Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Keeping It Real!

Relationships take a lot of work. Having  disability is a lot of work. Throw the two together and you have a soup mixture that might be quite distasteful depending on what ingredients you use.

 I have had symtoms of MS since the age of fourteen. That's since 1979! Okay, I am getting old! However, in 1979 there were no MRI brain scans like we have now. I got tested for a brain tumor and that was ruled out. My opthomologist noted I had one pupil larger than the other and found that odd, but he didn't know why either. As an adult, another opthomologist noticed the same thing and said, "You ought to have some brain tests." Did I have brain tests? Absolutely not. I just kept falling over and thinking, "I am mighty stressed out for some reason."

In 1998, the left side of my body went numb and I still thought I must have the flu. My then boss said, "This is not the flu. Go to a doctor right now. I am ordering you out of the office." Seven days later I was in utter shock. I was told I have multiple sclerosis.

Well, there is a lot more to say, but who has time to read my entire life story an anyone's entire life story particularly if that person is not even famous? Let's just say I was thirty-two when I found out. The most humiliating thing was not being able to hold a job. I tried and tried and tried and tried, but twenty-one years after The Americans With Disabilities Act, it is very hard for a person with a non-static disability to hold a traditional eight hour a day job. It's not only hard for the worker, it's hard for the employer.

I have had some incredible remissions. In 2005 I had been literally running around my old neighborhood listening to music and loving every minute of it. I once went running in an intense sideways rain storm past a team of large high school football players who looked at me like I must have been out of my mind. Well, that's another subject entirely.

This year I slipped into what they call a MS flare. I don't know when it is going to stop. Yesterday I finally realized this is really bothering me. I mean, it took me months to realize just how much it is bothering me. I just have this incredible way of stuffing feelings until they all burst out like a carbonated drink someone shook and accidentally opened. It's just a mess! I now have a mess to clean up! OMG! Well, let the cleaning begin! -Alison Whiteman

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