Self-Indulgent Drivel

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Category: lists

Get Down With The Sickness

“Don’t borrow trouble” is something my mom says to me when I’m worrying about something I have no control over. It means that it’s silly to stress out about things before you know what you’re up against. I think it’s a pretty good idea, but it doesn’t always work.

At the beginning of summer this year, I started having weird symptoms. Some of them could be dismissed as symptoms of known or suspected illnesses, but all of them together seemed like something I should pay attention to.

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Strange visual disturbances (flashes of light)
  • Minor aphasia (words coming out jumbled or incorrect)
  • Minor ataxia (lack of coordination, especially in my right hand)
  • Confusion
  • Inattention/lack of focus
  • Short-term memory loss

This was in addition to the joint pain, headaches, stomach issues, and other assorted FUN! things I always have going on. The above symptoms were either new or worsened.

The extra-alarming thing about all these symptoms is that I’d experienced them back in early 2012. At the time I blamed them on the car accident I’d had in November of 2011, and my neurologist diagnosed me with Post-Concussion Syndrome.

PCS doesn’t reappear 3.5 years later. I have had no recent head trauma. So it’s gotta be something else, and it’s not a coincidence.

I’m still having that FUN! assortment of symptoms, but with some new, exciting ones too!

  • Shaky legs
  • Worsening lack of coordination in both hands
  • Dizziness
  • I’m spacey pretty much all the time
  • Petichiae (clusters of burst blood vessels under the skin)

Those who know me might think I’m something of a hypochondriac, but this isn’t true. I just happen to often be hyperaware of any weird things going on in my body because I have so much annoying shit wrong with me already. I might unnecessarily jump to conclusions, but I don’t diagnose myself off WebMD. I talk to real doctors, I research things, and I don’t “borrow trouble.”

…but I’ve had my suspicions on this one. And it’s because of The West Wing. Yes, the TV show that ran from 1999-2007. It’s a really great show, you should watch it.

Martin Sheen plays an idealized president. It’s unrealistic and wonderful. Anyway, fairly early into the show (maybe the beginning of season two?) we find out that President Bartlet has a chronic, incurable disease. It causes a bunch of crises and good TV drama. Yay.

It planted an idea in my head.

But I try not to borrow trouble.

I’m trying to get disability. I went and got evaluated by a doctor last week as part of that (long, arduous) process, and when I told him my symptoms, he asked…

“Have you ever been screened for multiple sclerosis?”

Nope.

But that’s what I’ve been thinking too.

I have an appointment with a neurologist in two weeks. I am not panicking, or not much. I am trying not to borrow trouble. But I’ve done a LOT of reading, and… damn. It sure sounds like MS. There are plenty of other things it could be. But none of them fit quite like MS does.

It could also be a brain tumor! I wouldn’t prefer a brain tumor.

It could not, however, be “nothing,” as someone recently suggested. This is not “nothing.” Trust me.  Something is wrong, and I have a feeling it’s going to change my life in ways I can’t yet predict.

I don’t know what’s wrong yet. I am trying not to panic. But every night I find myself researching MS, learning how it’s diagnosed and treated, wondering how it’ll affect my life, whether it’ll be mostly annoying or totally devastating. It manifests differently for everyone, it seems. Some are inconvenienced. Some are crippled.

I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep.

They’ll do blood tests, and probably an MRI, and probably a spinal tap. Those are to rule things out more than anything else, because there’s no definitive test for MS in a living patient. They can find indicators, but they can’t prove it. It’s just an educated guess. Which will probably involve a spinal tap. I am not looking forward to the spinal tap.

I’m not really looking for advice right now. Since I don’t know what I’m up against, I don’t know how to fight it yet. But I think I’m going to buy a day planner to keep track of my health, mood, level of activity, food intake, and other related things.

I also don’t really want to be told to keep my chin up. This is scary and I’m being as brave as I know how to be.

I’ll keep ya’ll posted as I find out more.

Love,

Kate

 

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Song lyrics in post titles:

Some of the more recent ones:

When you gonna love you as much as I do? is from Winter by Tori Amos

Some of them want to abuse you is from Sweet Dreams are Made of This by the Eurythmics

It’s almost everything I need Sullivan Street, Counting Crows

I’d rather leave than suffer this Monkeywrench, Foo Fighters

love is a hell you can not bear/give me mine back and then go there Sleep to Dream, Fiona Apple

Arrest this girl and i’ve given all i can, it’s not enough are from Karma Police by Radiohead

You might decide I’m a nut and give me a week or two to go absolutely cuckoo are from Absolutely Cuckoo

only something new Least Complicated, Indigo Girls

99 (er, 7) Problems

I WOULD NOW LIKE TO OUTLINE FOR YOU THE WAYS THAT MEN ARE OPPRESSED IN AMERICAN SOCIETY:

1. They often lose in child custody cases.

2. Sometimes they’re accused of rape, and they didn’t do it. I mean, sure, this hardly ever goddamned happens, but it HAS happened. And it’s totally as bad as rape, even though it’s less prevalent. Even though people who make false accusations are often fined and/or jailed. It’s oppression. Obvs.

