Friday, March 21, 2008

Hormone in Pregnant Women May Help Fight Multiple Sclerosis ( or maybe NOT!)

I came across this article today about Estriol, the hormone produced by pregnant women that is being investigated as a treatment for multiple sclerosis due to it's protective attributes toward myelin.

Dr. Barbara Giesser at UCLA Medical Center says, 'Women with M.S. tend to have less relapses and generally do well while they're pregnant.'

Color me skeptical, but my very first symptoms came on during the 5th month or so of my last pregnancy. My stomach itched and tingled with pins and needles from mid-line front to mid-line back on the right side only. This lasted several weeks with the itching going away, and being replaced by numbness.

My wonderful (said in a dripping, sarcastic tone) obstetrician's opinion was that I probably had shingles and he just shrugged it off and said nothing more. Come to find out, had it BEEN shingles, it could have been a very serious matter for the baby. It wasn't shingles as I never had any kind of a rash, just the sensory symptoms.

Nothing more was ever said or done about this mysterious bout of "shingles" and I went on to forget it ever even occurred until many months later...after my official MS diagnosis. And now, 9 years later, I can look back and say for certain that it was my very first relapse. It was a classic example of how all my relapses go. I start out with a deep, insatiable itching that can't be touched by scratching skin. I'm guessing this is because it's the nerve itself that is itching as it's being attacked. Then, the numbness and tingling comes, followed by either more numbness, or weakness, or a combination of both with a pinch of spasticity thrown in for good measure.

So, I could play the "what if" game all day when it comes to why my MS decided to descend upon me during my most difficult of pregnancies. Maybe it would never have MS would never have made itself known...if I hadn't gotten pregnant. Who knows? One thing is for certain -- I'd never trade my 9-year-old son for being MS free!

But I don't care what the new studies show, I'm not an Estriol fan. After all, it didn't seem to protect me during my pregnancy. But then maybe I'm just weird like that. Or maybe I don't really have MS...(yeah, that's a thought...) Well, gotta go, the Denial Express is about to leave the station and I'm hopping on for another round trip (I'll be back as soon as I give up thinking this might not be MS; short trip).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I am the bird.

What makes up a person in their entirety?

It's not just the shell of flesh and bone
all wired together by nerves.

I know this because inside me there is a bird.

It wants to get out and fly.

It wants to soar above pain and worry.

Above the frustrations and limitations.

Inside there is boundless joy and passion.

There is a spirit that knows no boundaries.

MS might rob my flesh and bones of
the nerves that wire it all together,
but it will never touch my bird.

She sits inside and dreams
of soaring high above the clouds
where the sun always shines
and she can be free.

When I close my eyes, I am the bird.

When I am the bird,
together we flee my bodily cage
and leave MS behind.

The bird and I soar the heavens in peace.

There's more to me than my flesh and bones.

MS can't take that from me.