Ms Saved My LifeJust passed 10 years since my RRMS diagnosis. I was diagnosed on the day I went in for the blurry eye. Thought I had gotten drunk and hit my head on my ex-boyfriend, but no. When things were fine after the eye and one relapse, I decided I didn't need no Rebif B.S. But a year later, the Mother of All Relapses (for me, at least) hit me. It was 3 years after diagnosis. Lost the use of my entire right side, and they said it would probably attack the left side next unless I had either (a) a Keith Richards-style blood removal and cleansing or (b) chemotherapy. Chemotherapy? Uh, OK. I packed 10 joints and got a ride to the hospital. Days later, they came in in haz-mat suits to administer the drug. Outside on the sidewalk, moving my wheelchair along with my left foot, I would take care of the nausea and laugh about it a bit. When the security dude walked up to me, smelling the smoke, I asked him (with a slight drool) whether he planned to take me to the Cook County jail. Thankfully, he did not.
One day amidst the fun of constant re-hydration and subsequent peeing before I could get myself, my wheelchair, and my IV trolley from the bed to the hospital bathroom, my doctor came in. He said, "Karen, we found something else in your brain." Lovely. It was an aneurysm, about to burst. He asked if I would be free to return to the hospital once my immune system regathered itself, have a flip-top (I think it's technically called a craniotomy), and get a binder clip on that SOB aneurysm. I said Sure! Or something like that.
I gotta admit that was the best Halloween ever. I had been through some rehab, started Betaseron, walking again with a cane, an eye patch, bald, with 32 heavy-duty staples across the front of my head. A cross between Frankenstein's Monster and Mr. Peanut, I was.
Soon thereafter, I was riding in the passenger seat of a friend's car with a wig on. We're in Chicago, going to a movie. Stopped at a stop light, I see some obnoxious guy come to my window, demanding, "Give me some money!" Wrong. I whipped off my wig, revealing my bald stapled head and said, :Give ME some money!" He ran away screaming.
At least MS brings a lot of good opportunities for humor and personal growth.
I used to stroll along the river in the City, receiving appreciative glances from young men. After my first relapse, using a cane changed that. People don't look at you so much. I went through a wheelchair time when it seemed like the only folks that were on my level were in strollers. Now I am back to walking and though my right side has just 80% of the function and feeling it once had, people can't usually tell. They don't notice that my drink is in my left hand, though I am right-handed. But I know. I know who my real friends are, and I can usually tell upon meeting who is worth talking to further. I know that the guy who said I "wasn't sexy anymore" was no loss for me when he left. I hope someday he can meet my brilliant, gorgeous young boyfriend (he's 29; I'm 44 -- and no, I do not generally do the cougar thing. It just happened.)
I hope too that whatever comes (and at least we with MS know that we don't know) in the future, I can keep a sense of humor and adventure about it all. I hope we can keep supporting each other. I hope we can find a cure.