3. Jock itch.

4. Not being able to cry at movies without being thought of as a sissy.

5. Sometimes, like, some bitch sabotages the birth control, right? And then the guy has to make these fucking payments for, like, 18 goddamned years. Oppression.

6. Women and children first off of sinking ships or whatever.

7. The Friend Zone. You know what I’m talking about.

How to fight the loneliness

I feel like crap today.  Here are some things  I do (and you can do!) to not feel quite so crappy.

  1. Make sure to keep eating, even if you don’t want to.  Even if it’s something small, make sure you put nutritious food in your belly.
  2. Get out of the house, even if it’s just to go to the store.
  3. If you think of something that might help, no matter how silly, try it.
  4. Find ways to distract yourself.  Books and music both help.  TV just numbs you, but maybe that’s what you need.  Try a book first.
  5. Remember that this too shall pass.  There have been good days, this just isn’t one of them.
  6. Don’t mope around with gross hair and dirty sweatpants.  Get ready for life, even if you don’t have anything planned.
  7. Do something indulgent.  Take a bath, take a walk, take a nap.  Treat yourself a little bit.
  8. Don’t sit around eating carton after carton of ice cream or whatever.  But feel free to eat a small bag of M&Ms or a reasonable portion of another treat.
  9. Get in touch with friends, just to say hello.
  10. Keep breathing.  Sometimes that’s all you can do.

Thirteen Albums

1. The National, “Boxer”
2. The Wrens, “Meadowlands”
3. Rachael Yamagata, “Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart”
4. Spoon, “Kill The Moonlight”
5. Arcade Fire, “Funeral”
6. Harvey Danger, “Cream and Bastards Rise”
7. The Killers, “Hot Fuss”
8. Modest Mouse, “Good News For People Who Love Bad News”
9. Muse, “Black Holes and Revelations”
10. Nada Surf, “Let Go”
11. The Strokes, “Is This It?”
12. Old ’97s, “Too Far To Care”
13. The Shins, “Chutes Too Narrow”

10 Books

Off the top of my head, not in order:

  1. L.A. Confidential
  2. The Lord of the Rings
  3. In Cold Blood
  4. She’s Come Undone
  5. Under the Banner of Heaven
  6. Small Gods
  7. Reaper Man
  8. Lamb
  9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  10. The Little Prince

How to end a relationship in an adult manner without causing anyone undue stress

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I got very drunk at his house
  2. I tried to fix another drink, which would have been my fourth very strong vodka & cran
  3. He tried to stop me from fixing another drink, which was in everyone’s best interest being that I was already plastered
  4. We fought over my glass
  5. The glass fell to the floor and broke
  6. I tried to clean up the shards, but I was drunk, so he wanted to do it himself
  7. He had to drag me, in a heap, out of the kitchen
  8. I put vodka directly into the bottle of cranberry juice before he could stop me
  9. I wandered to the bathroom and purposely cut my fingertip with a razor
  10. …and then smeared blood on his face like tribal paint and told him he was “a warrior now”
  11. For the first and last time in my life, drove home while very, very drunk

TA-DA!!!

Famous People I’ve Met

1. Brad Pitt. He was with Jennifer Aniston, but I didn’t speak to her. We had an eight word conversation about his hat in December, 2000. “Nice hat, Brad Pitt.” “Thank you very much.”

2. Robin Williams, March 1994. He was at the Exploratorium in SF with his kid. I was 12 and made an ass of myself.

3. Sarah Silverman (and kinda Jimmy Kimmell, but he was an asshole), 2005. She was at the Coach store. We talked for a few minutes, and she hugged me goodbye! She was super sweet.

4. Mary Lou Lord, musician, July 1999. She was busking on Newbury St. in Boston, and she let me sing a song in her microphone.

5. Rhett Miller, singer of the Old ’97s and solo artist, April 2003. He was opening for Tori Amos. He hugged me, too, but I had to ask for it. Which was fine. HE HUGGED ME.

6. Nando Parrado, survivor of the Andes flight disaster, June 2006. I interviewed him for the PSU Vanguard.