with a vengeance. The guilt that I had not been there before she died ate at me. I tried to close off my feelings, to close off everything. But I couldn’t do it for long.

The next year I crashed, and had a major depressive episode. I even went on Prozac for awhile.

I’m not good living with this ‘one day at a time’ stuff, my MS seemed to be worsening. I was coping with a number of ‘weird’ symptoms and was confused. I still had some numbness in my face, and the droop to my eye was a good indicator to how tired I was. I noticed that when fatigued I tended to drag one leg and occasionally tripped. If I didn’t pay attention to the mechanics of swallowing, I could choke.

Then there were the bladder and bowel issues, mainly urinary retention and constipation. There was no feeling in the outer aspect of my left leg, numbness in my hands, and a serious deterioration in my hand writing. I needed to print for it to be legible. I also had some cognitive issues, and what I thought were changes in my speech pattern, forgetting words, making my speech hesitant.

The kids knew what was going on by this time and were good at picking up the signs. If I was tired I’d fade quickly, stumble. Maybe my vision would blur; and my mood deteriorate. I remember shopping one time when my daughter recognized the signs and said “You’ve passed your limit, let’s go home.”

I asked the doctor, no hedging, was this multiple sclerosis?

He said an MRI would give me a better answer. Did I want an MRI? Hell yes, I wanted to know. Knowing had to be better than the fear of the unknown. The unknown can be a big and scary place, or a heavy burden to carry.

I had the MRI in 1996, and later, back in the neurologist’s office, he handed me the report. It said “indicative of a demyelinating disease”. Apparently the doctor who read the test doesn’t like to say it out loud either.

That was by far the simplest test result I would ever have.

I had Multiple Sclerosis; and an appointment at Saint Michael’s Hospital…at the MS Clinic.

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