Monday 12 October 2009


MS is a right barrel of laughs, I can tell you. One of the things that I'm discovering is that I never quite know what's going to happen next, or indeed what to make of it all. That's true for everyone else, of course, but at the moment my life seems to be a rollercoaster of minor surprises and little humps in the road: sleeping policemen on the highway of life, if you like.

I went out running as usual on Saturday morning. Nothing unusual in that, and since the training for the half marathon, I've been trying to make a bit of an effort to keep the mileage up on at least one of my weekly runs. More often than not, that longer run takes place on a Saturday lunchtime when time pressures are fewer. I had a bit of a lie-in as usual, gently sounded out the morning-after impact of a night spent at the Nottingham beer festival, and then headed out the door. It was a lovely day, and I actually quite enjoyed the 6.70 mile route I took out along the river, even though I ran it the wrong way around (is it just me who normally follows my normal running routes the same way around? It just feels wrong if I do them back-to-front...).

About a mile from home, I noticed that I was losing sensation in my bottom lip. In the context of the numbness I feel elsewhere in my body, it wasn't really anything too dramatic, and I wasn't too worried about it, but I felt it slowly increasing in its (lack of) intensity as I continued to head home. By the time I set foot through the front door, I had lost a good deal of the feeling in the lower part of my cheeks too: I felt a little like I was at the dentists and about to have a filling put in.

Over the course of the next few hours, feeling returned, but it does leave a lingering feeling of "what's next"?

The answer wasn't long in making itself known, and I found my usual Sunday swim hampered by a loss of power across my upper arms and shoulders. This isn't new, but it seems to come and go unpredictably, and naturally made my swim -- an exercise I do specifically to exercise those muscles -- rather more bothersome than usual.

And then this morning I woke up with a blurry eye. I've talked about this before, but a visit to my eye doctor last week has now shown that my eyes and their implanted lenses are extremely healthy and working very well. Under normal conditions, my vision is excellent - much better than average. This blurriness then, is something of a mystery. My optic nerve apparently looks good, but it now seems certain that this sporadic blurriness is being caused by old nerve damage. Something they don't tell you, it now seems, is that you can suffer neurological damage that you don't notice at the time, but which leaves permanent damage. This blurriness is a classic sign, apparently. It's not there all the time, and even when it is there, it's not too annoying... but given that it's never going to entirely go away, that's probably just as well. Actually, given the choice of a problem with my eye, my implants or a nerve problem, this is probably the easiest one to deal with as I have no choice but to get on with things. No intervention will make any difference, so I can just try to ignore it and move on. Hey ho.

I don't need to be told that, in the grand scheme of things, a weekend where I have been able to run, swim and attend a beer festival doesn't sound like one where I have been too greatly inconvenienced by my condition. And I haven't been. Trust me, I'm very much aware of that already; every painful run I go on is now precious to me in its own way simply because I can still run. But what's next? There's no way of knowing, and nothing anyone could do about it even if there was. I know that. There's nothing to be gained by worrying about what my future might, or might not, hold.....but...well, you have to wonder, don't you?

It's a right old barrel of laughs, this dear old surprise-a-minute, never-saw-that-one-coming condition of mine.

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