How I lost my leg

The other day I lost my leg.  I didn’t really lose it, not like I lose my keys, my weekends, or you know, ummm words.

But for all intents and purposes I lost my left leg.  It was there, I could see it, I could touch it but it didn’t want to do what I was telling it.  There is a medical term (which I could never spell or say) for what happened but I like to call it Drop Foot.

My life was going great and I thought I had my MS under control BUT I can tell you the exact moment it happened.  I was lying on the side of the Waimakariri River, after teaching my 5 year old son and a Japanese exchange student how to skim stones.  Just a normal Saturday afternoon really.

Filled with pride, as I watched my son try and try again to skim the stones, standing up to carry the picnic basket back to the car was a very harsh reminder of how cruel MS can be.  My left foot just didn’t want to lift over the stones properly.  This was new and I didn’t like it very much.

Two days and quite a few “Oh I’ve just got a sore leg” comments, to those around me, later I decided it was time to go to the Dr.

His parting words that day will stick with me for the rest of my life “Sorry Glenn, but it’s just part of your disability”.  That and the fact that the words had me in tears for most of the drive home.

“I’m not disabled, I mean – I’m a red head but pretty sure that doesn’t count” and other such thoughts were crashing around in my brain.  But the main thought was “How am I going to kick a ball around the lawn with my son.”

You can imagine the relief when, two days later the Neurologist told me that after a burst of steroids he could see no reason why my leg wouldn’t return to pretty much normal.  Next time it may not, but this time, thankfully, it did.

If you’ve never been on a big dose of Steroids, be glad!  It is hard on you, and those around you.  Very hard!  For a few days I felt like a Neon light bulb, buzzing away all day and night.  Then the steroids started to wear off, and it felt like I had a football inside my guts being slowly pumped full of air.  Oh Dear Lord, that side of the steroids is the worst.  If my Dr ever suggests sleeping pills and something for my stomach again I am going to tell my pride to go play in the traffic – and take them.

That and the fact I would prefer to stay married!

For me this has been a very harsh lesson and this is what I have learned.

  • Yes I really do have a disabling disease.
  • Support can come from the most surprising sources
  • Automatic cars are good
  • The battle is fought both Physically and Mentally
  • And most of all there is one thought that held me together through all of this – “It’s what I must do to be able to kick a ball with my son”.

It took a week but I found my leg and my focus point if I ever need it again.

Written September 2014

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