Friday, August 07, 2009

I JUST Have MS...

Time sure flies by when you DON'T have MS!

OK...Yes, I am still diagnosed with the disease (although I am prone to debate over that one...what am I saying? I'm *prone* to debate ANYTHING!). But I have to say, the past two months relatively MS-symptom-free except for the chronic neurological annoyances, has been DEE VINE. I have had no pinpointed, new, cropping up neurological disturbances for several weeks now...leaving me often in a state of AMNESIA about Multiple Sclerosis most of the time during the past 8 - 10 weeks. Who KNEW there was life WITH MS?!?

This morning was the first in a long series of days where muscle spasms startled me awake. I've had this phenomenon before and usually it has been my belief the symptom is more related to my inability to hold a stable potassium level...but I have to say, the return of the calf muscles in a Charlie Horse spasm x 10 magnitude DID startled me awake...I had let my guard down after all. I wasn't expecting anything other than my typical *good feeling body* to be housing my brain today. That's just what happens when life is sailing smoothly...sort of like women who forget the pain of childbirth (which, I think they are LIARS! Hehe). Out of sight, out of mind.

So, when I awoke around 5:00AM with my feet pointing straight outward like a fat ballerina and my knees drawn up to my chest, it took me several minutes to figure out I had NOT been hog-tied in my sleep. The pain (I can only imagine) is much like that of cramping childbirth...only in my legs...Lamaze breathing is about the only thing one can do until they (me) gather their (me) wits about them(me). This morning's vise grip spasms were also accompanied by a heaviness in my chest and a pulse of 42! For those of you not in the *know* about a normal heart rate, it's usually somewhere between 60 - 80 beats a minute...42 is (dare I say?) just not acceptable for sustaining life in a prolonged manner.

I reached over to my bedside stand and grabbed my cell phone and my nurse's cap...I keep both handy at all times. LOL Pulse 42, heaviness in the chest, but not pain per se, muscle spasms bilaterally? Hmmm...perhaps I SHOULD have eaten that banana that was offered to me yesterday?!? After a brief "Oh Sh!+" panic, I diagnosed myself with probable very low potassium level and dragged my cramping legs out of bed to my medicine cabinet. If you've ever taken oral potassium, you'll already know the pills are like swallowing a small sausage sideways...they're HUGE. But, after gagging one down my gullet and laying back down for another hour, the symptoms slowly began to subside. It appears I am going to have to begin taking these horse pills again on a daily basis if I want to keep up my aerobic exercise plan and dietary regimen...minor inconvenience.

Which brings me to the title of this blog (albeit loosely)...I JUST Have MS.

I would never want to minimize ANYONE else' experience with Multiple Sclerosis as I know there are many, many people out there who's MS has cost them so much in their lives...from mobility to cognitive functions to daily excruciating pain to loss of bladder/bowel functions to...the list goes on and on and each neurological symptom takes it's toll on everyone differently. But, so far...but for the grace of God go I...MS has seemed to settle quietly in my life like a layer of dust on a book shelf. I am still working full time, still mobile, still able to add 2 + 2 (OK, that's an exaggeration...I've NEVER been able to add or subtract, but not because of MS!), and still enjoying a sometimes rare quality of life.

When I look at those around me less fortunate in their MS, I am very grateful for what the disease has NOT taken from me...and I knock on wood, spin around in a circle three times, and throw salt over my shoulder as a measure of good fortune every time I acknowledge this: I JUST have MS.

Very recently, I was engaged in a conversation with my now ill friend, R.S., and I was whining about catching yet ANOTHER cold virus in July. R.S. smiled at me saying, "It's all relative", then proceeded to tell me about a horrific fall he took off his roof the night before. He managed to walk away WITHOUT a head injury or broken bones, but was seriously scraped and bruised down his entire side...less than 3 weeks later, he is now diagnosed with a terrible illness and is in a battle for his life.

It's all relative and I JUST have MS.

I find those words above much harder to say when I have been in a *bad* way or relapse with my MS. I imagine that is because the fear of the unknown grips my by the neck and clouds my vision...MS is in my face at those times and distorts my perceptions of the continuum I travel upon. At those times, mumbling in humble fashion, "I have MS", is about all I can muster...THAT cold reality can feel overwhelming.

