Well, if you read my Blymey! page then you already know
the beginning of my tale. If you didn't read it, then do.
Do you even know what MS is? Check out this handy little
fact sheet to get the low-down on it.
So, after a very long and tiring bout with Lyme disease, I find that none of the symptoms I was complaining of were going away. In fact, most were getting worse. The optic neuritis that was causing the original cloudy vision was just part of the day to day routine.
I went to my neurologist alot during the first few months of 1996. I was subjected to insane sick perverse electrode testing to check my nervous systems response time. He stuck these metal nastiness to my lower legs and sent some low voltage through me. At one point he says to me "I'm going to turn it up a little, now." So I'm like "Okay, no problem." The ZAP the bugger musta sent a gigawatt through me cause man did it hurt as well as made me jump. And he did it like 3 or 4 times. This was very unpleasant and I discourage casual use of such methods on live subjects.
April of 1996 I received the "definite" diagnosis of MS. Oh, Lucky Man.
By June of 1996 I could no longer walk without using a cane. I got a very nice cane from the House of Canes and Walking Sticks. A very nice lady named Kay helped me with my selection, and the cane I got was a beautiful ebony cane with a water buffalo horn handle.
June was also the month I began taking the new FDA approved drug Avonex. This drug is fun to use, it comes in a little package with an Intramuscular syringe and a couple of little vials with all the goodies to fill the syringe and inject yourself. This isn't like your typical diabetic injection, oh no. An IM injection means it's gotta be deeeeeep in your muscle, so the needle is like an inch long. Since it's only done once a week it's not so bad - the injection that is. The side effects of Avonex vary week to week, but I can usually count on a nasty headache, muscle fatigue and exacerbation's of all of the MS symptoms (i.e. numbness, optic neuritis, etc.). It's not much fun, but they tell me the long term benefits will make it worth while.
Late August I had what they call an "episode". Treatment during "episodes" consisted of a steady diet of intravenous methyl prednisone, 1 gram a day for a week. Now, if you read the Blymey! page you know I already had the pin-cushion treatment with anti-biotics. This was similar wherein I had a shunt put in my arm, but the drug was administered via the normal hanging drip method. Now, this stuff, commonly know as steroids, has a strange effect in such huge doses. The first effect I noticed was that I was famished all the time. I could eat like crazy. For about three weeks I was eating three meals a day, with desert. I was eating constantly. Hunger was what I was and food feared me. I gained about 10 pounds during the weeks of constant eating. The other effect it had on me was I was awake 22 hours a day, and the 2 hours of sleep I got always happened without warning. I'd be working late, then I'd find myself waking up, fully refreshed, and I'd get right into working as if nothing had happened. Very unusual, but it allowed me to be VERY productive at work. The down side of steroid treatment is mood swings and possible bone collapse. I got no idea what bone collapse means, but it sounds horrible. Mood swings I can deal with as long as the people around me can deal with them.
Well, since that episode I've been pretty stable. Good days and bad days, sometimes good half days and bad half days. It's a weird thing, but it's amazing what you can get used to.