As I washed my face last night I noticed that my right pupil was smaller than my left – and realized that my shoulder must be almost healed. Let me explain –
I have Multiple Sclerosis, the auto-immune disease that is “personalized” – my body attacks and heals my nervous system connections in ways that are unique, but also typical, to ME. Many of my brain lesions are in my visual cortex – resulting in vertigo, nystagmus (jumpy eyeballs), a left eyelid that functions much slower than the right (proven by almost every photograph of me), and most recently the change in pupil size of my right eye. My original diagnosis in 2001 was a direct result of an eye exam – not of the bazillion tests run during a 5 day hospital stay caused by my first “neurological episode”. Over the years, my visual idiosyncrasies have become a valuable barometer of my MS activity – a way for me to actually SEE when my lesion activity is active or quiet.
I also have cognitive symptoms – or what I call “brain mud”- when I want to say a word or express a thought but simply cannot make it come out of my mouth – when I start to write something down and after three letters have no idea how to finish it – when I have no clue why I have taken ANOTHER coffee mug out of the cabinet while holding the one I was going to fill up.
And memory loss – let’s not even go there, because those connections are buried under layers of lesions. Before you think, “Oh, that happens when you get older” or “That happens to me too”, understand that all of these things have been verified by the location of the lesions seen in my brain MRIs. And yes, there are other symptoms that come out to play – actual physical manifestations of the nervous system attacks – but I’ve learned that they aren’t always reliable (the hand tremors may just be a result of too much caffeine and no breakfast).
I have discovered over the years that my MS is somewhat OCD – it likes to focus – and jump into overdrive when it finds a new place to “play”. Although it may seem counter intuitive, my typical symptoms calm down or even improve when there is ‘something else’ to focus one – a cold, physical stress, pregnancy or an injury. So, when I dislocated my shoulder and tore the hell out of my rotator cuff in the process – I enjoyed a respite from my ‘normal’ MS while it focused on healing the shoulder. Actually, OVER healing the shoulder – resulting in a frozen shoulder that required manipulation under anesthesia to “break it loose” and allow me to once again lift my arm up high enough to get out that second coffee mug.
Which brings me full circle.
Last night I saw the smaller right pupil.
Earlier this morning I got out the second mug.
Right now I am struggling to type this post – –
the shoulder must be getting better.