The first salsa lesson after the season stop, and I’m a bundle of nerves. It’s not so much that there is a gap of a season between my last spins but more like two. The last time I saw my salsa teacher was not in the class room but at the hospital. And the patient was me. It had started with the occasional loss of balance and loss of coordination of my limbs in the classroom. During one lesson I fell down on the floor and started hysterically crying. “I can’t feel my legs, I can’t feel my legs” I blurted out in sobs.
My sympathetic salsa teacher, who is also a good friend of mine, told me to take it easy and quite for the day. I sipped on a bland mineral water, which just enhanced the iron taste in my mouth, and eventually went home. Limping.
Some months later it happened again, but not after a salsa lesson but a visit to the chiropractor. I started to limp on my left side, and lost my feeling in my right. All the worst case scenarios started to enter my mind, and when my own doctor didn’t seem to think it was all that bad (true it can always be worse!) I went to my neighbour (who is also a GP). I suggested to him, that maybe I had a stroke. He said a hernia at worst. Still an examination at the hospital wouldn’t be a bad thing.
A final visit to my own GP (at this stage I could hardly walk and the pain was agonizing), I was referred to the hospital. I came out 10 days later.
The time that followed is sort of blurry. Lots of medications, steroids, morphine like painkillers, lumbar puncture to take my spinal fluid (nasty shit) and MRI scan to check my brain and spine. Results took ages to get, but once they came they were not all that great. Probably MS. You say MS and you think of wheel chair. Middle age women with Ecco shoes, vein supporting tights, and some unsightly outfit. You don’t even look at them, and if you do, it’s with pity.
I was so angry. Foremost with myself. At this point I would be having by showers laying down and would have to be crawling back to the hospital bed (I refused to be helped). Still the nurses were great, and I would often talk about my checkered life with them. My passion for salsa (I had been doing triple spins just days before it happened!), my blog, beauty and fashion (one nurse was a beautician so she would do my hair as my extensions had turned into dreads).
I told my salsa teacher I would be at her end of season party, but needless to say I didn’t make it. I was more busy spending time with my physio therapist learning to walk without dragging my foot.
Months later, and I’m doing much better. I still have a lack of sensation in my right side, and my left arm is more weak (I noticed it yesterday when holding the tension with my partner).
It’s a continuous battle to explain people, why I am tired, why I sometimes loose my balance, why I cry out in pain if something cold is applied to my right side (it feels like hot). Still I have learnt so much from this experience. I feel humble, and I feel I got this for a reason. I wanted to write about it, but with upcoming mortgages and insurances it might do more harm than good. Still what the fuck! I got this. I could have equally had HIV, and should I be ashamed of it? The only time I truly feel ashamed is when I don’t take care of my son enough. When I have no energy to run after him. Occasionally I do get the look of strangers, probably thinking I should be more engaged and not let my husband do all the work. I know I should. And still when my energies are depleted, or close to being so, I cannot really do more.
But the whole point of this is that when shit hits the fan, it doesn’t mean the end of your life. I salsad my ass off yesterday. And it felt great. I work full time (albeit being in some semi-constant pain, but it’s manageable), I work-out, I cook and take care of the house. And most importantly I haven’t lost my family.
Recently on Holland’s got talent, there was a couple dancing, with the lady in a wheelchair. I thought to myself, If she can do it, so can I. Whatever happens, there is always a solution. It’s just a matter of looking at the glass half empty or half full. I prefer the latter.