This story has been submitted by a young lady suffering from multiple sclerosis.
I returned back to work as soon as I felt the world came back into my focus. The past seemed very pleasant whereas the future was bringing with it all the grim realities and woeful aspects of life. Following numerous painful visits and investigations, I was finally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I recalled the endless days I spent with new symptoms that could every time fit into some other diagnosis.
I suffered a series of appointments with unintelligent doctors who could comprehend my neurological illness as if I possessed some dissociative disorder. It was hard for me to translate my moods and experiences into the symptoms identified in medical dictionary. Death, in general, is a primal fear of human species. For me, the primal fear which permeated deep down my spine was when I pictured myself with a progressive debilitating disease.
It all started a few months ago when I was living an otherwise healthy life. I was enjoying an evening walk when suddenly, I had a feeling as if everything started moving around me. The edges around street light began to separate. The world turned blur and dimmer and finally, I could feel pressure on my eyeballs as if they would burst out. In a moment, I had no idea what happened before and what was coming later. After my visit to an Eye specialist, I came to know that I had optic neuritis, which is a fairly common presentation of Multiple Sclerosis. The exact cause of MS is unknown but it is believed that our own immune system attacks the protective Myelin sheath of neurons. The patients with MS have different clinical courses. I came to know that fortunately, I was suffering from a good kind: the relapsing-remitting pattern.
Among all the series of investigations I had been through, like blood tests, lumbar puncture, etc. I could only forgive the pain of MRI, for the MRI films were courteous enough to unfold the exact story inside me. My neurologist casually announced that my brain showed multiple scarring and that I have to endure the burden of living with these scars. I came to know that there was no cure for MS. Up till now; there have been around 6 disease modifying drugs to prevent progression of the disease. Among them, Interferon beta is the only drug available from dependable source. But the side effects of drug are worse than disease itself. One can have flu-like symptoms, myalgia and depressive illness with long term use of interferons. There are no functional MS support programs or government run programs to alleviate this illness in Pakistan.
I knew that i couldn’t overcome every symptom but I had to prepare myself to live as a survivor. My energy used to dissipate quickly and it required intense effort to turn over in bed, climb stairs and hold my gaze, sometimes. Symptoms like weakness, fatigue, parasthesias, numbness and tingling sensations in limbs are hard to explain. After learning about MS, I passed from one sphere of reality to another, that is; living with MS. I have accepted that I have two shadows; MS and being woman. Both were not my own choices. So, I have casted my worries on Almighty Allah because I know that He is there to care for me. I put my pieces back together and decided to lower the resonance of body aches every time when I would wake up in morning. I welcomed people at my home in an even tempered way. I know I could not explain that how something that doesn’t bleed or doesn’t feel warm with fever can give crushing pain to a body. Many times I have encountered people saying, “I have heard something wrong happened to you but Gurya, you seem fine.”