If you love me, keep my commands.And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. John 14:15-17 (NIV)
I try not to be a whiner on this blog. It is supposed to be encouraging and uplifting. It seems like lately, all I have written about is my battle with M.S. So, if you are over it (like I am), I apologize for another MS related post. But, I promise, it has a happy ending so bear with me. M.S. is a very individualized disease. No two patients are alike. Some people suffer from weakness in their legs. Others from memory loss. Still others endure tremors, eye pain or blindness, lack of balance, headaches, numbness in extremities, sensitivity to cold, heat or light, digestion or swallowing difficulties, speech disorders, depression or anxiety. Don’t read the websites when you are newly diagnosed. It is a crap shoot which ones will emerge in a person with MS. One of the symptoms I have is facial pain or trigeminal neuralgia. It comes on at random times, but always starts with tingling around my mouth and progresses to my cheek and eye. Only on the right side of my face. Lately, it has progressed from the numbness and tingling to pain, like my face is on fire. When it first started almost eighteen months ago, it was before my diagnosis. I made the mistake of looking it up on the Internet where it was nicknamed, “The Suicide Disease”. Great. It seems that some people have such terrible pain that is uncontrollable that they consider suicide to be rid of it. Many of the websites are quick to explain that with modern medicine it is controllable. So, why even share that nickname, then? Just saying. So, anyway, my trigeminal neuralgia has gotten much worse in the last few months. I don’t notice it during the day if I stay busy (except for the eye twitching, now that drives me bonkers), but at night, when I first go to bed with nothing to occupy my mind, it seems worse. A few months ago, my doctor prescribed a medication for nerve pain in my legs. However, I prefer to push through things like that without medication so just kept going until the nerve pain dissipated. That’s the sneaky thing about M.S. It throws random symptoms at you that may get worse or may disappear completely. Did I mention randomly? Another thing that makes me bonkers. So, the pill bottle stayed in the bathroom (I know, I know. You are not supposed to store medicine in the bathroom) until this week when I had an ah ha moment and figured out that a medicine for nerve pain would not differentiate between my legs and my face. The medicine has a lot of side effects (thank you again Mr. Internet), but I thought if I only took it one time a day instead of three times a day as prescribed I might avoid those. I called my doctor to confirm and he gave me permission to cut the dosage and only take it at bedtime. I started last night. And I feel LIKE A BRAND NEW WOMAN. Or maybe like the old woman I was before M.S. snuck up on me (randomly), but I can’t remember it was so long ago. I feel rested, alert and ready to face the day unlike the foggy, emotional, tired woman I have been since the pain kept me up at night and sleep was restless and interrupted. What’s the point of this post besides whining? So many times, we have right in our hands the key to handling life but we are afraid to use it. We want to be big and brave and in control. We can do this on our own. But, when we surrender and admit that we need help, we find relief. And it does not always come in pill form. How many times have I told God, “I can do this on my own”? How many times have I made decisions without taking into account His desires and plan or His words of warning? If there is one thing M.S. is teaching me, it is that surrender is often the fastest way to relief. That applies spiritually as well as physically.