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No Sneezes, No Wheezes, No Nothing

Posted Aug 12 2008 8:04pm

“I’m one of the healthiest sick people around.” I have said that over and over again in the last nine or so months. I have an un-curable, life-altering disease that requires some sort of daily medication and monthly infusions, a level of exercise similar to physical therapy, a lot of patience and diligence, but other than that I’m completely healthy.

I tried to track back in time, remembering the last time I had a cold or the flu. The best I can honestly remember takes me all the way back to 2007. There was a serious, three month time frame where I had a nasty bronchial thing going on. It started on January 5, 2007 and lasted off and on well into March of that year. I missed more days of work in those three months than I did when I landed in the hospital with the exacerbation that delivered an M.S. diagnosis to my doorstep. I remember the day I fell ill easily (despite not being able to sometimes recall simple words or the names of objects) because it was my husband’s birthday. I had scheduled all of our friends to meet us out at a local pub to celebrate and, of course, I was sick as a dog. My lungs were filled, I couldn’t breathe, and I couldn’t speak without coughing. We had to cancel. Over the next three months it came and went, escalating to bronchitis at one point and then on to walking pneumonia. Massive amounts of antibiotics kept me out of the hospital, but only time really dried up the mess and cured me. That is truly the last time I can remember being sick. Except for having M.S. of course.

For years it seemed I often fell ill with head colds or chest congestion around the holidays, almost like clockwork. Prior to the holidays of 2007, I couldn’t recall a Christmas or Thanksgiving where I wasn’t fighting off some sort of virus or little bug. Not this past year. If my memory is true here, I haven’t had a major sneeze, wheeze or nose-drip for 17 months, not even my annual attack of seasonal allergies. That’s just unbelievable.

Now there was the one “Aaa- aaa-cho” moment shortly after my diagnosis, but that turned into nothing other than needless worry. And last weekend my right ear seemed to clog up for a day or so and I fought off a couple mini-sneezes. The clogged ear provided for a little levity in a weekend filled with the news of the new cases of PML in Tysabri patients. When my ear seemed to fill up to the brim, I took my hand and smacked it against the ear and the side of my head – much like a dog does when scratching an ear-itch. The hubby looked at me oddly (that’s become regular in our household) and I assured him it wasn’t a ‘focal twitch’ like in the PML patient. Within 24 hours, whatever was tickling my nose or clogging my head disappeared as if they were both just figments of my imagination.

I understand that my immune system is so strong that it is attacking my brain and central nervous system. Does that also mean that it’s so strong that I just don’t get ‘normal people’ sick anymore? Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not complaining. It’s just surreal to me. Disturbing even.

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