Friday, August 16, 2013

Head Games

I am too in my own head lately.

For the last couple days, my hand has been bothering me. I have no better description of what is going on with it. It doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t quite tingle, and it doesn’t quite itch. It feels a little like it burns, but not really. Just kind of? Something is just off. I am way more aware of my hand than I ever remember being before.

And that is why I am in my head. I keep thinking the following thoughts, often simultaneously:

Should I call my doctor? Should she be aware of this? Is there anything she can do? Will I want to do what she recommends, which might very well be an IV infusion of steroids?

Am I coming down with a cold? Are my small aches and weird tingles the sign of an impending illness? Am I exhausted because I am coming down with something? Does my throat feel scratchy? Is it possible that I am tired because I have been running around all week without much rest?

Has my finger always had this vague sensation? Have I always scratched the backs of my hands out of habit instead of itchiness? Is there really a rogue hair attached to my finger that keeps me searching for the source of the tickle?

Do people without MS experience these things? Is this just the “normal” human condition? Have the times I have experienced this in the past been a typical and universal experience of our species? What is normal?

I so miss the days, not too long ago, when I didn’t know I had MS. I miss how things were. If my palm itched, I scratched it. If my foot fell asleep, I stood up and stomped on it to get some blood flowing. If I had trouble reading the PowerPoint presentation projected on the screen in the conference room, I put on my glasses.

My life has changed. And it will never be the same as it was before. Not only that, but this diagnosis has struck the one chord—stripped of myelin—that causes the most anxiety and angst in my life.

I’m the type of person that likes to know how things end. I read the end of the book. I look up spoilers on the Internet. Knowing the ending actually enhances the pleasure of the experience for me. I was the type of kid who, when given a Choose Your Own Adventure book, would start at the back and reverse engineer my choices to make sure I never turned the page to read “You have died.”

I know in my hole-filled brain that no one on earth gets to know the end of their story. Not really. There is the often funny, often cruel force of Chance that is active in every human life. I am not guaranteed the next 20 minutes, let alone the next 20 years.

But I thought I had a road map in front of me. A rough outline of where I was going and what I was going to do. That map has been wadded up and tossed out the window. I have to re-figure out a lot of things I thought I knew. Like if I am experiencing an itch or a relapse.  I need to figure out when to tough it out and when to call it in. I need to learn when to push through or pull up. And when to hold tight when to let loose.

But I still want to know how it ends.

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