What is MS and what is not? I know, I've asked the question 100 times already, and I presume that I'll ask it 100 more.
Take my recent back troubles, for instance, and the consequent difficulties with walking--caused by a compromised nerve complex, or a thing that is just simply itself, a bad back, a sudden movement positioning a particular disk such that it happens to sit on top of a nerve when I rise? Which was the actual cause?
Consider moreover the totally unreasonable amount of pain I have suffered since. Has the severity of the pain been exaggerated by MS as the already rickety central nervous system seeks to address the problem, or did I just really mess up my back this time around, without any contribution from MS whatsoever?
Why is this keeping me down twice as long as it had ever done before? Is it because the central nervous system has become less able, or is it because I am 10 years older?
And now there comes this strange pain in my abdomen. It is in the right upper quadrant and it is quite localized to one spot, as if a knife had been stuck up under my ribs. It is constant, and it wakes me at night (and yet it is bearable, unlike the pain that accompanies the passage of a kidney stone). I wake to find the pain bouncing rhythmically between my abdomen and my back, as if the devil was playing a game of ping pong with one of his demons.
What can this be?
Looking at my copy of Grey's anatomy, I find a big purple organ called the liver crouching lump-like in this very spot. So is this a liver problem? Then again, I am aware that right upper quadrant pain is often associated with gallbladder disease. So maybe that's it. Then again, maybe this is referred pain from the preexisting back injury.
Or . . . well, maybe it's MS.
How to sort the thing out? How to find the culprit's secret cove?
As I have generally done in the past, I decide once again that it may be more accurate to envision MS not as the causation for most problems and pains, but as an underlying predisposition toward trouble, the fatal crack in the foundation that has weakened every element of the dependent structure. It is, perhaps, that which potentially compromises every other function.
And it is MS which in the end makes its mark of finalization on the death certificate. Whatever the fatal process was, we find almost without fail that MS had its finger in the pie.
Complicated by, is the phrase. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, complicated by multiple sclerosis. Myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, pneumonia, endstage kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and so on and so forth, name your favorite, but don't forget to add that final punch line--complicated by multiple sclerosis.
If multiple sclerosis is found to complicate even death, is it not perfectly reasonable to presume that it has complicated everything else leading up to death?