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Keep Using Your “I” Words, Baby!

A Multiple Sclerosis VOCABULARY


I had three ideas for a new blog this week.  Unfortunately, I also had a very dirty house.  Being a germ-a-phobe, the dirty house won.  

So I’m posting an oldie.  In honor of World MS Day next week, I wanted to post a favorite. (More on World MS Day at the end of this post.)  This blog is such a favorite of mine that I sent it to the editors of Something on our Minds Volume II where it was published.  

I hope you find it helpful my friends……

Some people say that good things come from bad.

Many others say that is crap.

I’m not about to earnestly debate this argument as my brain is just too fatigued to give it much thought.  But I will honestly say that one thing good that arose from my multiple sclerosis diagnosis was the increase of helpful vocabulary words beginning with the letter “I.”ID-10058081

Before MS, if someone were to ask me to quickly name a word that starts with the letter “I,” I would have to think for a few seconds.  Then I would say “Indian” which is no longer politically correct, and since Native American doesn’t start with the letter “I,” would be wrong anyway.

If I was given more time I might come up with igloo or iceberg, maybe iguana, but I would really have to think for a bit.  Pretty sad since I was an English major in college.ID-10049794But since MS, I know many words that begin with the letter “I” and some are actually helpful in my MS world.

I don’t mean “injection” which is technically helpful in a healthy way but is definitely not helpful in a real life way.

Nor do I mean “interferon” which I had never heard of before MS, and do not know what it means, but know that it is printed on my box of “injections” right over the words “Chinese hamster ovary cells.”

Nor do I mean “infusion” which I am sure I had heard of before MS but never really thought too much about.ID-10063511

The “I” words that have been added to my post diagnosis lexicon and which are truly accommodating are “ish” “ing” and “icth.”

Let’s start with my favorite-“ish.”

I love “ish.”

“Ish” rocks my world and absolves the normally precise me from all responsibility.

“I’ll be there around 9ish,” can actually mean, “no I won’t, but I’ll give it a good try.”ID-10019322

Or, “I have no idea what time I will get there and cannot even begin to try to rationalize how my morning will proceed and how fast I might be moving, but I will roughly aim for some time around 9 in our particular time zone.”

On a stretch it can even mean, “We didn’t state a specific time, did we?”

The reason why “ish” is so good is because not only are you not committing yourself in any way, the ishness of “ish” can be broken down by several factors.

My view of “ish” is not your view of “ish” and 9ish can be anything from 7 to 11 and there is nothing anyone can do about it!

It doesn’t just work on time either.   When someone asks my age, “30ish” or “how often do you exercise, “often, I try to exercise once or twice a week, ish.”


Do you see the beauty of “ish?”  I never appreciated it until my diagnosis but I am thrilled to have “ish” to help me out.

“Ing” is great to use when I try to describe symptoms that are totally indescribable.

My ears are making this “ringing,” “buzzing,” or “clopping” sound.

My fingers are “aching,” tingling,” and “vibrating” all the “freaking” time.

My foot is “dropping,” my legs are “weakening” my head is “pounding,” my brain is “fogging,” my eyes are “blurring,” my skin is “itching,” my stomach is “twisting” and my bladder won’t stop “going.”

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“Ing” doesn’t let me off the hook as much as “ish” but it sure makes it easier to explain what is going on in my body even when I have no clue what that is.

But if I’m really too tired to come up with an appropriate “ing” word or there are just too many too sort out, then the best word is “icth.”  “Icth” just sums it all up.

Some days, you are just not with it and MS is doing its best to do you in.   Well meaning people may say to you “well, tell me, specifically, how do you feel?”  Sometimes you just don’t have the specific words they need to understand.  So I just say I feel “icth.”

It’s important to let out a little breath when you say you feel “icth.”  If you are not sure about “icth,” then please allow me to tell you it is the next step up from “ick.”

Anybody can feel “ick.”  But when “ick” is not encompassing enough of your overall ickiness then you must use the word “icth.”  “Icth” is “ick” times twenty.


Not only does “icth” describe your ickiness combined with all your other symptoms combined with your overall exhaustion, it also says “stop asking me how I feel because I don’t have energy to explain it to you!”

MS friends, far too many times, “icth” is my favorite word.