But, when I am feeling *well* (relatively speaking), I sometimes want to deny the disease in me and all it's possibilities...I want to shout from the top of Mount Rainier, "I JUST have MS!", and hike down with exuberant glee. Some days, I'm very thankful I JUST have MS...I am without fear and peaceful in those now. Even waking with what felt like a probable heart attack in the making (I DO exaggerate!) was/is just a bump in my road and not a road detour needed.

It is times like these I am remind of some powerful lyrics from a Carly Simon song: "That life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon"...too bad she couldn't have added, "and I JUST have MS". Seems somehow fitting at the moment for me. LOL

SOOOOO...(you KNEW it was coming)...I've decided it IS OK for me to blog about feeling healthy and well. I know, I know...many of you have been coming here to CHEESE faithfully to be inspired by my *pithy* (or is that *pissy*?) wit and extreme sport sarcasm. I promise you, somewhere deep and buried within my pollyannic projections right now, that edgy and often angst-filled person STILL exists...yes, the FART humor remains, too. But I realized recently I have been avoiding this blog because I've had nothing BAD to say about MS! I've had nothing to commiserate upon. No traumas, no personal tragedies...nada. Life is good at the moment (STOP setting up a betting poll on time/date of my demise and when I will fly my middle finger at life again!!).

If you can tolerate my happiness (huh, huh...I said penis!) for the time being, I'll try to post more often than I have been. I mean, surely there will be SOMETHING out there that occurs in my life worthy of posting? There MUST be a smidgen of bodily functions humor left unpublished in this world?!?

**Checking my fart joke file now**...


Webster said...

What is this, some kind of perverse joke? Are you warning us that you're going to start blogging about LIVING with MS??? Well, Sh*t, I come here to hear about pain ... suffering ... pratfalls and tears.

Listen up, 'what'syourname' (I temprarily forgot it), I come here to read about living a life with MS, [oh yeah, it's Linda - HA, just came to me], and if you're doing fun Summer stuff, I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT.

Allow me to live your fun life vicariously. The bad, the ugly, and the good. I'm happy that you're feeling so well. Really, I am.

Blindbeard said...

I'm perfectly content to read good and bad about MS. If we can't have a sense of humor about it then we are beat. And I refuse to have MS destroy my love of fart jokes, belch talk (getting better at it!), and all things ridiculous, myself included.

Tracey's Life said...

Absolutely - just post about whatever your heart desires!

PS - I love your wit, so whatever you write about will surely give me a smile!

PedestrianCrossing-Colleen said...

Welcome back! (And I'm glad I don't have to see that rat photo anymore)

A friend recently asked me how I was doing. And I told her I can NEVER complain about my health. Cuz with MS I know it can get worse. So every healthy day, every day with minimal symptoms is a gift.

I'll enjoy hearing your wisdom about this gift now!

Jen said...

: )

What's up with the hats?? Does this mean I can purchase a special MS hat?


Denver Refashionista said...

I too just have MS and I am grateful because life goes on just fine.

I can relate to the muscle spasms. My hands clenched up and got stuck the other night but now after a few days of steroids, I'm feeling really great again.

Have Myelin? said...

I love reading the good news, it inspires me and cheers me on. So lovin' ya bald, Du.

SusanK said...

Good, bad, ugly... that's MS. Mine's bad right now (stupid) summer heat), but I just have MS too- and even my "bad" MS is better than my friend's "good" battle w/ brain cancer. Keep doin' what you're doin' & don't change a thing!

Joan said...

My turn: YES, I need good posts every now and then. When I'm getting whipped by MS or some other problem (hey, I just discovered that I'm not immune to all the other health problems in the book) like I am right now, I stop writing and stop reading blogs because I can't deal with any more doom and gloom. This was a NICE posting, thanks!

harkoo said...

Maybe you could write about the flowers you planted in your garden this spring? A px of them might be nice. Glad life is good for you!

Raini said...

Glad to hear you are doing well! I read your blog for the humor not for the kvetching. Sharing the good as well as the bad is just as helpful, maybe even more so. Giving hope that things will get better to those in a bad way is just as important as moaning and groaning. Just be sure to keep the 'tude and sarcasm!
My MS is doing well right now, thank goodness, so I now b**ch about menopause! That's another rich area of material!

Spaz Attack said...

Yo Cheese

Call me a numbskull (which I am with MS) but I'm betting your lack of debilating symptoms and better health for past two months can be attribute to your new, no junk food way of eating.

Amazing how much better we CAN feel when we ain't downing the Dew and cramming junk food into our bodies.

What's your take?