Aug 19,2007

Sometimes I get so tired of adjusting my life, and my family’s life around this thing called multiple sclerosis. Granted, my symptoms are mild in comparison to most. I can still walk, and still have 95% control over all my muscles and limbs, and most days my brain functions pretty well. Afterall, I still homeschool 5 of my 6 kids and I run my own small business, with minimal help from my husband.

But, even though my symptoms are mild, I still have symptoms.

I get hit with dizziness a couple times a day. Short, intense bursts of vertigo that are usually gone in fewer than 30 seconds, and send me searching for a chair, wall, or counter to lean on. Sometimes I have no where to go but the floor. My husband and kids have gotten used to it, even my 4 yr old knows the “mommy needs something to hold on to” look. And when we’re out, my husband has made it his job to stand a foot or so off to my left so I can grab on to him if I need to. The dizziness is more frequent if I skip my supplements, or eat something with MSG or gluten, but even if I do everything right, it still hits me every day or so.

My most obvious symptom, I think, is the stuttering. When I get stressed, or upset I stutter and can’t find my words- a horrible thing for a writer. If I get something MSG laden, I stutter constantly for a few hours. Again, my family is used to it, and I tend slip into sign language when talking eludes me. Of course, I’ve had to hire someone to make my business phone calls for me….business owners don’t tend to buy communication services from a writer who sounds like Porky Pig.

For me, the most frustrating symptom of MS is the brain fog. When brain fog hits, my thinking slows down and I struggle to finish a  thought, even in my own head. Maddening for someone who used to be a card carrying member of Mensa. The upside is my kids get to finish three quarters of my sentences for me, and it’s kind of funny to watch the confused look on the neighbor kid’s face when I say something off the wall like, ” put your spoon in the oven.” Especially when I’m trying to ask the kid to put a piece of paper in the trash. The general rule around my house is.. Don’t do what I SAY… do what you know I MEAN.

I also go into what my husband has termed “overload” It’s when everything around me seems louder, brighter and more intense than it actually is. I have no patience and everything, including the sound of the kids breathing, tries my nerves. Usually I recognize it when everyone around me is annoying. Or when somebody suggests mom needs to take a taurine.

Taurine is a wonder supplement. I keep a bottle in my purse so it’s always with me. One Taurine, and 30 minutes of quiet and overload just melts away.  I think it’s become my husband’s best friend.

and I’m lucky. My kids have adjusted well to the funky little ‘momisms’ around here. And my husband.. well he was warned about this while were in the early stages of dating. Granted, at the time, it was nothing more than stuttering once or twice a year and a bit of numbness in my toes. But, he’s really great about adjusting .
We’re all getting used to making changes, doing things just a bit differently I can’t complain too much. My supplements and diet changes help me manage symptoms and probably keep me from getting much worse. I’m doing very well for someone who’s had “probable MS” for 10 years. And by my count, I had my first symptom almost 20 years ago. If you’re intent on living your life and not giving into this thing called multiple sclerosis, you’ll find a way to cope with the symptoms.

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