Shocking: Describing multiple sclerosis from A to Z
Multiple sclerosis can be difficult to describe, especially when a person encounters the MS MonSter firsthand. It’s alarming, befuddling, bewildering, confounding, disconcerting, distressing, dumbfounding, flabbergasting, jarring, jolting, offensive, prodigious, staggering, startling, striking, stupefying, surprising, unsettling, upsetting, and more. MS is shocking.
I’m not talking about the literal physical shocks of those dreaded electrically-charged evoked potentials tests, which myriad MSers endure (at least during the initial diagnostic process).
And, for the moment, I’m not describing the heightened startle reflex so many MS warriors experience. (Don’t believe me? Just make a sudden and loud noise around one of us, and see what happens. Wait. Don’t do it. That prank won’t end well.)
MS is simply shocking.
For lots of MSers, the initial diagnosis absolutely blindsides us. Sure, we may have experienced some weird and random-seeming symptoms in the past. Perhaps each of us has had some curious tingling, spasticity, or numbness in a limb or two, but it seemed to go away by itself. Maybe we’ve been through bouts of vertigo or inexplicable sudden and severe fatigue. If the troubles disappeared, we likely put them out of our minds and went on with our lives.
Everything seemed fine … till the day it wasn’t.
Tons of MS warriors point to a crazy ambush of sudden blindness (in one or both eyes) as the springboard for their diagnoses with multiple sclerosis. Hey, a loss of vision is something a person just cannot ignore.
That’s how I found out about MS. And it was shocking indeed.
Stepping back a bit, I think it’s fair to say that any diagnosis of a chronic (and yet uncurable) medical condition would be troubling, alarming, and shocking – even if it didn’t make the central nervous system intermittently go haywire.
Eventually, we move from recoiling in shock to learning to cope with the MS life. But each MS relapse or new symptom still feels somewhat shocking.
April A to Z Challenge 2016 logo – fair use
Adapted from public domain artwork