Life with Multiple Sclerosis
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There are moments in some days — fleeting moments, and assuredly not in every day — when I could forget that I have multiple sclerosis (MS). These moments are always when I am still, usually when I have either nothing or everything (else) on my mind, and often enough, accompanied by the chin of my faithful dog, Sadie, resting on some part of my body.
They are wonderful moments — after the fact — when I realize that they existed. But they are brief and transient, for as soon as I begin to move, MS is there.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) — the insidious thief of a disease that it is — can and has taken much from me. It has taken functions, it has robbed me of strength, and it has stolen my stamina. MS has replaced feeling with numbness, abilities with disability, and self-reliance with dependence.
Multiple sclerosis has also changed my vision.
More than just the nystagmus — which can have my eyes shaking in their sockets — or the double vision when I’m overtired or overheated, MS has changed the way I see things.
When you consider that the human intestinal tract (small and large) is about 7.5 meters (or 25 feet) long and that every centimeter of it is controlled by nerves — nerves that are controlled via the central nervous system and are some of the longest nerves in the body — it’s really no wonder that the intestinal tract can easily be affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
In fact, while optic neuritis might one of the most common symptoms leading to a diagnosis of MS, anecdotally at least, issues with the bowel (particularly constipation) may be some of the earliest symptoms of the disease.
A prominent MS clinician once told me that the number of people with MS who report (when asked) that they may have had issues with constipation in their youth far outstrips norms. While I have read no research on the topic, it intrigues me to think about.
You know what it’s like when you’re watching a video clip on your computer and the voices are just a little bit out of synchronization with the pictures? Yeah, that’s what multiple sclerosis (MS) has felt like to me these past few weeks.
It’s as if I’m the smallest kid in the marching band carrying the largest cymbals — with one shoe untied and slightly out of step. I just can’t seem to match phase with the world around me.
The dogs need a walk, but I need a nap.
When I have enough energy to do a bit of weeding in the garden, the rain falls.
Can you imagine the look on someone’s face when I tried to explain that I was having a tough go with my multiple sclerosis (MS) because of a cold sore? I suppose it made me understand their side of the conversation a bit better, because I was, frankly, a bit surprised as well.
I shouldn’t be surprised by anything this stupid disease does anymore, but I still am.