On this one month anniversary of my dead legs, when I could barely walk and scarcely feel anything, that short time ago that I am now trying to recall when the numbness had crept all the up my torso engulfing my feet, legs, thighs, pelvic region, chest, back, and had started to numb out my hands, on this one month anniversary of the worst it has yet been, I celebrated by finalizing my prescription for Copaxone. The drug is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Can I breathe easy now?
Everyone at the pharmacy has been very nice, even helpful to a fault, almost, insisting that I apply to have the $1,200 copay waived (did and done, thank god). I guess I am ready to have the nurse come to the house and train me on the injections; I'm not going to be less ready tomorrow. But the thing is, I cannot get over how quickly this all came on. I mean, I have known for years that I have MS, knew it when I crossed that first full marathon finish line back in 2011, and the last one in 2015. I knew it when I was delirious at Haulin Aspen when I ran through a 60 degree temperature change and gained 700 vertical foot elevation gain at nearly 90 degrees in 3 miles at the end of a trail marathon. Gah! I'll know it when I run Eugene this spring. I have talked to dozens of people who have had a range of symptoms of MS from numbness to paralysis to tumors--friggin tumors! But nothing could've prepared me for what I experienced last month. And now, here I am planning out which night to inject and how this will affect my training and whether or not I can still run the Hood to Coast 2017.
Really, what just happened?
On this one month anniversary of those dead legs, I took myself out for a run. I did pretty well, considering it was raining the entire time and I was telling myself I'd rather be <insert some form of sloth here>. I have a pretty good excuse for doing <insert some form of sloth here> instead of going for a run on the best of days. And yet, there I was, constant rain, not letting up, legs pumping me along, also not letting up. And I had this sense of gratitude. No, I had this sense of awe. See, if I can do this when I should be-- or even could be-- doing <insert some form of sloth here>, then I can do whatever I want. And so can the doctors that are working on this crazy disease and its cure. And so can the caretakers that are helping people like me. And so can those with MS just like me who are instead snowboarding or surfing or building houses or wheelchair rugbying. And even if they are <insert some form of sloth here>, that's okay too. We can do whatever we want. Even slothful, beautiful nothing. Even running marathons.
See, it's not just the one month anniversary of my dead legs, which are not currently dead but pulled a 10:16 pace today. It's also the eve of MS Awareness Month. So, break out the orange. Time to change your ideas and attitudes about MS. Time to change mine too. A lot can happen in a short amount of time.
Here's me on that rainy run today. Surprised? I am/was/am.