Am I Progressing?

This week Fergal Hughes wonders about what the future holds for him in terms of his MS ... and realises that he is more concerned with 'here and now'

I was diagnosed in January 1996.

The diagnosing doctor told me that he believed my type of MS to be remitting/relapsing (RRMS) and what that would more than likely entail for me.

I remember in the days  following my diagnosis I bought  every book on the topic of MS that I could find in town. I then went home and promptly threw them all under the bed!

Looking back, I think I was just trying to make sure that I at least physically ‘possessed’ as much knowledge as I could (I guess I was trying to get a sense of ownership over this unexpected addition to my life). But then I simultaneously created my own little ‘Pandora’s Box’ in my room, never to be opened for fear of what it might contain.

Coincidentally, my MS went into remission at that exact time, allowing me to develop a healthy denial about it.

[Aside: If I remember correctly, I think I never actually read those books. Ever.

In 1998, two years after the start of my remission, MS returned with one hell of a relapse, going so far as to give me a permanent limp in my right leg.

Now, in 2018, I can say that I believe I’ve learned that attitude can be at least just as important as knowledge. In my opinion, there really is a lot to be said for that old chestnut, Positive Mental Attitude.

Over 20 years since my diagnosis, I’ve developed two new conditions, both neuralgias and both facial/cranial extreme nerve pains. One is called Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) and the other is Cluster Headaches (CH).

Nobody told me beforehand that I was going to develop these. There was no medical prognosis, best guesses, psychics, witch doctors, NOTHING . I just suddenly acquired the conditions and I had to quickly learn how to deal with them.

And I’m still learning how to deal with them.

Again looking back, a doctor or neurosurgeon or whoever, might have hinted TN and CH might be on the cards but personally, I reckon that that would have been a potential disaster. I say this considering the proven effect that fear and stress can have on a newly diagnosed person with MS. 

At the end of the day, there’s only so much one can do about the future. Right now the most important thing for me is dealing with the here and now.