My Sclerosis Has A Plus One

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Multiple Sclerosis

My Sclerosis Has A Plus One

By Christopher Michael Carter
 
In January of 2013 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  I don't talk about it too much anymore unless it's in jest.  We (MS patients) have to keep light about it as it's very easy to get swallowed by its darkness.  That may seem dramatic to some but if you really know about this disease than you understand my meaning.  Those close to me check up now and then to see how I'm feeling but beyond that I don't really speak of it much.  I traced my symptoms back roughly ten years.  The doctors told me that was normal.  I asked if I'd have got it checked back then would it have been found and they said it wouldn't have made a difference and it would be too small to really catch.  I call my MS my "unwanted roommate" which confused the hell out of my friend Chasity when we were recently speaking on the phone haha.  She was like "Uh, roommate?"  And then I explained it to her.  It's one of the best ways I can explain it; it moves in, takes over, and ruins your stuff.
 
I've gotten used to it for the most part, though it throws me some curveballs.  I've mostly just taken the time to dive into my work.  Interesting to me though that when I was a child I wrote as an escape and now, other than to have a career, I write to escape myself.  My days are still full of problems but I don't like to talk about them much.  It seems that, beyond deep bouts of depression, a lot of my issues are spine related.  It's funny, before this I could rarely say I've "felt" my spine, but with my spinal problems I can feel it all every day.  I fight past it most of the time and just keep working.  My biggest fear is completely losing control of me and I think that's really why the subgenre of body horror is my favorite; it's a scary thought.  Along with my MS, I have osteoarthritis and a depressive disorder.  I'd once read that most MS related deaths are result of suicide; an eerie thought of just how strong this invisible disease is.  And while they say MS is not a death sentence, MS tries its damnedest to take our productive life away from us; isn't that as bad if not a fate worse than death?  I, for one, want to live, not exist.
 
It's almost an Invasion of the Body Snatchers situation — nobody knows where it comes from, nobody knows how to get rid of it; it just shows up and tries to take over.  All the treatments found are to treat the symptoms or attempt to halt the disease in its tracks, but it won't undo the damage done.  I'm on meds for nerve pain, a stimulant, and a couple of antidepressants.  My left leg gives out a lot.  The depression and fatigue can hold me captive as if they were terrorists.  So much of my memory has what I call 'black patches' where there's absolutely nothing, big pieces of my past completely forgotten.  I always have weird spinal tingling and pain.  I quite frequently have the strong urge to cry but never can.  The couple of times I have been able to cry in the past year, it felt wonderful to get that release.  I think one of the worst things about it is admittance to not being able to do the things I once could.
 
I'm sure any girl who'd once liked me in high school are thinking "Whew, dodged that bullet."  And, honey, you did; my wife and daughter go through a lot dealing with my MS BS.  And even with all they go through, they still can never fully understand what it does to ME.  You ever see the film, The Crow?  *Spoiler Alert for a 20+yr old movie*  You know at the end when he grabs the bad guy's head and transfers all the pain to him?  I often want to transfer everything I go through to my Wife for just one day so she'll understand.
 
When you really think about Multiple Sclerosis for what it is, it's terrifying.  It's something that you fight and nobody sees it until you have a flare-up.  When they see said flare-up, they ask if you're Okay.  You want to say "It's the same thing I've been dealing with only today it's visible."  But more often than not, end up saying "Yeah, I'm fine.  Just some issues.  It'll be alright."  I don't want to put it on anybody.  I'd rather talk about You or my work or what have you.  I was a writer before MS and, should they find a cure in my lifetime, I'll still be a writer after MS.  My goals are bigger than this disease. 
 
BUT, here are some comments or pieces I've written on MS...
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I bugs me to hear shit like "You don't die from MS but you can die from Complications of MS."  Well you don't technically die from a gunshot either — you die from complications of such.  Same with a car crash.  If you die from the COMPLICATIONS of anything, in a way, yes, you die from that.
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It's funny-not funny when your non-MS significant other gets on to you about your behavior saying "That's not MS, that's just you!  You can't blame everything on MS."  But then after being a total pain, she's like "Well that's not me, that's PMS!"
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Thinking about putting my MS up on Craigslist, EBay, or even swap shop.  If you think about it it's a hell of a deal — more than One Sclerosis for a low price!
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Multiple Sclerosis is like Missouri weather: It might be sunny right now but don't plan a picnic 'cause it's gonna rain.

Today's forecast is snow and tomorrow a heatwave.

We'll have some mild days this week with some spotty showers throughout.  Some high temperatures at times and we'll be expecting ten inches of snow by the end of the week.
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A lot has changed over the last couple of years.  The winter hurts.  That kind of cold just hurts like being pelted with rocks.  The summer is defeating and the heat drains like crazy, like letting air out of a balloon.  I had heard about heat and MS but it didn't take hold for me until recently.  I walk my dog and sometimes afterwards I can barely stand.

Recently I had a day where it took all I had in me to get up and out of bed.  The fatigue was killer.  It was more like a weird gravitational force not letting me up.

Sometimes my emotions go nuts and I feel like I need to cry my eyes out.  I get close to it but don't.  I don't hear "you're gonna beat this thing" as I'm usually told "you can't do this and you can't do thatbecause you have MS", "You have to learn your limitations", and "You know you have MS, why are you doing that?"  I'm pushed more to get on disability than to get healthier (as futile as that may possibly be). 

The amount of pain for such an "invisible" disease is ridiculous.  It hurts to sleep.  It's dumb and makes no sense; "hurts to sleep" puh, but it's true.

I guess I'm just trying to say Multiple Sclerosis sucks.  It's nothing like the brochures.  It's not the "getaway you've long desired".  It's not a resort with pretty girls bringing me cocktails.  I want my money back.
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MS is kinda that drunk relative who shows up unannounced and stumbles around everywhere, runs into things, says inappropriate stuff hurting people's feelings, and then you have to clean up after them and apologize.
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Dear Multiple Sclerosis,
 
Just a reminder that this was my body long before you got here.  I've tolerated you thus far but you've clearly overstayed your welcome.  It's getting late and it's time for you to leave.
 
Sincerely, 
Me, the owner of this property.
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