It’s been challenging as on any given day my body will rebel on me in some fashion. It’s been difficult to find balance between the disability that I was born with and the disability that I’m coming to know.
One of the symptoms I know and have lived with all my life is the hardening of my muscles. It’s very hard to walk through out the day due to the CP alone and the MS just makes it more difficult. It’s like the MS strengthens the CP somehow.
I can only walk for short distances now, whereas before I walked everywhere, knotted muscles be damned. The problem is that the muscles are angered more than ever before. They rage inside my body. When the leg muscles are done knitting themselves into rocks, the pain moves up to my back and shoulders-it is as if they are singing inside me, humming a tune that has nothing to do with comfort. It’s more like the angry buzz of bees.
The only thing that gives my body a little bit of relief from the CP and MS muscle spasms is a hot bath. I don’t have as many baths as I want to because there is always a price to them.
Getting in the bath is fine. I can relax with my book and let my muscles relax. It’s getting out that’s the problem. Doctors don’t know why heat or hot baths are a catalyst for symptoms but they are. And a hot bath brings all those symptoms to the surface.
When the MS hit in January, I experienced weeks of dizziness and vertigo. My legs were not my own. I could barely get out of bed and when I did, it was only for moments at a time to sit on the couch and then go back to bed again to make the room stop spinning.
Baths bring all that vertigo and dizziness back. Though it’s been gone for months now, it lies in wait, for every time I have a bath, it comes again. It passes eventually, but for a few moments, perhaps an hour or so, I am as I was.
My muscles are relaxed and are no longer singing their siren tune but my body is left weak and disoriented. Even if it is the only thing that eases my pain, a sensible person would ask me why I am bothering to take baths anymore?
MS took a lot from me in the beginning. I lost the power to speak properly for some time. The words just wouldn’t come out right and it felt like I was forcing them out through a blockage that would only let a few at a time pass through my lips. I also lost the ability to write for a week or more. The words were in my head, but I could not get my fingers to type the right keys. It was as if they had forgotten how.
Over the course of getting better, I’ve quit smoking, cut down on chocolate and junk food and drinking alcohol on a regular basis. I also changed my eating habits, am taking vitamins and being careful with what I eat instead of being able to eat what I want.
One of my fondest joys is to take a bath and release the tension, helped a long by a good book. I guess my rationalization is that since there is so much I can’t do now, I want to revel in the things I can do, no matter what temporary discomfort it brings me.
For that half an hour of soaking, it is as if nothing has happened, I am as I was. It is only as I get out of the bath that I have to deal with how I am now.