Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Past Few Weeks...

Holy smokes. Remind me to never utter the words "it could always be worse", ever again. What the hell happened to me??

Looking back on these past few weeks, I realize how indescribably lucky I've been, in terms of my health. Sitting here now, feeling pretty close to "normal" again, I can't even believe the things I was feeling a week or two ago. I felt insane, to say the least, with my legs kicking, my skin feeling like it was on hair felt like someone was pulling it out, my left leg was on strike, my right arm was asleep...

Things weren't really adding up. Quantity of symptoms, well, THAT was adding up...but things just weren't making any sense. I was under the impression that MS symptoms came one by one, and subsided after a while. (Even getting the diagnosis in 2004, I guess I've never really "had" MS before!) But looking back, two months ago I was itchy all over. One month ago, I was feeling like I was about to throw up for about a week straight, which I assumed was the new medicine. Wrong. At that same time, my vision was crappy. Oh! And I almost forgot! I lost my voice back in May! What was that about? And the insomnia...that was the worst of all, because it gave me all that extra awake time to think about what a possible nutcase I am...

When it's all laid out like that, it's no wonder I felt like I was losing my mind. I really started to question what an actual, clinical "hypocondriac" personality was like, and if there was a chance I could be one. When you get the diagnosis MS, they tell you it can manifest in a million different ways, and that no two people have the same symptoms. I also didn't want to be the asshole patient who assumes that EVERYTHING that happens is MS, nor did I want to overlook any of these strange things that were happening.

All the while, my underlying anxiety is and has been for years now, that my blood pressure will give me a frikkin' stroke.

I have new respect for the medical field. I have found a Neurologist who not only SAW me, but enabled me to have an MRI within two days. Granted, what she found on the MRI wasn't so fun (a cluster of lesions in a critical nerve area of the neck), but she guided me through the nurses and coordinators, via phone and email, responded to my questions, and within a day I was scheduled for the IV solumedrol infusions.

They went well. I was nervous. I had heard bad things. But, again, looking back at the past couple of weeks, I feel so lucky. I went to the infusion clinic the first day, and then because it was the weekend, it was the ER for the next two days. Back to the infusion clinic for the final 2 days. All the nurses were great, and it was a pretty pain free experience, at least compared to the pains I was trying to get rid of. I tolerated the 'roids pretty well.

I did feel aggressive, and I lashed out more times than I can remember, mostly about stupid, non-important things. I was crabby, impatient, depressed, anxious, and tired. And a taste in my mouth that I'd imagine would come from... licking a tire-iron?

After my third early morning infusion, I got five hours of sleep in the middle of the day. It was glorious, and I will try to remember how I felt waking up, for as long as my brain will hold it. Indescribable!

Terence has been great through all of this, and I am so lucky. So very, very, very lucky. He did his best to keep me calm, to not take my insanity personally (that's a big one!), and helped me so much with everything. I was feeling so guilty for being sick when he had planned this beautiful vacation in Maine for us...but like a trooper, he adjusted the travel plans, we waited to see how I felt, and after that last infusion we were able to go. I was tired and a bit wiped, but we made it. It was absolutely beautiful.

I'm addressing wedding invitations. They look beautiful. I am so excited about getting married to Terence, because it just feels so right. (Haha, it's like the best idea I've ever had! Good thing he had that same idea!) About every 5-7 minutes I think about what a difference a week can make in a life. Without getting TOO philosophical, I am just glad things worked out the way that they did. I am glad I went on the hunt for another doctor, and found the lady I found, instead of waiting for Mass General guy to call back. He DID eventually, at which point I told him, I was already being treated for an exacerbation somewhere else.

The daily Copaxone injections seem like a breeze now, after IV infusions. So that's good. :-)

I'm back to cooking! In all honesty, I feel like the beginning of this health episode can be traced back to "when I ceased to bake and cook". I don't know exactly when that was, I just have a sense that it's been about 2-3 months of me not feeling quite right in one sense or another.

So today, I am celebrating. I am celebrating the recovery. I am celebrating Terence's new job, which he seems to enjoy so far. I am celebrating this amazing, rich, smooth, New York Cheesecake Ice Cream I just made this morning. All day I've marvelled at how much better it is than store bought ice cream. Gaby gave me the ice cream maker last Christmas, and it's so much fun. It's extra exciting to realize how much money one saves by making it at home. My repetoire is not huge yet - so far only Nutella Gelato, and this Cheesecake business. The great thing is that the quantity is a perfect little tupperware, so no reason I can't make 2-3 flavors a day.

Now I just need to get that herb garden going too - that's my new peeve. Fresh herbs at the store are super expensive, and you never end up using the whole pack before it goes bad. Time to get a-plantin'!!

So, it is with blissfully renewed energy I resume my teaching. I get on the darn exercise bike every day to try and get rid of the steroid weight that inflated me, before I have to fit into the wedding dress at the fitting. I am vowing to take things as they come, to take it easy. To do things that make me happy, and keep me calm. :-) Like dance lessons with my love. :-)

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