Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da... goes on, bra. Missed the first parts? Go to So it begins...

After the diagnosis, GH & I prepared for our trip to NYC to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. I did call my family and close friends who had been following the saga to let them know I had received the diagnosis.

I was really afraid to tell my mom, because I knew she would blame herself and feel guilty. However, she surprised me by saying, "How do you feel about this?" That is SO unlike my mom. I think her therapy sessions have helped her to be more introspective. I did ask my dad later if she fell apart, and he assured me that she was OK. So with that bit completed, we packed and went to NYC.

I won't bore you with the details of our trip, but GH was very OK with me saying that I was tired and we needed to go to our apartment and rest for awhile. This was our fifth or sixth trip to NYC, so we didn't need to do all thte touristy crap. We spent our time exploring places we had not seen before, as well as hanging out at some of our favorite places. We only (!!) saw six shows in the ten days, which is a record low for us.

I think the two things of which I am most proud was that I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and spent an entire day at the Bronx Zoo. The only real difficulty I had was our last two days, when it got extremely hot and humid. But we survived.

Once we came home, I had to set up an appointment with a nurse to come to my house to teach me how to inject my Copaxone. That was a great meeting! The nurse was so upbeat, but not in the annoying, perky, cheerleader fashion. She was a real, humorous, down-to-earth person who also has MS and she is still living her life to the fullest. I wholeheartedly believe that she was sent to me by a higher power to show me that I, too, can live my life to the fullest.

Another accomplishment post-diagnosis is that I starred in a production of Same Time, Next Year, which is a role I have dreamed about for years. Despite a bad review from an asshat critic (he commented that it appeared that I was rolling my eyes at the audience, allegedly breaking the fourth wall; I wrote to inform him that the "eye rolloing" was due to optic nerve hypoplasia and not an acting choice, for which I received an apology), I was so pleased that I was able to memorize half a play (it's a two-person show), dismissing any fears I had about cognitive dysfunction.

I have also received a title change at my job, which was long overdue. This reclassification moved me from an hourly employee to a salaried employee with four weeks of vacation and a 15% salary increase. Others in my department who hold this title of Project Coordinator do no more than I was doing at the lower ranking, so I stood up on my hind legs (an Oklahoma or Southern expression) and requested equal treatment. I did inform my supervisor about my diagnosis; we have worked together for nearly seven years and he was very concerned. However, I still have not informed Human Resources. I am not going to do that until absolutely necessary; things can be SO political in a university setting.

Long story short, I have tried to continue with my "abnormal" life as well as I can. I am fortunate, in that I do not have MS symptoms that are more than merely annoying. The left arm and leg have retuned to normal and I saw an ophthalmologist about my eyes. He (an old high school friend) assured me that there was no damage due to my exacerbation and now he has a solid baseline to compare if I do have problems in the future.

I have taken my Copaxone faithfully everyday, with the help of GH "shooting" me in those locations I cannot reach. I have lost about 20 lbs. since January and I am working to lose 10-20 more. I am going to physical therapy for a shoulder problem (old theatre injury) and trying to exercise a bit every day.

To see my progress, go to Six Month Followup.

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