The doctor held a metal instrument against my ankle. “Can you feel this?” It vibrated. I nodded. He moved it to my big toe. “How about this?”
“Um … no …” Did he shut the thing off? Across the room, I gave Curt a questioning look.
Is this guy messing with me?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the doctor. It was MS.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that breaks down the protective covering surrounding the nerves. Basically, this makes it difficult for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. My brain sends out signals, but those messages get disrupted.
So, I have a communication problem between my brain and my body. No wonder I feel like my body is short-circuiting sometimes! MS affects different people in different ways. One of the main ways it affects me is my balance and coordination.
Balance is also something I can’t take for granted. One time my doctor asked me to close my eyes and say which direction he was moving my big toe. I couldn’t tell, so I took a wild guess. I guessed wrong.
Again, it’s a communication problem. Somewhere between my brain and big toe, the message gets lost.
Another issue I have with walking involves spasticity. When my doctor first used the term, I thought he was insulting me. (Remember junior high? “Oh, he’s such a ‘spaz.’) It’s not a flattering word. But spasticity is a real problem.
I first noticed it while walking on a cold winter day. My right leg tensed up. I couldn’t walk normally. My muscles felt stiff. Tight. Painful. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t walk without limping. Turns out, my leg was having involuntary muscle spasms. It happens – especially in cold temperatures.
On a positive note, MS has done one thing for me. It has forced me to ponder the amazing design of the human body. The incredibly creative and miraculously complex way my brain sends billions of messages to control every move I make … every breath I take … (I know. Sounds like a song from the eighties) Anyway, it is amazing the way the brain controls every part of the body – all the way down to the flicker of an eyelid.
I can’t wrap my head around it.
And so, I am reminded of all the miraculous things my body can do. Like breathing – without even thinking about it. And seeing this big ‘ol colorful world around me and smelling the fresh-cut grass and taking walks with my husband. And making and delivering beautiful babies. And smiling and laughing and reading and typing. And lifting my hands to praise God and thanking Him for all of it.
Even if I do limp a little.