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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reasons for Lesions

Recently I met with my neurologist to go over the results of my second MRI. This MRI was my super pricey celebration of 2014. The scan checked my cervical (neck) and thoracic (my thorax...if I were a bug) spinal cord for any MS lesions.

What's a lesion, you ask? Hmmm...well, the best way I can describe it is the protective coating over your nerve fiber that sends a signal, much like the plastic protective coating over electrical cords. Have you ever noticed that if the plastic on electrical cords wears out to expose the wires, it shorts out and doesn't work as well? That's what's happening to the nerves for people with MS. It's more damaging than that 80's movie with Steve Guttenberg (whatever happened to that guy?), though.

I have had weird vision problems, numbness and tingling in nearly my whole body (different areas at different times), sleeplessness, headaches, general fatigue, muscle weakness on one side of my body, balance problems, clumsiness and memory lapses.

I wonder now if I the adrenal fatigue I experienced back in 2009 and 2010 was actually the early stages of MS…or maybe a warning to me to slow down. Because I didn't get an MRI at that point, I may I never know.

The medication my neurologist has recommended I try is supposed to shrink lesions and stop them from progressively getting worse…but, they may always be there. I am learning to live with the idea that my body is incredibly resilient and it can heal itself. The first round of therapy happened on Valentine's Day...and it left me completely wasted for days. My walking is pretty wobbly, too.

Getting my first Tysabri treatment on Valentine's Day

I keep up hope that I will find a new normal and eventually return to many of the things I love like running. In the meantime, I thank God for every day I'm alive.

Monday, February 24, 2014

To my senior in high school...

Dear Sophia,

It's 5am and I just woke up with tears in my eyes. I was dreaming about you. We were in the kitchen and we were arguing about something—I don't remember what, but I was pretty angry and so were you. I guess we decided to settle it by wrestling…for some reason. (Remember our wrestling matches we use to do a few years ago? Lots of laughs and fun…especially when I pinned you! Ha! I am pretty sure I wouldn't be the winner if we were to wrestle now though. You're clearly much stronger than me.)

So, in the dream we went to another part of the house to wrestle. I turned away from you for a second while we were preparing to get started and when I turned around, I found four-year-old Sophia smiling up at me. Your hair was in pigtails and your perfect little dimples framed that sweet little face. I thought, "she's trying to trick me by her adorable cuteness so she'll win this wrestling match!" But, then, I didn't care. All I wanted to do was hug and hold you, tell you how much I love you and tell you I will always love you. 

In my dream we played, ran around, tickled and laughed. We completely lost ourselves in having a good time together. We hugged a lot. That was the best part.

I woke up realizing that I needed to let the four-year-old Sophia know that she is one of the most special people in my life. 

When you called me at work the other day, crying that you'd had that scary dream about losing the use of your legs, arms and eyesight I should have been more comforting. I should have held you and hugged you and wrapped you up in the arms of my love. I'm still learning how to do that more.

Another part of what that dream taught me is that even though you've grown up and changed—you no longer spend very much, if any, time with our family, just being with us—you are still the same sweet, lovable girl with the curly hair, olive skin and dimples that charmed my heart when you were little. 

I wish sometimes that I could have that little girl back to love, cuddle, hug, tickle, tell secrets to, kiss and adore. But, I know that now she has to come to me on her own terms…like when she has a bad dream. 

I love you Sophia, 

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