The silent passenger
So calling it an invisible illness is a well-known alias for MS, but I assumed, being an MS patient, that this invisibility only applied to people looking at it from the outside, never to myself...
That was until I went to see an eye doctor because of an ongoing pain behind both eyes for several months. I suspected it could be a “bonus symptom” of MS, i.e. a symptom not directly caused by an attack but rather caused by the brain's over-exertion to find ways around the old lesions. Surely it could not have been an attack that lasted for three months, so I kind of ignored it, until it got too annoying and I started to get a bit worried about it. After all, a relapse is not the only health problem an MS patient can be exposed to. So I finally went to see an eye doctor who very kindly comforted me telling me that everything looked perfectly fine and that it definitely didn't look like a relapse. He asked me what it was that brought on the definite diagnosis. “Double vision,” I said. With a hesitant voice, he added that the last time I'd seen him, according to the records, I also saw stains through one eye, which, he suggested, probably was a first attack. “When was that?” I ask him.
What?? I couldn't even remember it, but did this mean that I have been living with a silent passenger for 4 years without noticing anything? And then, after sitting down to process the news for a while, memories started to flood in...
Aaah, yes. I remember those stains. In fact, I also remember numbness on one side of the face a year before that. And, oh, how the room was spinning in 2011 and how crooked the world did look at some point in that same year. Ah yeah, I remember how my foot started dragging every time I went for a run, making me abandon running without questioning the reason why.
After enjoying a slight feeling of satisfaction about things making sense all of a sudden, grief and concern took over my emotions. Grief because I could have taken better care of myself, the so-called health freak yogi that I am, but there's no use crying over spilt milk. Concern because it's unpleasant, to say the least, to think that someone has been living with you for all these years without you noticing it.
Now I'm aware of this new tenant and I have made room to accommodate it. At this point I can only wish that there had been more openness between us and that demands had been stated clearly before, perhaps then we could live in a more peaceful environment. But do come in. Just try to keep the music down and wash up after yourself, man.
Do you celebrate your MS Anniversary?