Coffee in the Cereal: The First Year with Multiple Sclerosis

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9780934793070: Coffee in the Cereal: The First Year with Multiple Sclerosis
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In the quirky, sassy voice that has made her popular on health Web sites and with the women of MS MOMS, Lorna Moorhead recounts the experience of her first year with multiple sclerosis with a vitality unique in the often gloomy world of personal medical histories.

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About the Author:

Lorna J. Moorhead is the founder and chairwoman of MS MOMS, a California non-profit organization designed to support woman and mother with multiple sclerosis. She has been published in various places including, but not limited to, Vitality magazine, HealingWell.com, and MS & Life. She lives in Orangevale, California.

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You find out you have MS when your neurologist mistakenly asks, "So what are you taking for your MS?" when he is supposed to be telling you about your spinal tap results. It may sound like a bad joke, but this was the gentle way my diagnosis was handed to me.

While many people would be angered by such an outrageous slip, I actually appreciated it more than I would have an hour-long "I’ve got something to tell you Ms. Moorhead. Please sit down" speech. I was relieved to finally have an explanation for the weird and frightening things happening to my body, the way my balance was off and the room seemed to sway as I walked, the memory and speech problems, and the now-constant tremor of my hands.

This diagnosis, although difficult, was comforting -- considering that neurologist #1 had hinted that I was insane. He had asked me why I was slurring my words, and I explained that I had bitten my tongue in my sleep and that my speech sounded funny because my tongue hurt. He asked if I had done this before, and I answered in the affirmative. To this, he wrote in my file, "history of tongue biting." He then ran a neurological exam and pronounced that I was most likely epileptic. One unremarkable EEG later, he pronounced that I needed a shrink. Sobbing and enraged, I went home, recalling stories of how grandpa was a lunatic. I began to cite every panic attack and emotional outburst I had experienced in my life so far as proof that the neurologist might be right.

My biggest fear was that I was losing my mind. I never realized how close to the truth that was. I wasn’t losing my mind to insanity but to small lesions or holes in my brain left by an immune system gone berserk. Considering that I could have had lesions on my spine, and that, since my two spinal taps, the image of anything on or in my back made me feel like retching, having holes in my head was just fine. Plus, it didn’t even feel like I had holes in my head at all. The newfound sense of relief that I’d experienced when neurologist #2 slipped up lasted about 20 minutes. My mind began to come up with various dramatic scenes that I just knew would be happening to me, from death and wheelchairs to loss of speech and (god forbid), forgetting my PIN number. In that order.

Most people who have little to no knowledge of multiple sclerosis react, I have found, in a similar manner. (Sans running about yelling, "the sky is falling," which only served to panic my husband.) When given the final diagnosis, their instantaneous thought is "How long do I have to live?" followed quickly by "Okay, I’m not going to die but when will I be in a wheelchair?" As I learned more about the condition via books and the Internet, I began to focus my fears on my symptoms: If my speech faltered, would I eventually lose it? If my memory were failing, would it someday be gone? Would I turn into my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s, and wander about the house, stashing pens in the bathroom?

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9781460992586: Coffee in the Cereal: The First Year with Multiple Sclerosis

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ISBN 10:  146099258X ISBN 13:  9781460992586
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishi..., 2011
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