Wow... it has been a while (at least it feels like a long time) since I've had the strength to sit in the chair I'm sitting in at the moment, and take the time to share some thoughts here.
I was on the road a lot yesterday. I took a friend to This City to help him in clearing up some business, and then together we rode to That Other City to pick up a new herbal formula for myself.
Those of you non-Los Angeleans need to understand just how big/sprawled it is out here. The city of Los Angeles is the size of the state of Rhode Island, the county of Los Angeles is the size of the state of Connecticut. LA is big. Fortunately I didn't need to travel completely end-to-end through the county, but it was Quite. A. Trip.
Tiring. Hurtful tiring. But I made it. And the new herbal formula was worth the trip... it is doing a very nice job of getting rid of the pointless pain ("achey" rather than stabbing, fortunately) and also a good job of helping to keep the emotional/spiritual darkness from encroaching. Which, alas, it has been doing too much of, lately.
One of my physical therapists (nice lady, plus she has The Disease too) has been encouraging me to go for the Mega-Cortisone Path. 1,000mg per day, for several days, often between 3 and 5. Plus "taper off" time, taking less for a few days afterwards. Nowadays, it seems that it's quite common to do it via IV (no hospitalization required, somebody comes to your house, hooks you up for 20 minutes or so, comes back the next day and repeats), but one of my caregivers who's frighteningly good at research tells me that there is no difference--or as he expressed it, with eyebrows raised, "NO difference," between IV-administered and orally-administered megadoses of steroids. 'Course, the downside of "oral" is the number of pills you gotta chug; if you assume for the sake of argument that your typical steroid pill is 5mg, you gotta down 200 of them to put down 1,000mg. What and how many pills I'd have to down, I haven't researched yet.
But Caregiver One says that well, you're progressive so we know you have inflammation, cortisone (in those doses) eradicates inflammation, it's worth thinking about because your quality of life seems to be fading rapidly as well, and maybe getting rid of the inflammation might halt that progressive withering too? Caregiver Two (the one who said there was NO difference between IV and oral administration, so don't be scared of the IV stuff) said that it'll probably cooperate well with the treatments he's giving me, he doesn't think it'll turn sour Big Time, so it's worth considering...
I'm rolling the dice one last time with a very specific herbal treatment; after just a dose or two it feels very good to me, but your milage may vary, your caregivers have their own favorite methodology which may or may not (I'm guessing "not") embrace the sort of stuff that I do, but I'm sure a lot of us know about it by many names anyway, so I'll just leave it there for now. In short, what I'm doing now makes me feel (at least a little) better and doesn't make me feel worse, at all, so I'm inclined to let it ride for a little while and see if a Big Change comes about. And that my various caregivers can actually detect whether the "helping me" that I'm starting to feel is helping me enough, before I give in and go to the Nuclear Option with corticosteroids.
So, where's the "gift" in all this, it's quite fair to ask? Coming fully to terms with, confronting, issues that are so unpleasant (or that I assume will be "so unpleasant," and I'm talking about you, Nuclear Corticosteroid Option) but that are going to be waiting for me to deal with them whether I want to or not. And to add insult to injury (quite literally, actually), I'm still discovering some "oh crap, I thought I was done with dealing with that" emotional-baggage issues that, Disease-related or not, are still very much weighing me down.
And as someone whose air-quotes "walking" is degrading, "pointless painful baggage" is something that I do NOT need weighing me down. Carrying a bag of groceries up a flight of three steps is hard enough, I don't need "life crap" to carry too.
Oh my... I just realized that this emotional baggage is... inflammation. Which needs to be eradicated.
If it were only as easy as chugging a gram's worth of hormones.
Well, actually it is easy. Easier, even.
Just let it go.
And why is that so hard? Frankly, between you and me and everybody, I'd have loved to have discovered that particular "how to let go" lesson without the HUGE-air-quotes "assistance" of multiple sclerosis.
But I do have the "assistance" of MS. Which, I'd like to be sure, comes complete with a lesson that once learned will cut that emotional baggage loose. I can maybe intellectually create some scaffolding to undergird some pseudo-understanding, but the head is not where the connection needs to be made, because the head is not carrying the weight. It's something internal... Whatever is. the Internal Thing is carrying the weight, the Internal Thing needs to learn the lesson, and the Internal Thing is what needs to let go. Trying to out-think The Internal Thing ain't gonna fix it.
So, I can't explain it to you. Or to me. "Explaining" won't help. I have to come to terms with it inside. I have to feel it.
All of which is very much the path of Dealing With The Disease, isn't it? So I should already be quite familiar with what I need to do, right?
Yeah.... .... .... .... .... ....