Someone once said to me "MS is a companion, but not a friend."
These words ring true. I have been in remission for a while now, but I still haven't shaken most of the symptoms. The dizziness and fatigue have been pushed into the background but they grumble along, just to let me know they are still lurking away.
The tingling fingers and leg pain are still there as well, but there will be a gap of five minutes or so every now and then when my hands feel "normal", and the crushing and squeezing in my feet and calves won't start until later in the evening.
The double-vision is ever-present and consistent though, so it is this that I use, just to pinch myself that this is really happening to me. Let's just look left for a second, I tell myself... yes, two plant-pots instead of one.
Being told you have MS is so surreal that when symptoms are on a back burner and I feel good about myself, I feel the need for a reality check.
You may ask why. Why not just enjoy the moment? I think the answer is that if all my symptoms disappeared completely, I would forever be paranoid that there was a big attack just around the corner, waiting to take me by surprise. Checking that everything is still going wrong in it's usual way, ensures that I get some constancy and I have something that I have the illusion of keeping in check.
Then of course, there are the times when I forget to take my tablets for a few days and it feels like I'm holding a cactus anyway.
This weekend was a mad one: jobs to do, daughters to amuse etc. On top of all this the weather was warm and muggy and I came down with a head cold which screwed me up for long stretches of the day. There were a couple of times when I simply couldn't stand up. And as I type this, I am battling with drooping eyelids and a brain determined to shut itself down.
I guess there is no easy way to guage where remission begins and relapse ends as everything is there still - making it's presence felt. The terrorist cell that operates in my central nervous system is currently doing a woollens wash, with their balaclavas probably just starting the spin cycle.
The next move they make could be tomorrow or it could be in twenty years time.
Whenever it happens, I like to think that I will be ready psychologically.