Most of us with relapsing-remitting MS will be familiar with examining every tiny little symptom and asking, ‘is this a relapse or am I just being over-sensitive/paranoid?’. We live in constant fear and easily forget how, pre-MS, we got sick anyway and sometimes we felt under par or just generally a bit rubbish.
Post-MS, the situation shifts. A relapse is bad news. They can last for as little as a few days or for as long as several months and initially the symptoms can be confusing. I can quite honestly say, I have never analysed my health in so much ridiculously fine detail. I wake up every morning and lie there for a little while mentally scanning through my body. How do I feel? Anything odd? Ok, get out of bed. How’s my balance? Am I a bit more wibbly on my feet than usual? Standing in the shower, can I raise my hands ok? It is constant.
One day, I woke up from an afternoon nap in blind terror. My left hand was numb. I couldn’t move it at all and I began to panic – how would I change gears in the car, how could I go shopping with a dud hand? You can imagine how stupid I felt when I realised I had slept on it.
So I play a constant game of relapse hide and seek. If I pretend there’s nothing really wrong, well, there’s nothing really wrong, is there? I’ll just stay one step ahead of the game. MS is like a constant heat-seeking missile, on the prowl, stalking you all the time. Just for fun, you can also have a pseudo-relapse, a temporary flare up, commonly triggered by stress, heat or exertion.
I think this is what happened to me last week. I had a friend over for wine and a gossip, but I felt odd (before the bottle was opened….) – a spaced-out feeling I normally get at the start of a major relapse. I tried to shrug it off and laugh about it, but in the back of my mind, I was running away and hiding. Fast. Luckily, it came to nothing and I woke up fine the next day.
For now then, I am relapse-free and I hope to remain so for a good time yet. Until we meet again, Mr Relapse, go away and leave me in peace….
Know that wake up and analyse feeling
It’s awful, isn’t it! Long gone are the days when I just jumped out of bed…
Thank you for this post. Actually this entire blog. I can’t put it down. I feel less crazy and like someone “gets” me for the first time since my diagnosis. This blog has by far been thr best medicine.
Hi there, that’s really kind of you, thank you! X