Sunday, November 2, 2008

Are You Sleeping?

Here’s another thing that I don’t understand. How does one know if he has transitioned into secondary progressive MS from relapsing remitting? I have not had an attack since May 2007, as far as I know (and as far as the MRIs show). I have not awakened blind in one eye, or dead in one arm, or unable to defecate, or unable to walk.

Yet these would all be new symptoms, and rather profoundly severe ones. In short, it would be obvious that I had suffered a new attack, and therefore also obvious (as far as I understand it) that I still have RRMS.

But what about the quieter damage that occurs over time? No major events, and yet something may be happening. Am I getting worse? I don’t know. Some days I would believe it to be so, especially where my cognitive functioning is concerned. Do I become simply more aware of a baseline failure to perform, or are these the baby steps my central nervous system is taking on the road of progressive deterioration?

MS is stealthy. It mixes in with the crowd. Where’s Waldo?

Even now I cannot say exactly when it began. Generally I tend to think of events in the spring of 2005 as the beginning. Something had changed significantly enough to cause me to seek answers from my physician. I could not think straight. I would end up in supermarket aisles suddenly wondering why I was there and when I had come there. I would try to open my apartment door with the car beeper. I was light-headed and spacey, drifting in and out of a pervasive fog.

Still undiagnosed, I had my second obvious attack in May 2007. Driven again to see a doctor because of numb and tingling feet and legs, I was sent yet again for an MRI, and this time diagnosed.

You all know the drill.

But here’s the thing--between spring 2005 and spring 2007 I had no noticeable symptoms at all. Clearly something had happened in my body, and had continued to happen, or be, at a low level between times.

Relapsing remitting, right?

And then nothing. One and a half years out now from my second attack. Am I due for a relapse? Have I graduated to SPMS?

As with so many things, not only where MS is concerned, but about life in general, I just don’t know

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