Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Like That Justin Timberlake Song, But With IQ Points

My supreme sense of self-importance tells me you have all been wondering how I've been feeling:

It was like a rubberband snapping back into place.

I hadn't realized just how stretched I had become until I felt it snap back. I knew I had been off, tired. I joked repeatedly about losing 10 points on my IQ. And then one day I was on my way home from work and I snapped back. And I realized that it was probably closer to 20 points. And I finally had them back.

I've been slowly tapering off the steroids since I got out of the hospital and on that day I had gone from 4 pills a day to 3. I expected... I don't know, for my mouth to maybe taste a little less like a radioactive squirrel. I wasn't expecting it to be the threshold where they finally stopped impeding every fucking thing I wanted to do. But it was.

The best way I can explain is that it was both physically and mentally like taking cotton out of my ears. There had been an echo to everything my brain processed for weeks. Buzzing almost. And so it was taking twice the time it normally would for me to process things. It probably wasn't noticeable to most people. I'm pretty quick to begin with. But I noticed. I remember going to lunch with some friends and just feeling like everything I said was off. My timing, my jokes, they were all delayed. I felt awkward with a group of people that I am usually 100% comfortable with. I guess part of the problem is that I don't hang with dumb people. In interactions with people who don't know me that well, nobody noticed how off I was. But my friends, I know they saw it.

When I followed up with the MS specialist, I wasn't given any new information. I'll be going for an MRI of my spine to try to pin down the diagnosis, but as of now we have essentially no new information. I suppose that isn't completely accurate. The other possibilities for demyelinating diseases were eliminated. I don't have Lyme Disease or Sarcoidosis.

I expected this. I had already spoken to the neurologist in the hospital in depth and she told me we couldn't confirm based on the information we have right now. So I wasn't surprised or upset. But I was curious about the recovery period. If I have MS, I wanted to know when I should expect to feel normal again. And the answer to that question is what scared me.

What my doctor told me is that most people recover fully within 6-8 weeks, but that if I had not within that timeframe, I shouldn't expect to ever fully recover. I had had significant improvement to that point, but I was still missing those 20 something IQ points and for some people, the neurological damage of an MS attack is permanent. I might never feel like myself again. That was hard to hear.

A few days later is when the rubberband snapped back. And I was unbelievably grateful. I went home that day feeling great. I had the energy to cook dinner and play with my daughter. I had the mental clarity to appreciate it. I felt like myself for the first time in over a month. And that's where I'm at right now. Feeling like myself and able to fully appreciate that for all it's worth.

It's funny how much more you appreciate something when you don't have it for a while.


Gia said...

So glad to hear some good news! I hope there is more to come.

Front Desk Ninja said...

You're starting to provide a challenge in Words, I knew you were feeling better.

AKD said...

I am so glad you are feeling better. You are right, in some ways it would be easier to have dumb friends. I am glad you have a great support system.

Misty said...

Annnnddddd . . . now I have that Baby Baby Ohhh Baby song in my head. Thanks a fucking lot woman! Gah!

Glad the rubberband snapped back. Congrats for mental clarity.