I live with chronic pain – every moment of my life is pain of one degree or another. I am currently able to work full-time, but that is due in part to my ability to work from home if necessary and the flexibility my manager allows me such as leaving early on days I’m not feeling well or letting me have days off no questions asked because I just need a rest. I also have a handicapped parking placard hanging in my car because walking for long distances not only exhausts me, but it causes muscle spasms in my back and legs which increases my pain dramatically; I’ve even had spasms in my back so severe they dislocated a rib.
However, I didn’t realize that’s what happened – I thought I just had a very painful muscle knot in my side. It wasn’t until I asked my wife (who at this point is my full-time caregiver, doing things like cleaning the house, grocery shopping, cooking, and doing the lion’s share of caring for our pets because I no longer am able to do so) to massage my back and then felt the rib pop back into place (resulting in literally instant relief) did I realize what happened. I had spent an entire week with a dislocated rib, working every day and just assuming I had a very bad muscle knot that needed to be worked out.
There is good news, however. I now have a wheelchair so I can go on more outings (being limited to either home or work has been detrimental to my quality of life) both in my neighborhood (which has wonderful walking trails, beautiful foliage and wildlife, and a gorgeous lake) and to things like the mall, museums, or coming up here soon, Tampa Pride. I also have been on the same medication for over a year now with positive results – not only have I had zero relapses in over a year, but my most recent MRI shows no active lesions and no new lesions which means as of right now, my MS is stable. This is the best possible thing to expect while dealing with this disease and I hope my remission lasts a very long time.
I wanted to make March all about MS in my small world – making daily posts with facts about Multiple Sclerosis in an attempt to educate people who may not know much, if anything, about it. Facebook is how I’ve been sharing information and when I was offered the opportunity to create a post for Ania and Alyssa’s blog, I had to take advantage. For such a common disease, most people know nothing about it, to the point where people find out I have it, tell me their relative or friend or neighbor has it, and then proceed to ask me about it because despite knowing someone dealing with MS, they don’t actually know anything about MS.
It can be scary, it can be isolating, but it isn’t the end. Multiple Sclerosis is not a death sentence and you can live a fantastic life with it. I know I am.