Two weeks ago I came down with the flu -think fever, vomiting and some diarrhea – fun times! – which led to a flair-up. My first flair in four years….and by far, the worst one I have had in the ten years MS has been around. It was terrible, awful and horrible. I didn’t want to talk too or see anyone. I wanted to disappear from my own life. I curled up in a ball and just hoped that it would get better.
The fact that my body has become so sensitive to temperatures (both hot and cold) it makes sense that as my body temperature rose to the 102 mark that I would feel like complete and utter shit. It wasn’t at all surprising that my pain was off the charts – even my pain strains failed to provide relief. My body was racked with muscle spasms and spasticity 24/7 and I wanted to just crawl out of my skin and no longer exist.
Changes in temperatures make the MS shit go haywire – so it was inevitable that it would be bad while my body tried to fight off the flu. What I didn’t expect, what I wasn’t prepared for was the impact this all had on my mind. My brain’s ability to function seemed to completely shut down. I could NOT think clearly, I could NOT focus on anything, I had no ability to control how I felt or what I thought. What made it so much worse, was that I could NOT write. Writing has always been how I come to terms with whatever is happening. It is how I process all the new and random shit that this disease seems to sling at me on a daily basis. It has often been the one thing that keeps me sane and it was no longer an option. That scared the shit out of me!
I have always been concerned about not allowing this disease destroy my physical well-being. I’ve always been driven to try and stay strong and to continue to be active. But I have never thought about the possible long-term effects of this stupid illness on my mind.
I talk about having MS fog – I have that EVERY day. I talk about having memory issues – having trouble remembering things, issues with forgetting more and more things. But the core of my mind, my voice and thoughts have always been there, behind the fog, beyond the forgetfulness. Granted it often takes some work to get through the fog, but my mind has always still been intact and I could make sense of things and get things accomplished.
Until last week when they weren’t there, the voice in my mind and my own thoughts were gone. When I was in the midst of my flu/flair-up hell I could not make my mind work, no matter how hard I tried. I could not rely on my brain to make even the smallest decision or to have any thoughts for that matter. This scared me more than anything this disease has thrown at me so far. Not knowing whether it was going to get better – if I was going to be able to return to the “normals” I have become accustomed too filled me with a greater sense of defeat than I have ever experienced.
As I lay in bed, day after day, avoiding any and all human contact and my mind was failing me, I wasn’t able to remember all the other times that I have thought that this disease has gotten the best of me. I didn’t remember that each and every time this disease has tried to take me down, I have not only survived but I have come back from each battle stronger and more determined. Because my mind wasn’t functioning correctly, I didn’t have these memories to arm myself against this latest attack. It wasn’t until the fever had passed and I had slept more days away than I care to admit that I began to remember all of this.
I am still climbing out of this flair-up, and I am far from being back to “normal” BUT my mind is working well enough for me to be writing this – and that is a HUGE difference from the past few weeks! Although I am not better YET, that one simple word, YET, wasn’t there just a few short days ago. The fact that I know that now, the fact that I can think and believe it, that my mind is lucid enough again to be having thoughts of my own and that I can control and direct is a huge step. I am frustrated that my words are not coming out as easily as they usually do, that I still struggle with trying to make my mind do what I want it to, but I wanted to put up a post – to explain my absence and begin to try and put into words all that I went through over the past few weeks. It may not be my best, and it certainly isn’t complete BUT it is a start.
I woke up last night and jotted this down:
So I am going to keep my eyes open for the sun and I look forward to being able to say “fuck you” to this disease once again!
**This is my personal blog and all opinions are my own. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one here on my blog. The content here is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of medical professionals. Be sure to contact your doctor before trying any new medications/vitamins/supplements, physical activities or therapies **