Monday, February 23, 2009

My Beautiful Optic Nerve

I learned two things at OSU's MS clinic this morning:

1) My optic nerves are beautiful.

2) I almost certainly do not have multiple sclerosis.

I feel like my life was just handed back to me, in its entirety, fresh and new.

(Gratuitous daylily from last July's garden, just because I am so happy.)

As in Cleveland, I had a wonderful experience with the doctor at OSU. He was smart and kind. He had a great sense of humor. His wife studies the social history of medicine (which is my research field, too); I'd love to have dinner with both of them.

He spent an hour talking with me and performing a neurological exam that involved vibrating tuning forks and the Ministry of Silly Walks. All normal except that my reflexes are a bit exaggerated.

He looked at my brain MRI and told me that I also have a beautiful brain - and that my scan is normal. Normal. Those extra spots? A mystery of nature. He showed me pictures of brains afflicted with MS, and the difference was evident even to me.

I don't have to go back again unless I have a repeat performance of my symptoms, which the doctor thinks is extremely unlikely. I don't have to get a spinal tap. I'll get a repeat MRI sometime six or twelve months from now, just to be safe. That is all.

I feel incredibly lucky. Incredibly blessed.

So what went kaflooey with me? Maybe a virus; maybe the Bactrim after all; maybe something wonky with my thyroid (and I'll still talk to an endocrinologist about that). As long as I keep getting slowly better, I can live with the mystery.

I may still blog about some of the thoughts I've had lately about disability, "passing" as normal, and the relation between body and mind. But I hereby declare an end to blogging about my day-to-day health (unless I get an answer someday, after all).

You can assume, along with me, that I'll keep getting better, and that I'm wallowing in the amazing good fortune of having a beautiful brain.


Anonymous said...

It's wonderful to know that you are alright! I can imagine the heaviness of thinking something's wrong and not knowing what. I wish you many blessings!

cathyj said...


What fabulous news! I share your joy and what I am sure is profound relief!

Sungold said...

Thanks to both of you for your kind words. I've still got lots of recovery ahead of me, but I'm overjoyed at the prospect of continuing to get better. Right now, though, I am totally wiped out and if I'm smart I'll get off the intertubes and go to bed!

Reg said...

I'm inflicting another "me too" message on you, but I've only just been made aware of your distress, and your relief at the retreat of it is palpable. This is great news. May your "beautiful brain" long remain around to teach your students, and to inform and provoke discussion in the rest of us.


DaisyDeadhead said...

Congrats on the clean bill of health!!! :)

And yes, please have your thyroid checked; I KNOW whereof I speak. It can make your heart slow way down and do all kinds of weird shit. Mine was initially diagnosed because I thought I had uterine cancer, I was bleeding so much. (it can cause that too) Thyroid disease is routinely diagnosed when the person assumed it was another bodily system at fault entirely.

Sungold said...

Hi Reg! There's no such thing as too many "me too" comments on this thread. :-) So thanks!

Daisy, thanks for the good thoughts. And I love love love your kitty avatar.

I've actually been hypothyroid for the past 15 years but never had any known "cause" for it - never any evidence of autoimmune disease, for instance. Now my bloodwork is showing antibodies to thyroglobulin, which could mean I've developed an autoimmune condition after all these years.

I'm so glad yours got figured out, Daisy. Man, that must have been a scary time for you. I know that an out-of-control thyroid can do lots of whacky stuff, but mimicking uterine cancer is new to me.

Our bodies are wonderful and *weird.*

John Pine said...

Congratulations for not having MS!

Sugarmag said...

I've been thinking about you Sungold and I am so glad you are ok. What a relief. Some things are just a mystery.

Sungold said...

Thanks, John!

Sugarmag, you're so right about the mysteries. I have a hard time accepting the unknown. I like to have explanations. But this was a situation where nearly all of the certainties would have meant bad news. And so I can live happily with a little mystery.

Henry said...

Can you hear it? It's the sound of 10 front paws clapping in unison. I invited Smilla, Pickles, Isabel and Max to join in to try to increase the volume. It still sounds likely barely a thump against a pillow, but it's heartfelt.


hesperia said...

I'm just delighted sungold! I'll still be thinking of you, though, as you manage your recovery. I know it's hard for people like you (us) to slow down and take care. Do it!

Sungold said...

Hi Henry! Make sure you don't injure yourself with your dew claws in the midst of all the clapping. Thanks to you and the whole kitty chorus. Very impressive that you managed to get that much coordinated feline action.

Hesperia, you are right about not overdoing. I did that last week and regretted it. My limits seem to be shifting - for the better - and of course the temptation is always there to try to push them! I'm getting schooled in something I've often reminded my kids to do: "Listen to your body." Thanks for fussing over me - I appreciate it!

Carla said...

I don't know what's going on around this house, but I keep hearing what sounds like delicate clapping noises. Hmmmm. Cats can't applaud, can they?

Glad you're well(er)!

Sungold said...

Oh, I'm sure they're just rustling around their food supply ... (shhh, I won't rat you out, Henry!)

Thanks so much, Carla! I'm awfully glad, myself!