This post could also be titled, “How Old is This Mascara?” Because I was buying mascara when I got the phone call from my neurologist about the results for my second MRI.
That wasn’t the diagnosis phone call, though. That was the, “It’s either bad news, really bad news, or inoperable-tumor-on-your-spine news” phone call. Not the kind of call you want to get in the Nordstrom cosmetics department. So I took it outside to the sidewalk.
The bad option was Transverse Myelitis, a virus that could possibly have gone away, and the really bad option was MS. I still didn’t believe it was MS. I was crossing my fingers that it was this crazy virus, which still sounded pretty scary. But then again, I said to the doctor, my sister has MS and it doesn’t seem like the end of the world….
“You don’t want to have MS,” he said.
After we hung up, I went back inside the store and bought my mascara. (The sales girl was really nice; she later sent me a thank-you card for buying the mascara, with something cute written about how my lashes would be the envy of all my friends.) I left the store and called my best friend while standing on the sky bridge above 6th Avenue, watching the traffic pass below.
I started experiencing symptoms in fall 2007, when I was in physical therapy for an injured knee, which then aggravated “nerve damage” in my right leg, supposedly caused by an old ankle sprain (I am accident prone). But then the PT started to make my left leg go numb, so the therapist sent me to a neurologist.
The third MRI happened on Friday, March 26, 2008. The doctor called with the results that same night so I wouldn’t have to wait out the weekend: about 20 inactive lesions on my brain. “I hate having to give news like this,” he kept saying. Boo fucking hoo, I kept thinking. This is your job. He’s not my neurologist anymore.
Many doctor visits, three MRIs and one very surreal year later, here I am. My symptoms from the original exacerbation have never completely gone away. It’s crazy to remember a time not so long ago when I wasn’t aware every day that I have Multiple Sclerosis. That reality has been supplanted by this one.
Anyway, it’s time to throw out that mascara. It’s waaay past its shelf life.