Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Friday, June 30, 2006

I Liked MS Better When it Only Stood for Manuscript

by Kerry Blair

If I had back every dish I’ve dropped and broken in the last decade I could invite Wyoming over for a sit-down dinner. (I chose a sparsely populated state so you wouldn’t think I’m exaggerating.) I’m too stubborn to switch to paper dinnerware, but if Noritake introduces a line of Blue Willow in rubber I’ll be first in line at Dillards.

Breaking dishes isn’t the only thing I do routinely. I also trip over things left carelessly lying around the house—like loose threads and pet dander. I type yrkerl in a blog or a book and don’t notice that the word is Martian until somebody points it out to me. I say things like, “Someday, you’ll go to the aardvark to make sacred covenants.” I wish I were making that last one up, but I’m not. I also wish I hadn’t been speaking to Young Women at the time, but I was. No, I wasn’t touting a new anthropomorphic religion, it was just a random word my brain sent to my mouth when my heart was thinking temple. All things considered, it could have been worse.

I do all this—and ever so much more—because I have multiple sclerosis. It’s a disease that’s all in my head. No, really. It is. Little lesions, which in my case are on the upper part of my spinal cord, play havoc with the neurological signals my mind sends to various and sundry parts of my body. I think “temple” and say “aardvark.” I step on a piece of glass and never know I’ve cut my foot until I see a trail of bloody footprints across the carpet. I tell a sister in my ward at ten in the morning that of course I can drive her to the doctor at eleven, but by 10:03 I’ve forgotten that she called. (That sister still isn’t speaking to me, by the way.) The memory thing (or lack thereof) is probably the worst. While I can remember how fast Aquaman swims (100 mph), I often can’t remember the names of my four children. (Scott, Jake, Matt and, um, Edgar. No, Edgar’s the turtle. Amy. Or is that the chicken? Give me a minute. It will come to me. I’ve known that girl nineteen years now.) Or maybe the worst is to never know until I wake up in the morning what the symptom du jour will be. Will I be able to walk? See? Understand the words on my computer monitor? Pick up the salt shaker by the third try? MS isn’t a fun affliction exactly, but it sure is interesting.

I can scarcely believe I’m sharing this today with anybody with an Internet connection and a rudimentary understanding of the English language. Mostly I’m still in denial. For sure I don’t like anybody outside my family to know I have MS. Part of this is pride, of course, but part is self-preservation. You wouldn’t believe how many “cures” there are out there for an incurable disease—aside from the treatment my neurologist recommends, I mean. (His involves needles. Stuck in my stomach. Every day. Ick.) But according to one friend, all I really have to do is drink Perky Potion. It’s an amazing concoction of vitamins, minerals, papaya juice, and shoe polish that you can get for a mere $150 an ounce and, in my case, keep down for about three minutes. As bad as it is, I do prefer it to the miracle remedy offered by a former home teacher. This guy insisted that two dozen bee stings a day for sixteen weeks would fix me right up. Gee, as fun as that sounds, I think I’ll stick with my neurologist. At least his way involves only one sting—and no insects. I’ve heard lots more ideas, but I’m running out of space and I suspect you’re running out of attention span.

What brought this to mind was a conversation I had at church last week with a wonderful guy who’s at about the same place I am in the progression of the disease. We compared notes and, frankly, teared up a little at first because we’re both getting worse than we ever thought we would. But then he said, “You know, one day last week I couldn’t remember the name of our cat.” I said, “I got in the car, drove into town, then couldn’t remember what I’d gone there for.” (I haven’t told my husband this, by the way. Good thing he doesn’t read my blog or he’d take away my car keys. You are all hereby sworn to secrecy.) The point is that by the end of the conversation we were both laughing so hard our sides would have hurt except that our nerves misfire so badly that my right toe hurt and his left elbow itched. It’s a better week because of him. A better life, even. Sure, I still forget. I still break things—and one of these days that “thing” will probably be my neck—but I still laugh, too.

I admire Teri Garr for saying, “Sure I have MS, but I have lots of other things too.” So do I. One of the things I have the most of is hope. Someday I will walk into my aardvark's office and he'll have a real cow. I mean cure. In the meantime, I just have to remember to buy more dishes the next time I'm in town with my daugther Whatshername.


13 Comments:

At 6/30/2006 11:59 AM, Anonymous Jennie said...

Kerry, I love you. Only you could find it in your big heart to laugh when most of us would be crying. My father-in-law had MS and right now a cousin has a fast form of it and I think most of us are familiar with the miserable, sneaky condition, but you do the best job I know of explaining it and dealing with it. You go girl!

 
At 6/30/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger annegb said...

I firmly believe that those of us who have the gift to be open about our trials in life bless others by validating their feelings and allowing dialogue.

So many things are unspoken and people suffer in silence. Good for you, Kerry.

 
At 6/30/2006 1:58 PM, Blogger Cheri said...

I echo Jennie on this one. Kerry, only someone as courageously wonderful as you can transform something as challenging as MS into a humor-filled blog. Your example gives us all hope in dealing with our own trials. =)

By the way, can I go shopping with you and whatshername for unbreakable dishes? My family won't let me have real glassware anymore. =D

 
At 6/30/2006 3:49 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

You three are the least objective (and most supportive) people I know and I love you to pieces!

