About 4 or 5 months ago I was stuck in a wheel chair, I needed a walker just to get around my own house because I could barely stand on my own. The right side of my body was numb and the left side was going paralyzed. I had no sense of balance, I lost the fine motor control of my left hand, I lost my sense of taste, I went blind in half of each eye, I battled restless Leg Syndrome and fatigue along with many other small symptoms that may have not been serious but proved to definitely have been a huge nuisance.
After much struggle and change I finally reached a state of remission which lasted about a month allowing me to go on hikes, drive a car, taste my food, even ride a motorcycle! Now I am currently fighting off a second exacerbation but luckily it is nowhere near as bad as my first. My walking is a little funny, my vision is not the best (though I have learned to compensate for it), my left hand is experiencing some slight loss of fine motor control again along with pins and needles and some occasional loss of strength which also appears in my right forearm but for the most part, I still feel like a normal human being, well, maybe one that just woke up 2 minutes ago, I don’t know, something like that, I can’t complain… Though I may not feel satisfied I do feel somewhat content. I know I could live a happy life with this condition.
So though I have already gone through much change, 2011 for me will be about refining that change and setting up my life. I would be lying if I said MS isn’t going to be an obstacle throughout my life, as much as my stubbornness and pride would like to say that I know I can’t. What’s important thought is the fact that MY MS is just that, an obstacle, that’s all it is, an obstacle and any obstacle can be overcome. So again, 2011 for me will be about refining and reinforcing the changes I have made and bringing even more changes into the picture! Conquering that obstacle!
I also feel that I must mention how Multiple Sclerosis has opened my eyes even though it has ironically blinded them at times when speaking literally. I have always been one to put the well being of others before my own and MS has shown me how unhealthy that can be, it has taught me that it’s ok to want to take care of myself first, something I once would have thought to have been nothing short of greedy. There is a balance that you must find and I am finding it more and more everyday as I now have a more clear vision of what friendship and companionship should be.
These tough times have shown me the true nature of the people I have surrounded myself with in life and now that I know how to take care of myself first I can better gauge who is healthy for me and who is simply harming me. Some may say I am a jerk and that I have grown cold but that’s simply because of the contrast in my behavior they are witnessing. Of course I am going to seem cold if all my life I have given 120% to my friends and 80% to myself and now all of a sudden I am giving 100% to my friends and 120% to myself. Bottom line, wether I am right or wrong the blunt and honest truth is that I have to do what I have to do to stay healthy. If your willing to give me 120% as a friend you can expect to get 125% back, but if your only going to give me 80% then don’t expect anymore then that in return because I can’t afford to give any more when there are so many other people out there who could use my 100% or my 120%.
Speaking of other people out there, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all my MS friends I have met online through my blog, Facebook, and other various websites. I think it is important as a community of people with a common denominator to stick together and help support one another because though we all may have close friends and family who are there for us, sometimes they just can’t understand our pain the way someone else with our same problem can. You have all definitely helped me along my journey with MS and I am thankful to have met you all everyday, I only wish we didn’t all live so far apart! Just know as I have mentioned before that I am always here to listen, give advice, or give comfort, it’s the least I can do!
That said I am also realizing that though I may not know exactly what I want to do with my life I do know this: I want to make a difference. I want to help people, I want my actions to ripple throughout life like water rippling after a stone has been cast into a lake, ripples that might only slightly effect the debris floating around the surface of the water. The way I see it is, even if I barely effect someones life, or slightly change their outlook on a situation or open their mind just a little then I have succeeded in my endeavors. Of course I would love to make as big as a difference as possible but any victory is a victory:
An older man and his grandson are walking along the beach. The previous night there was a huge storm and hundreds of starfish were washed upon the shore and were now dying. As they walked and talked, the Grandfather began to stop and pick up starfish throwing them back into the water. After about 20 minutes of this the grandson, wondering why his grandfather was doing this, asks,
“Grandpa, why do you keep bending down with your bad back and picking up starfish to throw them back into the water? There are hundreds of them, how do you think that what your doing actually matters?”
The grandfather bends down and picks up another one, he says to the little boy,
“You see this one?”
“Yes,” the grandson replies.
“Well it matters to THIS ONE!” the Grandfather says as he throws the starfish back into the water.
The little boy thinks for a second and begins following suit.
You see, though I know I can’t change the world, I know that if I can change just ONE person’s life I will have done something useful for the world because like the ripples of water in a lake, that one person may go on to do something they otherwise may have never done if it wasn’t for my actions. So one of my biggest goals of 2011 is to start helping people, start volunteering my time, making use of my skills and knowledge to help others, to do my part in making the world a better place to live. Next time you are prompted to take action towards a cause and you hesitate, remember, you may feel that you are just one person and that you can’t possibly make that huge of a difference, but that one “starfish” will care more then you would ever know.
Keep an eye on my blog in the coming months for I have much planned! I wish everyone a happy, healthy, new years! Thanks for Reading!
Symptom Status for 2011
So it looks like I will be starting 2011 with a few symptoms since this last exaserbation has yet to cease. I am mostly dealing with the following:
Pins & Needles in left hand
Minor loss of fine motor controll in left hand
Ocasional Pins & Needles in right hand
Ocasional weakness in right forearm
Lhermitte’s Sign ( Pins & Needles in arms and legs when I tilt my head down)
Minor balance issues
Occasional Muscle tremors in left leg (Calf)
Occasional Blurred Vision (When stressed)
Occasional Mood Swings (Most likely a result of Prednisone)
My Current Medications
A lot of people ask me what medications I am on so here is a list of what I am taking going into 2011. I kind of want to get off the Cellcept and I should be done with the Prenisone soon.
Prednisone (Tapering Off of 45mg, 5mg a week)
Cellcept (500mg increasing to 1,000mg)
Clonazepam (0.5mg nightly)