There are about 90 different MS symptoms. I don’t think there are many, if any, people who have them all, all the time. They come and go. My left foot drops, the signal to pull my foot up when I take a step isn’t getting through. That’s happened for a long time. I don’t think about it much, though it’s probably why I trip so often. My left side goes numb, but, again, it’s not a big deal. Annoying? Sure. But, that’s about it.
You know what bothers me the most? What makes me cry?
The cognitive stuff.
If I were a beauty queen, who had been disfigured in a house fire…it would be insanely hard to look in the mirror every morning.
If I were a sports star, partially paralyzed in a car accident…it would be really hard to no longer be able to grab the ball thrown at me.
If I were loved for my millions, and lost it all over night…it would be awfully difficult to swallow my pride and pay for the McDonalds in quarters.
I’m smart. That’s been my thing. It’s been easy for me. My sister loves to introduce us; “I’m Evil Sister, I’m the pretty one. This is Baby sister, she’s the nicest. And this is Katie, she’s smart.”
And, I’m not anymore. I’m not smart, I’m not talented, I’m not super pretty, I’m not that nice of a person, I idon’thave this great bubbly, outgoing personality. I was smart. But, I’m not anymore.
Brad says I am. He says my brain is just having trouble. Couldn’t anyone say that, if that’s the case?
I don’t feel smart when I can’t say the word “California”. When I have to call coffee “that warm drink, with the caffeine.”
I don’t feel smart when I get stuck on a word, when I sound like a broken record, when I sit there for what feels like minutes, but is probably only seconds saying “Well, after dinner, I was gonna go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, g-g-g-g-g-g-o, go…” and I have to stop and retry “After we eat I wanted to stop by the store.”
It’s been more than a handful of times that I’ve cried in the shower because I can’t remember how to wash my hair. And, even if I could, I can’t remember if I’ve already done it or not.
When trying to explain long division, for the 800th time to my son, and I can’t find the words,let alone remember how many times 9 goes in to 54.
I told Brad, it’s like the knowledge is there. It used to just be in file cabinets. I’d walk to the carefully labeled drawer, and pull out what I needed to know, and I was smart. Now? There is a tornado in my brain. Everything is swirling around, too fast to really see it. I grab for the first file card I find. If I’m lucky it’s what I need, but odds are against it. And, even if it does happen to be one I need, I have to read it quick, otherwise it gets sucked right back out of my hand.
I wake up in the morning, and the words I need are swirling, and the to do list, and the meal plan, and the “please remember”s, are all swirling. Right along with “Hey, don’t put paper by the stove, you’ll set it on fire.”,”don’t grab the hot pan, I know you can’t feel it, but you’ll get burned anyway”, “Don’t be mean to him, he loves you”, “your tooth brush is the purple one”. Those things used to be written, in big letters, where I could see them all the time. And, now, they are just swirling. One big mass, that I can’t make sense of.
I fake it pretty well, I guess. But I know how hard it is.
So, today, I’m just gonna sit, and watch it all swirl.
And, tomorrow, I’ll keep grabbing cards, and trying to be smart again.