Saturday, December 30, 2006

Almost Happy New Year's!

Another benefit of having a care partner is that if, for whatever reason, my shot hurts some weeks, I won't flinch with a needle in my hand. Don't know why, but yesterday's shot, although it went very smoothly and Audrie did a great job, was pretty painful. I guess I picked a spot right on top of a nerve or something. All of our cats have demonstrated an uncanny ability to find a recent injection site and walk right on it. The grey cat proved her insight yesterday and this morning, repeatedly.

Side effects were in line with the usual today. I went over to a friend's for a few hours and spent some low-key time playing Dungeons and Dragons, for what I expect is the last time for at least a few months. It's now four days until the baby is due. We found out that I probably had MS four days after we found out Audrie was pregnant, so it feels like some kind of symmetric milestone. It's been quite a journey so far, but mostly a good one. I look forward to the many new experiences that await me in the coming year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A crowd of thoughts

Here's another great photo from Flickr. Our camera's packed to go to the hospital (baby's due in 12 days!), so I'm especially glad of other peoples' pictures right now!

I've had a ton of thoughts the last few weeks that I haven't had time to catch here on the blog. Like the proverbial fish, I'm sure they are grander in my imagination than they would have been if concretely realized, but I still regret not posting them. It's helpful to come back and look at my own thoughts after enough time has passed that they seem like someone else's.

Even though I do not recommend that you get MS, I believe that in my case, the last few months have helped me prepare for my son's arrival. By shaking me loose from my assumptions about my life, my diagnosis has given me a broader perspective. I think I'm more flexible now than I was this time last year. I feel gentler, and more ready to engage with this new person who's coming.

Last Saturday, we got up early (for a Stephan post-shot day) and went to a 6-hour birthing class that started at 9 AM. For the first couple of hours, I was in enough of an altered state to feel kind of distracted and spacey, but I was still able to pay attention to the class. Then I took some Tylenol and my side effects basically disappeared; the rest of the day felt almost like any other day.

I noticed at last week's shot that I could feel a deep muscle in my leg tensing up. The surface muscles are pretty well under my conscious control (although they still tighten up right before the injection), but this was a muscle that I never normally feel. I hope to gain a better and better awareness of my own structure, and eventually to be able to feel and relax those deeper muscles. I say "deep", but it's still only an inch under the skin. And you know what? I don't need to get accustomed to needles that are any longer than that. I'll be perfectly satisfied with an awareness limited to one and a quarter inches into the top of my thigh, thank you!

I made a point of conditioning a relaxation response this last week. Whenever I thought of it, I would imagine myself doing my injection on Friday night, and I would imagine being relaxed. I hope to make my first reaction to the sight of a needle one of relaxation, not one of tension. Tonight was promising; I'll keep it up and let you know how it goes.

Our family has been giving charitable donations as gifts lately. Last year at Christmas, we gave each other gifts of donations to Heifer International, domestic abuse shelters, education funds, and that sort of thing. Each year, I imagine that our family's focus will change a little—for example, this year we gave a little more to breast cancer research and wildlife causes—but the main point remains. I'm trying to decide what to ask Audrie for. (She wants a donation to Hawkwatch.) One obvious choice for me is a donation to MS research; but when I think about all the other people with MS, and I think about my own uncertain future, I feel very sad. I might not be quite ready for that gift yet. This year, I'll probably ask for something happier.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Two For One!

Mysteriously, the little control that lets me upload photos so nicely has disappeared today. Oh well: welcome to today's superchic retro-tastic TEXT ONLY blog posting!

"Why no post last week?" I hear you ask. Well, I'll tell ya. I've been busy most evenings painting the laundry room. It's been fun to enjoy using my body to do good work. MS or no, at some point in our lives, we lose the faculties of our bodies (remember, if you've been raised from the dead as a zombie, it's not really *your* body any more). Each chance I get to feel the stretch of my limbs and make something with my hands is a priceless gift.

I got to share last week's shot with my two brothers. I was hoping to show them how easy it has become, but managed to hit a blood vessel of some sort and leaked a lot more than usual of my red gold, vampire tea; blood, that is. Not enough to make anyone faint, but enough to give the lie to my implicit message that these injections are no different from taking a pill. My Avonex side effects were also pretty solid last week, though still much reduced from the first month!

As you might expect, with no one but my lovely wife watching, last night's shot produced not even a single drop of blood, and today's side effects are pretty much the lamest ever. I guess the Spirit of Flu-Like Symptoms is too busy this time of year visiting people who actually HAVE the flu to get around to my house every week. Not that I feel rejected, mind you. If it doesn't want to call, that's fine. No sweat off my teeth. Nope. I'm actually happier this way. Really.