Missed the first parts of the story? Go to So it begins...
After the MRI, I tried to put it out of my mind. I went back to work for half-days, because that was about all I could sit up for an extended period of time. So, on Thursday, May 22, 2008, I was hanging out at my father-in-law's duplex, resting after my half-day of work. He lives in what's known as midtown, which is closer to my office than going all the way home in the suburbs.
I guess I should explain. I don't drive. I learned how to drive in the event of an extreme emergnecy, but I do not have a driver's license. I am, shall we say, visually challenged. I have a condition known as optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH), which means my optic nerves are only a half to a thrid the size of normal optic nerves. Like MS, no one knows what causes it. I have had this condition since birth, so I have no idea what "normal" vision is like. I can do nearly anything except drive and read an old-fashioned thermometer. Anyway, I digress.
While I was resting at FIL's, I received a call on my cell phone. I went outside to take the call. The nurse from my family doctor's office said, "Mrs. F, I have your MRI results. The test is indicative of multiple sclerosis." She said it in a very matter-of-fact tone, without apology. Believe it or not, I was glad she didn't say, "I'm sorry." I thanked her for letting me know and hung up. While outside, I decided I needed a cigarette (wouldn't you, even if you don't smoke?) and absorb the news. I wasn't freaked out, surprisingly. I think, somewhere in my conscious or subconscious, I knew MS was a possibility.
I went back inside and waited for GH (Goat-Hub) to pick me up. I think I called to see when he would be there. I could have sworn I said, "I heard from the doctor's office." Anyway, when he got there, he exchanged news of the day with his dad and then we went home. I had another performance of Midsummer Night's Dream that night. As we were driving home, GH kept talking on and on about inane things that occurred during his work day. I had no idea what he was saying, he could have been speaking in Russian for all I knew.
At some point, I said, "Honey, did you hear me say when I called you that I heard from the doctor's office?" He said, "No! I didn't hear you say that! What did they say?!" So I repeated what the nurse had said. He was like, "Well, we knew that was a possibility." To which I replied, "At least it's not a brain tumor, right? This is something that is manageable. This will not kill me. OK, let's not tell anyone except family until I see the neurologist, OK?" He agreed.
We got home, greeted the fuzz muffins (Janis Joplin F, a.k.a. JJ and Johnny Cash F, a.k.a. Cash; yes, we name our dogs after dead singers) and I called my mom with instructions to keep it quiet for now. Then I started to put on my makeup for the show. Although I still couldn't use my left hand, I could still apply stage makeup with my right.
I went to the theater, going through the routine of getting ready. I'm sure I was more quiet than usual, but I bet everyone attributed it to me not feeling well. I did what I was supposed to do and went home immediately after the show. During the times I had some quiet space around me during that performance, all I could hear in my head was, "MS, MS, MS, MS...The MRI is indicative of multiple sclerosis." It was like a broken record playing over and over and over.
This was right before Memorial Day weekend, of course. Why can't I ever have a medical problem during regular business hours? My mission for Tuesday when I returned to work was to call the neurologist's office and see if they could schedule me any earlier than July. I told the receptionist about my MRI results and that I would really like to get an official diagnosis as soon as possible. She said she would let me know if anything became available. She called back later that afternoon to tell me that an appointment became open for the next day. I said, "Great! I leave for New York the following morning, so this fits perfectly."
Tune in next time for It's Official (and Happy Anniversary, by the way)!
6 days ago