When does MS enter the body? Or is it just there to begin with, as present yet hidden as ones own skeleton? Does one catch it somehow, or is it merely activated at some point? And then by what?
There are enough theories to go around, of course. One theory says that MS arises as a result of Epstein-Barr Virus (mononucleosis). Although the person so stricken recovers from the initial illness, something in the meantime has happened in the autoimmune system, which may or may not rear its head in the future (whether it does or does not being another mystery leading to another set of theories).
Some say that the cause of MS is to be found in viruses and bacteria rather than in a malfunctioning immune system.
On the fringe of reasonable sounding scenarios are, of course, the wacky theories—the conspiracy theories, if you will. It is all because of cow’s milk, for instance. It is because of childhood immunizations. It comes from air pollution. It is a result of child abuse.
Does it matter? No, not really. Not for we who have it and are living with it.
And yet we ask the question, we want to know, for there is nothing more frustrating, or unfair, we think, than having to poke about in the dark for the shape of ones own life.
My favorite theory, and the one I currently subscribe to, is this: MS may lie dormant in the nervous system for many years, or even forever. In order to manifest it needs a key, an event, a jump start. Some researchers have raised the notion that this start-up, this critical event, may be actuated by a correspondingly significant stressful event in the life of he who bears the disease.
This critical event may have come in the form of a severe illness. It may in fact have been born out of trauma of any sort—including emotional trauma.
So here’s the long and short, in my case. When I was 17 years old I contracted a severe case of mononucleosis. Though I recovered and was well for many years afterwards, MS had nonetheless been conceived. It had, in other words, become a potential, like the universe before the big bang.
Now, what was the key that started its motor, what was the word that called it forth—Rise and walk!
It happened in late 2004.
And I’ll tell you about it in Part II.