When I think about how I felt a week ago and how I feel today, the differences are incredible. Last week, I still had a lot of trouble walking as I stumbled around the house, a baby giraffe trying to find her legs. With my equilibrium on vacation, I swayed whenever I stood, trying to find something resembling balance, tottering often. The mental and physical exhaustion made a midday nap necessary, changing a pleasure into a chore. Worst of all, my emotions were in a spiral from steroid withdrawal. I went to some very dark places last weekend and felt as if I would never leave them. It gave me a glimpse of what it feels like for people who battle depression they cannot control. I haven’t known it so well before.
On Monday, things finally began to slowly turn around. My weak right side started feeling a little better. I was able to go to breakfast with Abby and friend and then shop briefly before my leg cried uncle. I didn’t need a nap, and I felt emotionally like myself again. Each day following got a little easier, the improvements small but noticeable as I gained strength in my leg. I had to return to work on Wednesday, my cane packed as discreetly as it could be into my bag, but I didn’t need it, which was a relief. Today, I felt well enough to ease back into an exercise routine, walking at the community center because it’s 100 degrees outside. Heat is certainly my enemy when it comes to MS symptoms of numbness and tingling; simply taking my dog in and out today has my legs buzzing with it and my vision blurring, so as much as I’d like to walk outside around some water, the community center was a better place in this weather. So what if I was lapped several times by my geriatric track companions? So what if I was only able to go half a mile before my legs were too numb to safely continue? I was walking. All I’ve wanted since my spinal tap is to go for a long walk, and today I got a little closer to that goal and life as usual. It’s such a relief.
My meeting with the nurse practitioner to go over test results and discuss treatment is on Friday. I’ve read all of the results I have access to online, but I’m looking forward to discussing them in detail. I also have to get shingles and pneumonia vaccines before I can begin infusion therapy, and since no one else will give me those shots because of my age, I’ll have to take care of it at the neurology clinic. I’m most anxious about getting my treatment approved and scheduled. I’ve decided to begin with Ocrevus, an aggressive infusion therapy that has shown a lot of promise in preventing new lesions from forming. As much as I’d like to begin today, it sounds like I’ll need to wait four to six weeks before getting started. Meanwhile, I’m focusing on getting stronger, walking farther, and catching as much of the World Cup as possible. All is well.