May 1999 - February 2000. I look at those 9 months between the giant giving me that first big squeeze and the diagnosis of MS like a pregnancy of sorts. Conception to delivery, with all kinds of strange changes to your body. None of the changes were good though and I knew there would be no perfect little human to show for it all so that's where the similarities end.
I was the best pregnant woman on earth, no morning sickness, no water retention, no high blood pressure or any of the other things some of my friends experienced. It was pure and simple magic for me. In fact, I felt better than I had in years!
These particular 9 months were very different: my equilibrium was off; my left arm often stayed bent at the elbow and felt like it belonged to someone else; I often limped and random places on my body tingled, froze, went numb and/or hurt. I was exhausted all the time. I was scared but even more scared to admit to anyone else that I was afraid.
There were many nights when I'd lie awake thinking about what would happen to my family if I wasn't here. Some nights I could hear my mama crying in her own bedroom and another piece of my heart would break. I could see the fear in my sister's eyes when I had a "fit" in front of her. I could see the same fear in Craig's eyes when I stumbled or lost my balance.
It seemed that every week I was seeing another doctor, having another test, trying to comprehend complicated test results that may or may not mean anything. While it was miserable, I did manage to find the humor. Like making up rules for when I had fits in public: 1) do NOT touch me, it makes it worse, 2) do NOT call 911, it'll pass, and 3) if strangers stare, create a diversion by acting crazy yourself. Throw yourself to the ground or try to lick your elbow or something!
I told everyone not to worry, I was fine. I was thinking about getting a job at Braum's making milk shakes. I wouldn't need a machine, I'd just hold them in my left hand and let the fits do the work.
Everyone had questions, most of them the same and my answers never changed: yes, I am going to work; no, I don't need to take time off. No, I did not hit my head; no, I was not recently in a car a wreck. Yes, I'm stressed; no, I do not think I'm having panic attacks.
I. Am. FINE!