Early Days – 6/18

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I write posts about my life and my disease which is multiple sclerosis. I used to put them on e-zines but I stopped writing three or so years ago. I’d had some disappointments in life and I just didn’t feel like sharing anymore with anyone.

I started this blog first part of May 2018 and I began writing again. I think I have something to tell people with multiple sclerosis. I think my writing also helps newly diagnosed people so they understand what can possibly happen to them. I also have to admit that it’s cathartic for me to write about my health.

I was diagnosed with MS in July of 1991. Now that I know the symptoms of MS I can date it back to at least 1971 when I was 13. In ’71 I first noticed that heat bothered me. Heat of any kind can be a problem and a symptom for MS. Personally, I don’t like hot and humid weather, saunas and hot tubs are a no no for me. I don’t like hot showers and I try to dress lightweight and cool.

In 1971 I would practice baseball in my backyard. Once outside I would throw a tennis ball against a wooden board. The board was angled so the tennis ball would bounce back to me in the air. To practice ground balls I would throw the tennis ball against the bottom 1/3 of our house which was cement block. I would throw the ball lower and it would come back to me like a ground ball to an infielder.

On hot summer days I might spend 1/2 hour to an hour in the backyard playing ball. I ultimately would come in because it was too hot! That was 47 years ago and I still remember that it would feel like a sauna in my backyard! We didn’t have central air or an air conditioner so I would head to our basement which was very cool. Early sign of MS? No one knows for sure.

It’s amazing the things we remember when we get older! In 1975 I was 17. I wouldn’t turn 18 until March of ’76. I wanted to be tanned and look good for my senior year in high school. It was always hot and sunny in our backyard so I decided to lay in the sun out there. Out in the backyard I would bake myself to a golden brown.

To get my tan I would make myself stay out in the backyard for at least an hour everyday. Now, after 43 years I can still remember the odd feelings I would have when I went back inside the house. I’d feel tired, lightheaded, woozy and want to lay down. I can actually remember those feelings even today!

I also remember in 1976 at junior college one specific time when my body was doing something I thought was really strange. I might have had other MS symptoms at the time but this one really stood out. For one whole week I was running to the restrooms after each class to urinate. And I mean running!

In ’76 I was 18 and legal to drink alcohol. I thought all the urinating at JC was just the result of drinking too much beer the night before. However, I do remember saying this on one of my trips to the toilet, “I wonder if I could have diabetes?” Now, I didn’t know anything about diabetes but I’d heard or read somewhere that people with diabetes urinate alot.

It’s difficult to determine if my urinating problems that week at junior college were MS or something else? Looking back now I think it probably was an early sign of my MS but I didn’t know MS from brain surgery! I was enjoying my new life as a college man.

Now that I know what I know it could have been an exacerbation that lasted just one week. In hindsight, three of my worst MS symptoms were around in the ’70’s. They were heat, fatigue and bladders problems. I was only in my teens when this was all happening and didn’t pay any attention to them.

I ask myself sometimes why I didn’t go to a doctor? The reason is who would go to a doctor for not liking hot weather, urinating a lot and often being tired. I wasn’t dying so you just blow those things off. A doctor would call you a hypochondriac!

My three symptoms were so infrequent that if they were symptoms of MS I didn’t bother with them. Who would think they had a major disease starting at the age of 17? Who would ever think Multiple Sclerosis as being the problem? I believe a crazy nut would think like that but my nuttiness wouldn’t come until later in my 40’s. lol

Scooterjon