At first, I put it down to pasta.
Then croissants, lattes and wholegrain rice.
It started with a slow but distinct rumbling and gurgling in my stomach and I thought no more of it.
Until it started to grow.
The upshot is, I have a hernia. I mean, what? Huh? How?
I’ve been to my Doctor and I’m waiting for a scan (‘the same one you get when you’re pregnant. You’re not pregnant are you?’ chirruped my Doctor, as I chuckled), but this lump in my stomach doesn’t seem to want to wait and grow at a semi-decent rate – it’s morphed from a cute little egg-size into a full-blown grapefruit in the space of weeks.
And it moves. Even the Doctor was impressed, and she’s probably seen everything, warts and all.
Of course, as with MS, I’ve been inundated with horror stories – aunties and uncles who ended up strangling their hernias or being strangled by them, hernias that popped, hernias that led to … more hernias. There’s even support groups out there, filled with more horror stories, along with some excellent advice (I am awaiting a hernia support belt – extra strong – as I write).
To be honest, it’s uncomfortable in the extreme. I may as well have a brick strapped to my stomach. I look weird in the mirror, my podgy belly is still there, but now with a pronounced lump on top of it.
In a bid to embrace this unexpected addition to my already raddled body, I’ve decided to name my hernia Phyllis. My MS has many names, most of which are too rude to publish. More often than not, it’s a malign shadow – the exact replica of my body, but completely different when it moves.
And that’s the great thing about hernias! Yup, there is one. It’s got a definable path. I know what to expect. I’ll most likely have a quick operation, where the Doctors open me up and squish everything back inside then staple me back together. Or strap me up with gaffer tape. I don’t mind, I’m easy.
It’s refreshing in a way. Like having a cut I know will heal. Or a headache I can take a tablet for. So although it’s dominating my life at the moment, it’s temporary and it will go.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we can one day say the same for MS?