Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Can You Imagine?

Written for the MS Challenge walks as a story to encourage more people to walk and raise money.

Can You Imagine?

Have you ever had your leg fall asleep? Then you are familiar with that “pins and needles” feeling. It usually passes once circulation is restored to the leg. Now imagine having that “pins and needles” feeling in both legs constantly.

Have you ever had your picture taken and accidentally looked at the flashbulb as the flash went off? Then you are familiar with that “burned out” spot in your eyes. It usually clears up in a fairly short period of time. Now imagine having that burned out spot grow larger and larger until it covers your entire visual field. Then imagine that spot staying with you for months.

Have you ever stood up too quickly and felt dizzy, disoriented? Maybe the room spins? Then you are familiar with vertigo or lightheadedness. It usually passes within a few minutes. Now imagine having that vertigo all day and all night.

Have you ever over-exercised, maybe too much hard work in the garden or too many weekend-sports games, and felt shin splints or sore muscles the next day or two? Then you are familiar with the discomfort of really tight and sore muscles, or “spasticity.” It usually passes in a few days and is relieved with aspirin and BenGay. Now imagine having spasticity in your legs constantly regardless of your physical activity.

Have you ever pulled an “all-nighter,” maybe driving all night or staying up to watch a game that runs into triple overtime or to study for finals? Have you felt really tired the next day, a little weak and unable to think clearly and no amount of coffee with help you? Then you are familiar with fatigue. It usually passes after a day or two of catching up on sleep. Now imagine having that type of fatigue constantly.

Have you ever had a little too much to drink? Maybe had some parts of your body go numb? Maybe been a little dizzy? Maybe a little uncoordinated, tripping over things and not being able to hold you glass very well? Maybe your speech got slurred? Maybe you couldn’t see or think straight? It usually passes when you sober up. Now imagine being like that all the time, without the pleasure of a glass of wine.

If you can imagine all of these things, then you can imagine what it feels like to have just a few of the symptoms of MS. What I described are only some of the symptoms that I have experienced, and I have not experienced the worst that MS has to offer a victim. Can you imagine even worse symptoms?

Now, can you imagine a day when we won’t need to have this conversation? Can you imagine a day when there is cure for MS? Can you imagine a day when there is treatment to reverse the damage that MS has already done? I can. That’s what gives me hope. And I can’t imagine a life without hope.

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