Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Today is Not a Good Day

I'd planned to ease my way into symptom talk and not just spring it on people. I hoped that I could tell you about the good things and the "Aha" moments, before dumping all the depressing things in your lap. But today is not a good day and I can't pass up this opportunity to document how hard this disease can be.

It started last night around 9:30 pm. I was sitting on the couch watching American Idol when I felt a sharp pain in my left hand. It was so shocking that I audibly gasped and immediately felt a dull ache in my right jaw. I didn't have any other pain or fatigue just my hand and jaw, but I still panicked. I couldn't help it. Whenever these sudden pains start, they are just a warning of more to come. And there's nothing I can do about it. I starting to think this is why depression is such a major symptom of MS. You have a good day and then suddenly you are attacked by pain and fatigue, and if you're lucky it will only last a few hours or be cured by resting and cooling off. But I've already learned that once the pain hits it may not go away for days.

Which is where I am now, my left hand hurts so much I want to cut it off and my jaw pain is radiating into my head and making me nauseated. I'm tired and have chills. The usual neurological weirdness (leg pain, dizziness, brain rattling, vibration, numbness, and tingling) is on high. I should have stayed in bed today. But I didn't. I'm at work sitting at my desk. Accepting the pain and fatigue and making myself rest is my biggest hurdle. I keep telling myself that I need to go to work or I need to clean the house and I'll sleep on the weekend. However, once the weekend arrives, there's something else that I need to do or see or fix or watch. I never rest. It makes me feel lazy, though I expect that's common among people who spent their childhood trying to prove their worth. (That's a huge topic that I'll leave for the future.) So, I just push through it and I pay big time.

Thinking back on what I now know were flare-ups, they always occurred after times when I pushed myself. I would work so hard and wake up the next morning and not be able to dress myself. This is the lesson I need to learn. I can honestly and clearly acknowledge that I don't want to be paralyzed or permanently disabled in anyway, which means I need to stop suppressing my need for rest. I need to commit to it and allow myself to heal. I will do it. That is my promise to myself.

Oh wow, I just had an AHA moment. I was thinking about all my problems over the years and started thinking about my sudden and mysterious left eye vision loss. And I remembered the circumstances surrounding that event. It was a sudden loss, but I was also deeply involved in a major, life-changing project and at the same time, I needed to change my residence. I'd just move all of my things into my new place when it happened.

I need to rest.

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