Thursday, December 8, 2016

Four Months

Well, I've had the opportunity over these past four months to see some of the damage that MS can do if it really puts its mind to it. This all started on August 10th with what I thought was a pinched nerve in my neck. Although I had done nothing in particular that would have caused this, the problem was sudden and came with all the classic signs of cervical radiculopathy - intense pain in the shoulder and arm, spasms of the muscles, and numbness in the fingers. The pain was nearly unbearable for a full two weeks, during which time I was able to sleep no more than two hours a night, along with catnaps during the day. In time, and with the help of lots of aspirin, methylpredisolone and clonamzepam, the worst of the pain abated and turned into more of a daily aching and stiffness, with numbness persisting in the wrist and hand. Four months later, my shoulder is still stiff and there's this irritating sensation of something being loose in my back, kind of floating around like an unhinged bone. What I've come to realize is that this was not a pinched nerve at all, but a nerve that has been completely demyelinated and destroyed, causung the muscles to freeze in a protective mode (which thus caused the worst of the pain). Nerve impulses have endeavored to find ways around this burned bridge on the normal highway, regaining control of the muscles through alternate means and sort of retraining them to function as they should, or as nearly as possible. The sort of clicking and snapping in my shoulder, often attended by an aching sensation, is the result of an unusual application of muscle - not quite right, but better than paralysis. I'm still on 16 mg of methylpredisolone every other day, but at least I am able to sleep comfortably and move about more or less comfortably during the day.

It is scary to see what MS can suddenly do, just because, and without warning. I remember feeling just fine back in early August - even energetic - and then suddenly this, and four months and counting of suffering. And as one recovers and finally gets on top of the problem, one can't help but wonder, what next? What part of my body, what function, how serious, how long? And when does it strike a fatal blow? Yes, you think of this, too.

And then, at the same time, as your body recovers, as your function returns, leaving finally but a reminder, a twitch, an ache, a spasm, you feel immensely blessed in each moment of good health,
quietly, deliriously joyful for the presense of an unknowable, indeterminant period of comfort. Is each day like this not blessed beyond all measure? Can we ever afford to take a single moment for granted?

No comments: