With everything going on this week in the world I've neglected my usual MS awareness week posts and opted for more upbeat topics like Irish recipes...however the Irish guilt crept in the morning! So this year I am doing an awareness post...but just one post!Last year interviewed by a very precocious 12 year old for her class project and she asked, "if there was one thing you wanted people to know about MS what would that be?"Good question! I think it would be that there is no one version of MS. (This may also be the thing about MS that really is the most frustrating!) Just because you have a relative that was diagnosed with MS and "she ended up in a wheel chair after only a year" or "once in awhile she has to take it easy but she is still working part-time" or even "heck she was diagnosed three years ago but she still teaches aerobics three times a week." Those are all faces of MS.
On the National MS Society website this is how they describe MS symptoms:
"Symptoms of MS are unpredictable, vary from person to person, and from time to time in the same person. For example: One person may experience abnormal fatigue and episodes of numbness and tingling. Another could have loss of balance and muscle coordination making walking difficult. Still another could have slurred speech, tremors, stiffness, and bladder problems. Sometimes major symptoms disappear completely, and the person regains lost function. In severe MS, people have symptoms on a permanent basis..."
There is very little predictability and if you have even a hint of Type A personality that can really drive you crazy. (Or it can drive you to change...is there such a thing as an A- personality?) Perhaps it has just helped me focus and/or pick my "battles." (For instance I have started the Sprigs and Stars Quilt by Kim McLean but I drew the line on the borders - a wide fun border with printed vines and flowers will substitute for appliqued vines and hundreds of leaves....)
On the other hand the lack of predictability makes planning difficult. For instance I have been planning all year (no make that many years!) to take the exam for AQS quilt appraiser certification this April. I had an episode last month that has left me with fatigue and word choice issues that just aren't resolving themselves as quickly as in the past. So I arranged to go to Paducah a day early (Tuesday) which may help me rest up after the drive however I am still worried. The written exam is from 6-8 pm on Wednesday (which is 7-9 on my east-coast-body time.) That is about the time I wind down even on a good day... Yes there are drugs I can take to help with it (Ritalin or Provigil) however I can only take them for a limited amount of time without suffering a "backlash." (And just my luck they'll start drug testing for quilting competitions!) My oral exam is scheduled for Saturday at 2:00...for a person with MS that is the equivalent of a marathon week!
So my challenge for the exam is not going to be can I identify the type of quilt, date the quilt, have I looked at enough quilt sales data...it will be will my hand hold the pen, can I write legibly, can I stay awake, and can I speak clearly....and until the day arrives I just can't predict the answer to those questions.