For many years, big holidays such as Christmas have been difficult for me. Part of that is due to seasonal affective disorder and some is due to various disappointments over the years. I dread this time of year.
Yesterday I had a 4-month follow-up appointment at the neurology center. It was fairly uneventful, however I did learn that I really can't feel my left foot. When my neuro NP bent my big toe and asked which direction it was, I honestly couldn't tell. At first it felt like she was moving it side-ways, not up nor down.
The numbness in my legs is up my torso. I could barely feel the safety pin which I understand is 'supposed' to feel sharp. LOL. It was kinda, sorta sharpish near my bra strap. It's time to admit that this extent of numbness is permanent.
The swaying and balance issues are permanent. After testing the same during several visits over more than a year, it's time to accept that my appointments are not coincidentally on "bad days." This is just my new normal and adjusted baseline.
I asked about vision issues, wondering if visual disturbances ever really get better. We're going to repeat the visual evoked potentials test in January and compare the result to my original ones over five years ago. My optic discs look good upon exam, and my MRI brain scans look good, but it is most likely that there is damage somewhere behind the eyes along the optic nerve.
After asking about MS bowel issues, it is confirmed that a case of MS doesn't have to be really advanced before bowels can be affected. It is not the most common symptom, but definitely one which can be annoying and disturbing.
So to be honest with myself and readers, I really am doing rather well. I function; I look good; I can walk, talk, hear, see, think, write, teach, and smile. But when adding up all the mild and moderate symptoms, it becomes rather annoying. It is impossible to ignore that MS puts limits on what I can do.
Maybe it's really just the season. Maybe it's that spasticity has come back and causes pain. Maybe it's that I have my final pulse steroid session on Monday and I won't be getting a boost until I actually have a significant relapse or something else happens in the future.
I'm kinda looking forward to the steroids (as odd as that sounds) so that my growing joint pain will subside before I'm traveling for a week. The spasticity will probably be subdued and maybe my eyes will brighten up.
Basically I think I'm traveling through some of the typical emotions of anger and grief before acceptance can be regained again. Interesting that once we find acceptance, it doesn't guarantee we'll always feel that way.
I know that compared to many of my online friends, I am doing fantastic!! I am awesome. There is no reason to feel blah and blech. Already I feel a little bit better compared to yesterday. Tomorrow I will probably feel better still.
One thing I learned during a few years of counseling is that it is important to acknowledge feelings and allow yourself to feel them. This is helpful in taking away their disruptive power. By admitting that I feel blah, I help myself overcome it and find more peace and joy.
Maybe that is what I should focus on this week, helping myself find peace and joy within. It is not something which is limited to one day or season of the year. It is always there, within, to be nurtured and allowed to breathe.
So my wish for you this holiday season is to find the peace and joy which comes from within. Not from lights or trees, poinsettia plants or even red roses. You are your own angel. May your wings glitter in the moonlight.