Recently a regular reader of Victorious Endeavours observed that I was very open, frank even, about the impact of my MS on my life. And in some ways I am but not completely of course; a gal has to keep something’s to herself! For me there has always been stuff that is entirely personal and kept private, stuff that is entirely public and a grey area in the middle that is candid up to a point. I could say it my own educational mission but that would be disingenuous on my part – in truth some of the things I experience are comical and you couldn’t make them up! So please be reassured I am perfectly in control and not a quivering gelatinous mass underneath it all (well no more than anything 40 something single woman paddling in circles in the pool that could be premenopausal – IF YOU HAVE A SANE CELL IN YOUR BRAIN YOU MIGHT JUST WANT TO LEAVE THIS ONE RIGHT THERE! – only kidding!)
The human body has evolved with a convenient useful set of senses; each with their own unique contribution. As we age these senses become less reliable to some extent – many people wear corrective lenses from childhood. How many of us alternately complain how loud the adverts are in the cinema whilst simultaneously having to turn up the sound for Downton Abbey (and back down again during the commercial breaks)? Taste is a funny one as is smell – as a smoker I can’t rely on either of these senses. And then we come to touch. OK touch isn’t quite a sense in the same way but you get my drift – when you reach to shake someone’s hand you expect to be able to feel their fingers and assess their personality based on a limp or firm grip. Touch or rather the sensation of touch is something that MS nibbles away at; as the myelin sheath is corroded the numbness starts. You lose sensation in parts of your body you didn’t know you could feel; for example I have felt the middle of my leg arm or the left side of my torso/ribcage for the best part of 7 years now. It is a most odd feeling ha ha!
Over the last few weeks/months I have begun to notice the speed of the nibbling gather pace; if you can imagine waves breaking on a beach – the rush of the wash forward (full force) followed by the back wash (half force with something left behind. That is what has been happening to the left side of my body. Imagine standing in the shower with the water jets raining down on you as you apply gel on a (naturally) natural sponge. It’s not generally speaking a task one concentrates on doing; you just do it! I’ve known my balance relies on my eyesight for years so I have a handy rail in the shower for those bits where closing one’s eyes is prudent – this aid allows one to remain erect(ish) as I prefer not to engage water warmed butt cheeks on chilly ceramic tiles (it quite takes a girl’s breath away)!
But a couple of weeks ago when attending to one’s ablutions – both the wet and the drying bits – a disconcerting feeling came over me; a shudder akin to the one people associate with ‘someone walking over ones grave’ or the feeling that somebody is following you. Pausing unnerved I realised i couldn’t feel my back; the towel was there (as the sponge before it had been), this I knew because looking down I could see these things in my hand. Closing my eyes to test the hypothesis I concluded that my assumption was correct; the dead sensation had crept a little further to the right. A significant surface area was now no longer my own to manage; the control panel had fused, again.
Dressing was – is – a weird experience. I have had to choose garments like Goldilocks for a while; not too tight/heavy/constricting and not too lose/light. Hypersensitivity makes wardrobe management a challenge especially when one is a martyr to weight control; I’m confident that I am not alone in having a pair of jeans that COME WHAT MAY I WILL SQUEEZE INTO as a sign that my life is COMPLETELY UNDER CONTROL. Initially when this new world was revealed I thought ‘oh god these jeans are just toooo small! Stop kidding yerself you are (still) a size 14 (in some shops)!’ Concluding that the absence of sensation was a stiff clean denim matter I paid little attention to the dead leg/waist/tummy feeling. Ignoring the fact that something had also apparently swallowed the toes on my right foot – but hey if the blood is constricted at the groin area then surely this could be the reason?
And now for the intimate bit; brace yourself it’s spooky and nauseating! You know when you go for a fitting at M&S or Bravissimo and they ask you to ‘adjust’ yourself by ‘lifting the breast’ so the underwire is snug against the cleavage. How many times a day/week do you do this? (Male readers consider the same action but replacing the upstairs lady equipment with the downstairs gentleman’s equipment as if dressing to the right or the left! Now I’m not a skinny bint and have always been what is quaintly put as ‘well-endowed’; safe to say I’m accustomed to shall we say ‘a decent hand full’ – yes as teenagers we did do that immature thing of weighing our boobs to reduce our notional weight! If it wasn’t for these puppies my BMI would be spot on!
So the day I became aware I couldn’t actually feel my hands on my upstairs equipment – dead boobs not hand fingers – was a sobering one. It’s rather like become a version of Venus de Milo as one does have alabaster toned skin (the tissue complete with the veins one observes in high quality marble – the lightning flashes of a top class stretch mark and yes all without the effort of breastfeeding!) Reflecting on this new status, with true Spinster pragmatism, I thought how fortunate that one is single as there could be little more frustrating than not being able to lose oneself in the swoon of a lover’s tender caress. More importantly thank the lord I’m no longer surrounded by bundles of feline furry loveliness as I’m not sure I could deal with the distress this deadness would result in as one was cruelly deprived of the sensory experience of nuzzling a nice plump pussy!
But all is not lost I do still have the ‘jewellery’ made from the felted fur of my Duchess Theadora; there are still bits of me that can luxuriate in the silky fur (ring and brooch)! So ladies indulge yourself as you dress, massage in moisturiser and feel every last inch of your simply gorgeous flesh – enjoy yourself as long as you can (and should you be fortunate enough to have someone else to ‘admire’ you please make sure they do)!