But in the interest in fairness in blogging, I feel compelled to tell the reading public that these women put me to shame. They put Joe Stewart (a character from Jeff's "Into the Fire") to shame. For sure they give Job a run for his money.

Cheri, we're on for the shopping trip, but we'll have to stop by Chili's on the way. We'll take Jennie and Annegb to help me keep an eye on you.

 
At 6/30/2006 9:42 PM, Blogger KB said...

There is a quote from a Star Trek episode that I just love. (And I quote it to anyone who will listen.) The Enterprise has taken on some refugees that are just wreaking havoc upon the ship and its crew. Capt. Picard looks around and then begins to laugh. Ryker is surprised, and Picard says, "Sometimes you just have to bow to the absurd."

I remind myself of this when I'm having one of those my-health-is-going-to-kill-me days. :)

Thanks for sharing.

 
At 6/30/2006 10:53 PM, Blogger Lisa M. said...

I agree with Annbg.


Completely.

Thank you for sharing.

 
At 7/01/2006 12:46 AM, Blogger Cheri said...

Kerry, we're on for the shopping\Chili's run. Does this mean I get to order the appropriate beverages for everyone? =)

 
At 7/01/2006 2:35 AM, Anonymous Linda w said...

Thanks so much for sharing so many of the details of how MS is affecting you. I appreciate having a better knowledge of what you and others with MS face when they wake up every morning.

 
At 7/01/2006 10:38 AM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Thank you for being so open about this with us. I can't tell you how much I admire you for your courage and strength and for helping to educate others on what you have to go through every day.

 
At 7/03/2006 6:48 PM, Anonymous Christi said...

Kerry,
I am so sorry that your struggle with MS has progressed as it has. I still remember you moving out to Utah 6 or 7 years ago and I was going to come and help you unpack your breakables, but it never happened. In fact, there were a few times we were going to get together and chat and we never ended up with the opportunity what with me at BYU and you having a busy life. I still regret that other than the time I came in to an LDS bookstore and for the one and only time in my life went with the sole purpose of meeting the author and getting a book signed, we have never been able to meet and get to know each other more. Since then you have added exponentially to your adoring fan pool and I never got that chance, which I now fear has left me forever. I just want to say that although I didn't get to know you personally as I had so wished to, getting to know you through your books and this web site has been close enough and I thank you for sharing yourself with me and with the rest of the world. Sorry this is so long, I have a tendency to ramble. Lots of love to you. Dont' let the man, or the disease, get you down.

 
At 7/04/2006 7:41 AM, Blogger Candace E. Salima said...

Kerry,

I am so sorry to hear of your struggle with MS. Please go to http://www.osmond.com/alan/index.html and scroll down. Alan Osmond has been working with a British company on a product that has literally turned his life and his MS around. I am going to call Alan today and see if he'll give you a call. Please email me at ces@candacesalima.com with your number. Please don't give up. Please trust in Heavenly Father to provide what you need. Alan always says "I may have MS, but MS doesn't have me." This treatment has been nothing short of miraculous for a man who was just shy of a wheelchair. Don't give up your hope. Okay?

 
At 7/04/2006 10:57 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Christi - I'd probably have more dishes now if you'd unpacked them, but I still have every one of the beautiful letters you sent from your semester abroad in Jerusalem. You walking into that Glendale bookstore is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I will always treasure your friendship!

Candace - You really touch my heart! Now please tell me you know of a cure that involves the Belgian chocolate you mentioned in a recent e-letter to all us fans. I'll try ANYTHING that involves chocolate therapy!

All - I really didn't mean for this to turn into a poor-me-pity-party. (See why I never mention it in public?) MS is part of my life, but it isn't the important part. You are. Thank you all so much.

 
At 7/04/2006 11:19 AM, Blogger Candace E. Salima said...

Hi Kerry,

Alan Osmond has been treated by the medication which was approved in Britain. They are pushing it through the FDA approval. Alan has seen tremendous improvement and can now do pushups, cut his own meat, can walk, swim and a number of other things the rest of us take for granted. Send me your phone number (ces@candacesalima.com) and I'll try to get Alan to call you sometime this week. Hopefully he can put you in touch with these people in Britain.

As to the chocolate -- oh yeah, I was so excited to learn I can eat three nuggets of chocolate a day and have it be the most powerful antioxidant on the face of the earth. Interestingly, once the free radicals which roam your body are healed, then apparently amazing health issues occur. The safest, and most accurate place to take a look is a medical doctor's website who has been using this product in studies: http://www.mydrchocolate.com/testimonials.html. If you're interested in the product (nuggets or chocolate drink), go ahead and contact me at ces@candacesalima.comand I'll hook you up with some (I'll send you my phone number). It does come through an MLM, but if you're not interested in that, then I can certainly sell you the product. If you're interested in learning more about the product and the business you can go to www.mxicorp.com and get more information. This isn't a plug to force you into an MLM -- you tell me what you'd like to do and I'll help you get it done.

Marie & Merrill Osmond both lost weight on it, others have had their blood pressure and cholesterol reduced (their doctors are amazed and looking into the product) and other health issues resolved. It really boils down to when the body is healthy it begins to heal itself. It's the only logic I can find in the whole situation.

By the way, Kerry. Where do you live? I should be getting a shipment this week, so if you are in the area (Utah County) I can drop some off to you.

I'll keep you in my prayers.

 

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