A multiple sclerosis alter ego
Spiderman had the Green Goblin. Batman had the Joker. Is it possible to have a super hero without also having a super villain?
This thought occurred to me recently when I was reading an awesome MS blog by an awesome MS blogger, Melissa Cook. She blogs about life with MS on MSsymptoms.me
In the particular post I was reading she explained a multiple sclerosis phenomenon that I could totally relate to. Her post is titled Super Powers to the Rescue and it describes how in times of crisis or intense stress, we seem to discover amazing energy sources and strength we never knew we had. Activities that would normally do us MS’ers in, we seem to ace just when we should be feeling our worst
Personal case in point, just last week I left town for a few days to say goodbye to a beloved uncle, my family’s patriarch.
(Speaking of super powers, this loving man never missed one day of work in his entire life and was married for 60 years- that is some super strength right there.)
Amid the funeral arrangements, grief, worry and drama that can happen during a difficult time, I did ok. Miraculously ok since I had forgotten to pack my energy inducing pharmaceuticals. Suddenly I was able to stand for longer periods than I normally would be able to. I was operating on far less rest than I usually would get. I remembered things I would normally forget and understood things I normally wouldn’t understand.
I saw many friends and relatives I don’t see often and they remarked on how well I seemed to be holding up. But what they didn’t see was the debilitating crash that came after, the days I spent in a major fatigue induced emotional hangover. In the aftermath everything that could possibly ache ached and everything that I could possibly forget was forgotten.
Thankfully I had read Melissa’s blog and so somewhere in the cognitively limited resources of my brain, I had an inkling of what was going on with me.
Ah, MS, it taketh away.
It taketh away a lot.
But sometimes, when you need it most, it giveth too. Sometimes it can giveth the super powers you are desperately needing when you might desperately need them.
This understanding made me think of super heroes which made me think of villains. I decided we needed a name for the villain that shows up in the aftermath of these super powers. The evil arch-nemesis that does everything it can to rob us of our personal super powers.
Hence, I created Super Blah!
This is the alter ego we unwittingly transform into when MS decides to decimate the super powers it recently bestowed.
Super Blah!’s chief crime is theft- theft of energy, theft of thought, theft of concentration, theft of all the things one needs to function in the aftermath of a super power moment. In addition to theft, Super Blah! is also responsible for pain, and an increase of all of your worst MS symptoms-for me that meant that my balance and bladder became as obnoxious as ever.
You can’t hide from Super Blah!– though you can anticipate its arrival. You will likely see Super Blah! right after you have surprised yourself by feeling good.
I think the best example of how Super Blah! shows up lies in comparing him to the Incredible Hulk. One minute Dr. Banner was just doing his own thing and then he would get mad and suddenly he turned into the Hulk. The difference is that the Hulk was good. His enemy was Mr. McGee.
“Mr. McGee, don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
Understanding the role of Super Blah! in my life is quite disturbing. How do I stop this wicked villain in its tracks? I’m not Wonder Woman. When my super powers are at their best I’m barely Mighty Mouse.
I often do extensive research for both my health and my blog and so I began to investigate what might actually destroy Super Blahs!’s evil powers. I discovered that I may need super tools. Wonder Woman uses her lasso. Maybe I could use my drugs?
I learned that my MS medications are somewhat helpful but to combat Super Blah! I needed something bigger, something greater than multiple sclerosis itself, the source of Super Blah!’s power.
Then my research led me to discover something I had never heard before. It turns out that Superman recharges his power with solar energy. When he’s feeling run down, in need of a super boost, Superman turns to the sun. With a high dose of the sun’s powerful, Vitamin D filled rays, Superman is back on track!
Wouldn’t you know it, one of my drugs is super strong Vitamin D!
So I’m going to take a lesson from some of my favorite super heroes and get my strength back. I will defeat Super Blah!
Maybe not today, maybe not this week. But I will get him eventually.
Turns out I’m really not Wonder Woman or Mighty Mouse.
I am Superman…
PS If this particular blog post seems super blah it is because Super Blah! was hanging around when I was writing it- blame him! Or her. Or whatever Super Blah! is…
In honor of National MS Awareness Month let’s share some Super Blah! info readers.
What does Super Blah! look like in your MS world??
Images of Batman and Spiderman in their younger years courtesy of their mom, Kady Green
Image of my uncle’s hardworking hands courtesy of Kristine Soares Photography
Flying super hero image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Good/Evil sign image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Sun super hero image courtesy of iospere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net