Friday, May 20, 2005


Since I developed multiple sclerosis about 12 years ago, my wife has encourage me from time to time to keep a journal of how I've been feeling. The idea is that it would help me to keep track of emerging and abateing symptoms, which is sort of a hallmark of MS. I've moved around a lot since my diagnosis, meaning lots of new neurologists and other health professionals. At the first visit to a new doc, I'm always asked to give a little oral history of my illness, and it's gotten difficult to remember exactly when it was that I started to experience a symptom. When was it that I first had trouble walking, trouble remembering, trouble peeing, etc.?

I really wasn't interested in sitting down with a moleskine on a daily basis to record a clinical description of how things were going. I'm hoping a blog will be fun substitute. Here we go.

The most recent reminder of the usefulness of keeping track of MS-related stuff isn't a change to a new doc. Instead, it's a new symptom. I think my gut is on the fritz. I can't go number two. Now, I swear this blog won't turn into a BM chart, but this issue is a good example of my changing relationship to my body. Increasingly, I think about my body less as "me" and more as a vehicle that shuttles "me" around. I put up with the oogey indignities of life with MS the way you might tolerate the squeeks and rattles from your '82 Accord. MS probably isn't unique among other chronic illnesses in this respect.

Ten years ago, before MS permeated my daily life, I would have been seriously embarassed if I'd had to call a nurse and talk about when I last went number two. But I think the worse my MS gets, the less this stuff seems to matter. Even though it's come at a pretty hefty cost, that process has been one of the positive things of this disease for me. That's one of the things I want to poke at in this blog.

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