Thursday, December 11, 2014

Out Of the Frying Pan

Anyone who read my book Dawg Tired, the Brain Fog Chronicles, might remember me thinking I was too old to have Multiple Sclerosis. I was taught in nursing school it was a young persons disease. It only affected those under 35. It never occurred to me to think back and remember the numbness I developed that started in my left leg, it went from my knee down just after my son was born. I had assumed the numbness was from an accident I had right before he was born. So in 2002 when I had the symptoms of fainting, extreme fatigue, the skin on the upper right quadrant of my back feeling like it was on fire and trouble walking my family practice doctor set up an appointment for a brain MRI and a consultation with a neurologist - and told me he was doing this just to prove to me nothing was wrong, I was just depressed and if I would just take the Zoloft he was offering me I would be fine. 

I had an "open" MRI with 2 milligrams of Xanax on board. I still had a panic attack. The MRI was clear, the neurologist said I was fine and maybe I needed an antidepressant. I believe it was all a set-up. 

Yet, here I am at the end of 2014, my pacemaker and the leads gone, a new brain MRI (this one with 10 mg of Valium and no panic attack) showing Multiple Sclerosis and a medical history dating back at least to the leg numbness in 1992 when I was 33. Never did I think back and consider the MS might have started before I was 35 it just hadn't been diagnosed. Why wasn't it diagnosed? I had no insurance. My son was born on Medicaid and I had no insurance through my employer at the time. When I moved to Arkansas and went to work at Levi Strauss their absence policies were so strict that taking time off for a doctor appointment for myself was almost impossible. I had already been fired from a job at a nursing home for being in isolation in the hospital with my 18 month old son while he had RSV. I was not allowed to leave and despite the fact I took in a doctor note and called in to work every day I was still fired. 

So now I am no longer working and I have at last solved a long standing mystery. 3 days a week I inject myself with a drug called Copaxone. It is a tiny needle, injected subcutaneously into the fat layer, slowly - over 10 seconds. It stings afterwards, like a red wasp got me, but I'm tough and I can handle it. 

Soon after the MRI the neurologist set me up with a 3 day series of steroid infusions. They took away a lot of the physical pain I had been dealing with for many years. Somehow, even though it has taken this many years, this diagnosis has been a relief. A lot of things now make more sense.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Today would have been Mom's 84th birthday. In her honor, my sisters and I eat Hershey with almond bars because they were Mom's favorite. Happy Birthday Mom! 

I hope your spirit visits and watches over your grandchildren and great grandchildren, you are missed and I really pray you are proud of them; they are children to be proud of. 

Speaking of grandchildren, I recently ordered a book for grandmas to fill out with memories for their grandchildren. As I was looking through the various books I was reading reviews and noticed several people complaining about how to fill out the books regarding "Where did I first meet your grandpa?" and questions of that nature. Personally, even though grandpa and I are divorced I believe the grandchild needs to know where I met grandpa, our first date and such. While we are no longer together the child needs to know her father was conceived and born in a deeply loving relationship. 

I am sure that somewhere in the world there is a publisher who is marketing a book about "My Many Times Divorced Family Tree" or "My Family Tree Became a Weed" or something like that but I feel like my grandchildren deserve to know their family history told in a traditional manner without the extra forks.