In the summer of 2005, one of the first symptoms of MS that I experienced was numbness. It started with a numb hand, but over the course of a few weeks, slowly spread around my body. As you might imagine, this was a fairly strange experience. Perhaps the weirdest part of it was when I tried to go running: it's a very disconcerting sensation to be running along when you can't properly feel the muscles in your thighs or feel the ground beneath your feet. For a while, I was convinced that this was going to mean that I jarred my leg so badly by missing a step that it would break. I didn't stop running though, and over time, my brain just learned to tune out the weirdness and not being able to feel my muscles as I ran became my new normal. So much so, in fact, that I barely think about it at all.
Yesterday, I went out running as usual with my running club. It was a pretty humid night, but I've been working hard to try and shake off the marathon and to get myself back up to what I would call a decent speed. I managed 4.25 miles at a pace of a shade under 8 minutes / mile and was well pleased.
Somewhere along the way, I had a bit of an itch in my left leg. Without looking, and without stopping, I had a quick scratch and carried on. As ever, it felt a little bit weird to have the sensation in my fingers and the sensation in my thigh feel so different as I scratched, but that's normal so I didn't think any more of it until I stopped and saw what I'd done to my thigh.
(and please don't worry: I am wearing shorts in that picture. I'd hate you to have nightmares.)
No real damage done, and the real story here is how I can still run at that sort of pace, but all the same, it's just another little reminder of the damage that MS continues to do to my body.
5 days ago