Saturday, December 1, 2007

Absorbing it all

My first thought was ...

No. I can't tell you my first thought. I was in a state. I would like to tell you that my first thought was peaceful, mindful, meditative, but it wasn't. I'm not good enough to take news that way just yet, but I'm working on it.

I noticed that the results of my MRI were on top of the heap of papers in my file at the pain specialist's office. It was my day to see the CRNP for medication refills. We chatted about how things had been going, the pain I'd had since the procedure, etc. I said, "I had my MRI yesterday. I see you got the results already."

"It looks that way," she said, as she picked them up and read them.

Usually, the answer is instant. "Well, everything looks normal." But not this time. She shuffled papers and reread it before turning to look me in the eye. She chose her words.

"It says that you have multiple lesions that are consistent with MS."

The air seemed to go out of the room. I sat there, moving my lips with nothing coming out. I got the proverbial tunnel vision, still gaping at the nurse practitioner. Tears sprung, unbidden, to my eyes, and I took off my glasses. She handed me a tissue. She was saying something that I couldn't hear. All I kept hearing was "MS ... MS ... MS."

"I wish my husband were here," I said. "This is hard to take."

I pulled myself together and asked myself what Katie would do. Would she argue with reality? No. Arguing with reality leads to suffering. As the Buddha said, "There are causes for suffering." Not living with reality is one of the biggest causes. OK, so I have MS. Now what?

We chatted briefly. She assured me that maybe it wasn't MS after all, that I needed to see my neurologist to be sure. She asked me some questions about weakness, fatigue, etc., and I could tell from the "hmms" and the head nods that this all fell into place.

"At least it would explain some things," I said.

After I left her office, I stopped by and dropped off a copy for my neurologist. He called me after hours and said, "What can I do for you?"

I asked if he had looked at the MRI results.

"Yeah," he said, "but you've shown minor changes in your MRI before because of your migraine condition. That's probably all this is."

"The two MRIs look different," I said. "I have copies."

"Why don't you come in to see me tomorrow," he said. "Call the office in the morning and ask them to work you in."

That evening, I went to the book store, of course, and picked up two very different books on the subject. I want to know as much as I can. I joined the National MS Society so that I can hopefully attend meetings and functions at my local chapter (which isn't that local - in Owings Mills).

I wasn't worked in yesterday to the neurologist's schedule. I'll see him Monday.

There is a chance that he won't diagnose me on Monday. He seems hesitant to diagnose me with anything. This would explain so much, though. Since 1994 I've had symptoms. That was the year after I moved to Seattle. I promptly moved out of Seattle, blaming it for my tiredness and illness. I thought I would get better. The pain and fatigue continued. My life began to change. It took another turn when my mother died in early 2006. I had one illness and hospitalization after another and never have gotten a whole lot better. In October of 2005, when they found the herniated disks, I had worked 20 lbs off myself at the gym. I haven't been back to that level of exercise since. I plan to try yoga again once I'm done with my chiropractor. She plans to open up the space around this irritated nerve in my back and then give me some strengthening exercises for that area before I return to yoga. I'm very happy about that.

Today I'll go have coffee with some friends. We're meeting at our local Borders bookstore and I'll be picking up the half-case of wine we ordered from my friend's wine tasting party. It will be fun to see them again, even if just for an hour. I never get to spend enough time with my friends. I don't know if I'll tell them just yet. It depends on how the visit is going. I don't want to be the wet blanket.

Before coffee, I have to spend some time writing. It's quiet. Sean just got home at 6 a.m. (after his party night in DC), and everyone else except for one persistent cat is sleeping.

Better strike while the laptop is hot!

Peace - D

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