Speaking of multiple sclerosis, I was reminded of this yesterday.
The day I was diagnosed, my neurologist’s office called me and asked if I could be in for a lumbar puncture in fifteen minutes. I could not, because I live an hour away. But I was there by noon.
My neurologist came in to talk to me when I was already set up for the LP, and he started the conversation by drawing a small cartoon of a brain. I knew that MS was an possibility, so I was holding my breath. But there was also a part of me thinking, “It’s weird that he’s drawing this picture on the table where I’m sitting wearing brown socks, long underwear, and a hospital gown. I wish I was wearing clothes for this.”
Then he drew some little spots on the brain, and those indicated the lesions that he’d seen on my MRI results. My brain went completely blank for a minute. I only remember thinking that I should be asking questions, but I couldn’t come up with any.
The doctor seemed uncomfortable delivering the news. So as we were sitting there (me in my brown socks on the table), he kept doodling those little spots, but now they weren’t in the brain drawing anymore. They were sort of loosely floating around the brain. And again, a part of me was overwhelmed by what I was finding out. But the inappropriately detached part was thinking, “He’s making it look like a bunch of lesions are chasing my brain around. Or like I’m trailed by a cloud of MS wherever I go. That’s way worse.”
Two minutes later, I was on my side, hugging my knees, with a needle in my back, and that was that. The whole conversation, including somewhat creepy illustrations, lasted under five minutes. He meant well, but I haven’t continued to see that neurologist. I do wonder if his drawing is in my chart somewhere.
At any rate, that was the start of things.
To Christina, who commented yesterday: good luck. Take it step by step — the good, the bad and the weird — and know that whatever happens, it doesn’t change who you are.