As a rule, I crave stability. In my job, in my home, in the people I surround myself with. I like a sure thing. Unpredictability, flakiness and variables outside of my control freak me out. Too much open space or free time, which can sound awesome at times, can stress me out. I prefer structure. A schedule of activities. Lists. Things I can plan on. And I don’t like it when people change my plans unexpectedly. I can adapt to change, but I appreciate a heads-up–and really would like to be involved in the decision in the first place.
Multiple Sclerosis obviously throws a huge wrench in my plans. It goes without saying, really, but you can’t plan for MS.
So, even though I know all this, why do I let it bother me so much when my symptoms suddenly act up, like they have this week? I was doing fine. Or as fine as I’m used to, with the ever-present numbness in my right leg and a grab bag of other random, but pretty mild, symptoms. But yesterday, I noticed while taking a shower (shower water is a really great way to discover What’s New in Numbness), that my upper right thigh was also numb. Okay. Whatever. And then throughout the day, I began to notice how numb the back of my left leg was, as well as my left shin. Hold on. That’s not part of the deal. I’m willing to accept Right Leg = Numb, but my left leg is supposed to be the steady one. I can’t have them both acting up on me. It makes walking and standing especially hard.
I wobbled through the day, clinging to and leaning on walls and countertops, staying seated during meetings and generally taking it slow. I hoped (and am still hoping) that this increase in numbness was a side-effect of the start of my Lady Time, but I’m still bothered by it because it’s not typical for my symptoms to get *this* bad in conjunction with my period (TMI? Deal with it.).
Anyway, I should know better than to worry about it. This is what happens with MS. Things change unexpectedly. There doesn’t have to be an explanation or warning signs. It just does what it does. I have no control. I know this to be true.
But three years since my diagnosis, I still resent how flaky this disease can be, like an unwelcome and inconsiderate house guest that invites friends over who drink all your beer, make a mess and stay too long. If it can’t tell me when extra symptoms are going to show up, I wish it could at least tell me how long they plan to stay. Because I really don’t want to feel like this every day forever.