This week has been kind of rough. I started physiotherapy and had some doctor appointments and am realizing 2 things. First is that I am a lot sicker than I like to think I am. The second, which goes with that, is that it will be a much longer time than I think/I’d like before I can go back to doing the things I was doing before I had a hot dog on my spine. Yup. It’s a lesion, shaped like a hot dog sitting there all making my legs not work quite right. I’m more or less all numb/pins and needlesy from the waist down with some major muscle/mobility issues in my left leg.
The second is really hard. I’ve never been a terribly physically active person other than doing some running the summer before, but in November I decided that had to change. I started exercising and worked hard to change my eating habits (side note, not a diet, but actually taking the time to work on understanding what I am and should be eating and why and making positive changes to reflect that). I did exercise videos in the winter (which are so boring!) joined a gym, started running more, using weight machines ect. I lost 60 pounds, and built up some crazy leg muscle. I made lots of positive change and had grown into some great habits. I was feeling really good about myself and was planning to run a 5k with some friends in a couple of weeks. Like I was finally treating my body well and this is how it repays me? Jerk!
So to go more into what’s going on, some background and all that. I woke up a few weeks ago with a tingly leg, you know, pins and needles, that just would not go away. I even went to the gym and ran for 20 minutes thinking that just getting my circulation going would help with no luck. The next day I was walking funny so I went to a walk in who referred me for an MRI (which would not be until September anyways, yeesh!). The week went on and things got worse, but gradually enough that my other leg, which was still ok, could compensate for. So I didn’t really notice how bad it had gotten. I went on a work trip on the Friday & Saturday and when I got home, my other leg started feeling numb, so I figured maybe I should go get checked out while I could still move around somewhat independently. Right? I went to the hospital where I was admitted and got an emergency (16 hour wait with no food!) MRI. Which showed that I had a lesion on my spine and two on my brain. WHAT? Where does that even come from, right? The official diagnosis I was sent home with based on this and my medical history and all that junk was transverse myelitis secondary to multiple sclerosis. Bummer. Those are some big words of suck. I’m taking it better than I probably should be, but I figure I have a lot of time to live with this one, so it’s ok if I let it simmer in slowly. Today I googled something about MS I was curious about for the first time and decided it will be a while before I ever do that again.
I had to use a walker in the hospital. It was crazy. And to go further than down the hall I had to be wheeled around. I could not even wiggle the toes or lift up one of my feet. Wearing shoes was impossible because the weight of them was too much. It’s insane. Going from being able to run 5k to that. Just insane. I can’t even explain it to you. When I can run again I will probably cry it will be so awesome. Or even bike. Or take the kids on long adventure walks. I miss those. Luckily the large amount of steroids they gave me to reduce the inflammation are working well and I can kind of walk now. My recovery is much better than they predicted it would be which is great. I haven’t really had to use the walker they recommended I get. On the other hand, my normally poor sense of balance is challenged to the point that I can’t stand up straight with my eyes closed without something to hold on to. I look pretty funny moving around. But I’ll get past this. I am tough and determined. And I’ve already gotten past so much. I can walk around somewhat kind of normally/comfortably. I can wiggle my toes and I can kind of use stairs. I can walk to the end of a hall without feeling exhausted and I can go to work and do worky type things.
I know I should probably take it easier than I am, but it’s hard. Not doing things like going grocery shopping, taking the bus to work, getting things done around the house would just be too much for me. Getting to normal life as much as my body can handle has been really important for my mental well being. But at the same time, I need to allow myself to step back and rest too. I have this bad habit of putting on a game face, but really, I need to let go of that so I can let myself take the time to recover and so others around me can see that I need that time. What I need is a week of sleep! I am not even kidding. Or at least let myself take naps now and then.
And then, when I start getting better I need to work on getting stronger so that when I get sick again I can fight it. Seeing as my physio homework this week involves tapping my feet on steps, I think I have a ways before I am there.