Posts Tagged ‘MS’

My lizard brain wanted to keep him

But my pre-frontal cortex discovered something

But my pre-frontal cortex is quiet

As female pre-frontal cortexes should be

I knew early on that I could live without him

I knew a break up would suck

(unlike the vacuum cleaner he never ran)

But I was strong

And desirable

Until I was broken

Before the lizard got loud

I walked with confidence

Like I was the tallest person in the room

(and in those heels, I usually was)

Then, my foot dragged

And dragged

Until I could barely lift it

The Cole Haans went to the back of the closet

The loafers came out

One morning

The family wheelchair waited for me

At the bottom of the stairs

I descended the stairs

On my bum

Arms lifting and lowering

Until I got to the chair

That took me to the hospital

That turned the lizard’s volume up.


“No one will want you.

No one will take care of you.

You are damaged.

He’s all you have.”

He still wouldn’t run the vacuum.


The cortex told me I was strong

And desirable

And I would stand again

Break ups suck

Like the vacuum I learned to run

From a seated position


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I submitted this blog entry to AdjunctNation.com about twelve days ago and have yet to hear anything regarding its posting. So, I’m posting it here.


I had been dealing with intermittent blurry vision in my left eye for about two months. It wasn’t too annoying, and it usually went away after a few minutes. I was hoping it would continue to be a minor nuisance (or go away) until the end of the semester so I could properly deal with it without having to cancel any classes.


This was not to be.


Two weeks before the end of the semester, I was doing some grocery shopping. I came around the corner to see what yogurt was on sale and I lost complete vision in my eye. I couldn’t read the expiration dates on the yogurt. I moved to the checkout, hoping my vision would clear, as usual.


It did not. Driving home was interesting.


After hours of crying, my vision slowly cleared. I knew I couldn’t wait until the end of the semester to deal with this. I made an appointment with my neurologist and canceled my classes.


The sad thing is I was more worried about canceling my penultimate week of classes than I was about my vision. I had had an attack of optic neuritis before (I have MS), so I figured I would go on IV steroids and it would clear up and everything would be fine. I was, however, worried that I wouldn’t be hired back for canceling a week of class meetings at the end of the semester.


It wasn’t optic neuritis. It was (it is) Ohthoff’s Phenomenon (we think). Not only did the steroids not help, they made me nauseated, a side effect I’ve never had before (I’ve been on IV at least once a year since 2007). I spent four days in bed (not grading). The whole time, I was so worried about the security of my job, worried that I was failing the students, worried that I was inconveniencing everyone. The (very real) possibility of a blown vein barely crossed my mind.


The worry probably made me sicker than the steroids.


It turned out that my worries were unfounded, at least at one school. A colleague expressed her sympathy and just wanted me to get better. “Your students will understand,” she said. It concerns me, however, that I felt it was necessary to worry at all. I was having a legitimate medical emergency, after all. I wasn’t canceling classes for a girl’s weekend in Vegas. But the instability of the adjunct contract is so centered in my thinking that I will teach classes with strep throat rather than cancel (and that’s not hyperbole). I don’t want to appear undependable.  I don’t want to remind anyone that I am expendable.  I do, after all, need the money to pay for insurance so that I can go to a neuro-ophthalmologist to figure out why my peripheral vision is still blurry and if I will ever get better.


Good thing it’s summer; I won’t have to cancel classes for the appointment.



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When I was first diagnosed with MS, every health care professional warned me against the heat of summer. We happened to have a nice heat wave shortly after I was released from the hospital, and I reacted poorly. Of course, so did everyone else. But, the idea that heat and MS flair-ups were linked was fresh in my mind.

Fast forward five years. The Present.

I’ve had nearly five full winters to generate data points, and, much to my confusion, it turns out the cold agitates my MS more than the record-setting heat we had last summer. My arms and legs feel like they’ve recently been electrocuted. (Those of you who stuck things into outlets as children know this feeling; a strange ache that isn’t really pain, but it remembers pain. There’s not much that can be done about it.)

The ache in my arms makes typing this a bit awkward. So, I’m going to stop now.

See, I’m updating! 

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I Will Start This Blog. I Mean It!

Adventures in cranky essays and rhyming poetry from an unlikely single mom.