May you not have to say “icth” too often.

But if you do, then I’m glad “icth” is available for you too.

Friends, World MS Day is 5/27/15!  This is a day where MS’ers from all over the world come together to share our struggles, our symptoms, our strengths, and our stories.  It’s a day for all the way over 2 million of us.

Don’t know what you should do on this day?  Well check out the World MS Day link for ideas.


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Toe Story

Some MS science fiction

Just this morning someone in one of my online MS Facebook groups asked how do you know when something new in your body is MS or some other medical issue?

This is an excellent question without a definitive answer.

I have struggled with this many, many times as each new weird symptom-like thing comes up in my body.  But this question is especially relevant right now as my week as been filled with even weirder medical weirdness.  Just when I think my MS/my health/my life can’t get any weirder, it does.

Several mornings ago I woke up with major pain in my toes.  The pain seemed to be concentrated on the second and third toes of my right foot, almost as though I had stubbed them badly.


Now, I do get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, 2, 3, 10, or maybe 15 times a night, depending on how effective my bladder control medication decides it wants to be.   I’m usually awake enough to do my business and get myself safely back to bed. So if I had stubbed my toe in the night, wouldn’t I be aware of it?  Especially if it was so painful that it caused me to limp around in the morning?

Multiple sclerosis has certainly wreaked havoc on my short term memory but painful memories seem to hang around. While I’m pretty klutzy, I have no recollection of hurting my toe to this extent.  And I do mean extent, the toes hurt like a motha……, well, let’s just say they hurt a lot.


This was beyond frightening and perplexing.  What is going on in the middle of the night that caused me to wake up hurting so badly?   And how can just two of my toes be such a problem?

I researched this and discovered that your toes have a lot to do with your balance and thus, are very important.  Especially to someone who already has balance problems related to having MS.

As I was l limping around thinking about this I received a call from a friend who happened to have a podiatrist appointment later that day and she was dreading it.  A podiatrist is a foot doctor.  Don’t they cover toes as well?

I thought of high jacking my friend’s appointment-she certainly didn’t want it.  But I didn’t out of fear of extreme frustration.  The podiatrist would likely examine and x-ray my toes only to tell me nothing was wrong and then on top of hurting I would be irritated and worried I was going crazy, yet again.


So I stayed home and lamented what a beautiful day it was and how before I woke up with toe issues I was definitely, finally  going to go out for a long walk that day of all days and geez, now with the toe issue I can’t. See what I mean about how fitting in exercise is tough?

By the end of the day my toes felt much better so I chalked the whole toe thing up to a fluke and went to bed.  And in the morning, my toes hurt all over again.

This seemed like MS– a rise in severity of symptoms only to have the severity wind down and then rise up again.  It had to be- what else is going on with my feet while I sleep?

I thought I should consult a consultant.   I called another friend who had actually broken her toe during a family vacation last summer.  She claims she broke it climbing down and falling off the ladder of the bunk beds in the house her family was staying in.  I think she actually broke it tripping over a sidewalk after too much wine.  I suppose, however, if she was going to make up a broken toe story she would come up with a better one then falling out of bed- bungee jumping or paragliding maybe.


Anyway, with all of her broken toe experience she didn’t believe I had broken toes.  She felt I might be dealing with arthritis!   Arthritis?  In two of my toes???

Day three I woke up with renewed but slightly diminished pain only to be back to normal by the time I went to bed.   It is now day 5 and the pain upon waking is only mildly uncomfortable while my confusion increases.

These days my MS friends and I are all about asking is this latest problem MS?

Or is it another sign of aging, like arthritis?

Or is it yet another medical condition?


I would like to propose another possibility.

Perhaps it is neither of those things but something that can be best explained by the narration of the Twilight Zone

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man.  It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.  It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.  This is the dimension of the imagination.  It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”


So there you have it friends.  If the mysteries of your MS symptoms are too mysterious even for MS, then perhaps you and your painful toes have entered the Twilight Zone.

Good achy toe night to all of you…..


And if you have yet to pick up your copy of my latest book, then please check out Goodreads where in celebration of World MS Day, you can possibly win a copy!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

MS Madness by Yvonne deSousa

MS Madness

by Yvonne deSousa

Giveaway ends June 22, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win