The Academic Approach

The Jell-O Girl EntertainsMS has a sad similarity to Jell-o in that one’s legs may often feel absolutely gelatinous and, well, there’s always room for more. That having been said, make space — I’ve developed a new tick that might begin ushering the end to my disease’s invisibility cloak.

The act of speaking is becoming troublesome… using the wrong words or syntax, fine. Used to it. Lips that arbitrarily go numb? Used to it. “Voice Immodulation Disorder or its opposite?” Used to it. Slurring like a drunk? Annoying, but getting used to it. Not being able to properly use my lips to form words, and instead have spasms while trying to finish a statement? New.


Click to watch the “Voice Immodulation Disorder” segment from SNL’s Weekend Update

Both lips started arbitrarily going numb a couple of years ago. It happened daily for a long while, but is now a more reserved lodger. Or was. I’m in no doubt that there is a connection between that and this — that’s a big DUH. But the numbness thing was invisible to others and conversations were never hindered.

I’m going to step back right now so as not to develop a sudden fear of or aversion to speaking. Like everything else, it simply requires me to slow down and remain ever-internally-vigilant. This addition to the above-mentioned (and other) facial foibles is simply part of the package, and I’m starting to feel like MS has been its own self-sustaining school system… a slow increase of symptoms over twenty years has inadvertently motivated my training at things like “avoiding the sun” and “falling.” The courses I’m taking now, as an undergraduate have great names like:

  • MjAxMi1jNTE1ODdhNTYyYTNhMjZkIntro to Not Going Upstairs Anymore
  • Leg-lifting 101
  • Survey of Waking Every Hour to Pee

and now:

(Oh boy, another new class to take.)

I’ve already earned a degree in Acrobatic Falling, but learning is a process that won’t end until you do. I will keep researching this in tandem with everyotherlittlething that crosses my axons. I will begin the process of learning how to accommodate this particular course of study. Like many other things, the lip/jaw spasms have only started showing up when I’m physically overexerted. That’s the preliminary assumption, anyway. In the meantime I welcome this new neurological eccentricity into my private faculty.

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