I got a call the other day from a woman who appeared to headed to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Her doctor had said it was a possibility, and just hearing those two words–multiple sclerosis–sent her down the path that many of us have trodden: Multiple Sclerosis Worst Case Scenario (MSWCS). Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. MSWCS is a common affliction of those newly diagnosed or in limbo. Your brain immediately fires up the WCS lobe and now the worst things that MS can do to you are not only a possibility, but practically a given. In a wheelchair. With no bowel or bladder control. Blind. Deaf. Can’t swallow. Can’t talk. An absent brain. And you are so numb you can only feel your nose, which itches all the time. But you can’t scratch it because you can’t move your arms. Oh yeah, and your health insurance got cancelled, your family put you in a budget nursing home, and your dog was adopted by a Mr. Vick. When these thoughts weave their way into your mind, you have to tell your brain to SHUT THE HELL UP. Sure, MS can do all of the above. But why dwell on it? MSWCS is quite unlikely. Stats show that many people with MS can and do live relatively normal lives. Yes, you’ll have to make changes. No, it won’t be easy. Focus on what can you do today and worry about tomorrow, well, tomorrow. And with the advances in MS research, odds are good that there will be some powerful treatments (potentially even fixes) coming in the not-too-distant future. So banish all MSWCS thoughts … use your brain for more important matters, like a good sudoku puzzle.
Archive for March, 2008
My sister, Kathryn, was worried about her bro’s recent attack. So one of her friends had a great idea to cheer me up (apparently I was a bit pissed off): a genuine pimp cane, complete with a regulation 8-ball for the handle. It is, in Snoop speak, the fashizzle my dizzle hizzle. For younger MSers, I can only imagine how much pride one would feel walking into high school or a college class with a new pimp cane Heck, I’m going to take mine to parties as a conversation starter. It would go something like this. “Yeah, having MS isn’t great, but you can legitimately use a pimp cane even if you are not a pimp. How great is that?” “Wow, that’s awesome, dude. I wish I had a pimp cane, but I don’t have MS … or ho’s. You are one lucky dude.” Yes I am. For those unclear on what a pimp cane is, allow me to borrow from the Urban Dictionary (www.urbandictionary.com):
An essential tool to the hardcore pimp, while a mere prop for softcore pimps. Hardcore pimps usually tip their canes with gold, an element conducive to manipulation of the pimp field. Unfortunately, softcore pimps think themselves as “above” this and use their wealth to completely plate their cane with gold, or create gold canes outright. This serves no purpose but to cause greater differentiated wealth distribution and suffering in the world. Hardcore pimps understand this, and do only what is necessary to use the pimp force to maintain good and balance in society.
Average dimensions measure 3 feet tall x 2 inches wide x 2 inches deep.
Usually made from a special wood-metal alloy that only hardcore pimps know how to make. Softcore pimps substitute with valuable metals such as platinum or gold.
“Never use your pimp cane to smack that azz!” - Pimp Mommy A
I guess I was due. It had been two and half years since my first attack, which numbed the entire right side of my body. Odd, I didn’t see it coming last month. I snowboarded a full day in Telluride. I went shoeshoeing for two hours the following day. I was guessing I just overdid it. Okay, so my right leg was A LOT weaker. Going from the couch to the fridge to get a beer was an ordeal. And lifting said beer with my right arm actually required serious effort. It felt so stinkin’ heavy! And then there was that burning sensation all over my body. As the wave of new symptoms slowed rolled in, each swell eroded my confidence. I wasn’t prepared mentally. One night when my wonderful wife Laura was away, my leg screaming at me, I realized I didn’t have the strength to stand and do dishes. So I just sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor. And cried for five solid minutes. I hadn’t cried about my MS like that since I was first diagnosed, but I needed that release. The next day, I caved and called the neuro to give them an update. Come in the next day, they said. Two days later I was getting my first of three 1,000 mg steroid infusions in the hospital, all the while stubbornly still going to the gym despite barely being able to walk. A week later, I’m now back to my relative “normal” self–the burning is gone and most of my strength has returned. Even though I put on airs of nothing-gets-me-down super ActiveMSer guy, my kryptonite experience in the kitchen–which my wife will hear about for the first time reading this blog (sorry honey)–serves as a reminder that this disease can, at times, be impossibly hard to cope with. (And I fully realize I had it relatively easy!) But cope we must. Tomorrow always dawns another day… and renewed hope.