The third blog of setting the scene…it follows ‘I’m not Drunk’ and ‘The Wednesday that my life changed’. Written 4 years ago! And sharing in advance of talking more about MS and how I achieve a normal life!
About a month prior to all of this
I had been really unwell with some kind of flu/virus, and never really got back on track. This was apparently the trigger for my ‘super’ immune system to fight off any illness and go on a ninja-esque mission that included attacking my brain! I kind of appreciated the positive spin that the neuro in front of me was putting on this, but as he began to sketch out the explanation it became less superhero and a bit more real.
In essence your brain’s ‘electrics’ or axon, are insulated, this insulation is called myelin. And these electrics are the control centre for your bodies central nervous system. When my white blood cells, which are your immune cells, went on their mission, they included attacking the insulation (myelin) in my brain.
Having eaten their way through it, they essentially shortcircuited my body. The result was my slurred speech and droopy face. Fantastic.
This had shown up in my MRI scan – as points of inflammation on my brain, one scar from a previous injury also showed up. He explained that a singular instance of this was called neuritis, and could happen to me one, thrice, or numerous times in my lifetime. The sketch to the right is the original that he drew for me!
Throughout, he had asked me to concentrate, as it was vital that I understood, I suppose I was slightly carefree in reciting his explanation back pretty much word for word.
Of course I wasn’t happy about it, but suppose was in some sort of shock having expected an all clear, and lets face it, anything to do with your brain is scary stuff.
What came next however, shook me. He explained that when this happens on a recurrent basis, that is what is called multiple sclerosis.
I think I swallowed tried to digest it, and maintain a fairly steely exterior. Unsuccessfully! Tears rolled down my face and my consultant gave me a cuddle! At this point I was also incredibly conscious that Martin, a nurse of the same age as me, was standing with us.
Having provided an element of normality for me while I had been in hospital, we had chatted music, general banter; and now albeit not a current diagnosis of MS but the potential for one, everything felt unreal – and his presence somehow made it all the more surreal.
The consultant continued to explain a little more
said he would see me very soon for another MRI including my spinal chord, and said bye bye. Martin told me that he would leave the curtains closed and give me some time, and I began to digest everything.
Having taken a few moments, I knew I should pull myself together – my mum had arrived from Scotland and would be arriving with my boyfriend. I wanted to put on a brave face and go home!
This may all sound very dramatic but I had spent the prior few days with very limited visitors and all my own thoughts. And when I had convinced myself that I would be ok, and the fact that the words multiple sclerosis had even been uttered with any relevance at all to me – I had got a big fright!
Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to explain everything to my boyfriend and mum face to face with the steely exterior in tact, I text my boyfriend the basics, and they both arrived looking pretty sombre. But I was ecstatic to see them nevertheless!!
So the official diagnosis was acute demyelination of the central nervous system.
It’s not all doom and gloom. I had my second MRI this week. Whatever the results – I’m trying hard to get better , and desperate to get back to normality!