Losing control over my body and it functioning "normally" does not really scare me. Sure, I wish I didn't have brain lesions and an unpredictable, degenerative disease. I get angry. I get sad. I grieve the loss of my health. But the thought of not being able to walk without some type of mobility assistance does not scare me. My vision never being normal and/or getting worse does not scare me. Any of the things that could potentially happen to my body - none of these scare me. They would make me very angry and very sad, but I can honestly say I am not afraid.
Stress, fatugue, aging...all these things can affect our bodies and our minds. Who hasn't lost their keys? Or completely forgot someone's name? How many times have we all said, "I think I am losing my mind!" as an expression of frustration. Haven't we all called something a "thingy" or a "whatchamacallit" because we simply could not remember the item's name?
It is well known that stress and fatigue exacerbate symptoms (even if you don't have MS) and I have gotten used to my legs being more tired or my eyes not working as well during times of high stress/fatigue. But in the past 10 days I have had more "cognitive issues" than ever before.
And it scares me.
At what point does an MSer realize and admit they are really having problems, cognitively speaking? When they lose their keys...for over 4 days? When they have no recollection of a particular conversation with someone? When they completely forget an important meeting? Or their social security number? When they all of a sudden can't remember the words to one of their favorite songs?
For someone who is a natural blonde and enjoys self-deprecating humor, it is easy to just laugh it off. Meanwhile, underneath my wicked & witty sense of humor these little moments terrify me. Not in and of themselves, but for what they might be foreshadowing...
If I end up using a cane or even a wheelchair...I am still me.
If I lose my vision, partially or completely...I am still me.
If one or both of my hands no longer work...I am still me.
If I need to take naps during the day...I am still me.
If I sometimes walk around looking like a drunk person because I am dizzy and my balance is off...I am still me.
But what happens if I forget people's names and birthdays, or can't think fast enough to read all the notes on a sheet of music, or get easily confused by simple instructions, or lose my stellar sense of humor because I can no longer think on my feet fast enough to dish out amazing one-liners and comebacks? Am I really still me if my mind doesn't work like it used to? Will I still be funny and interesting to be around?
I finally found my keys and eventually remembered my social security number (after a good night's sleep!) My husband kindly re-walked me through the conversation I had forgotten. Nevertheless, these things bother me, perhaps more than I want to admit even to myself.
But what is there to do? I take my extra vitamins prescribed by my neurologist, I do crossword puzzles, I try and stay active mentally and physically, I do my injections on the Wonder-Drug and I stay the course.
Above all I try and keep my sense of humor.
Because sometimes laughter truly is the best medicine.