Regular readers will have noticed that my contributions to this blog have been slight in the past few months, though they are on the rise. The reason for this is that a disease I hadn’t thought much about in the past 10 years decided to make another appearance and made typing a chore. My Multiple Sclerosis was back. But while there is bad news involved, there is certainly a lot of good news and praise to God involved

Just before Halloween, a portion of the back of my head went numb (officially making me a numbskull). By the time I got to my neurologist, other portions of my body had gone numb, mostly on my right side. Included in this was my right hand, and, being right-handed, this presented me with some issues. The first time I had MS this bad was actually the first time I got it 20 years ago, and it numbed the whole left side of my body from shoulder to foot. However, I could still write and do most of what I did during the day with just my right hand. Other small relapses during that first 10 years were mostly inconveniences. This time, it was quite different.

Fortunately, my livelihood doesn’t rest on my ability to write, but rather to type; I’m a software guy. Still, typing got to be a bit of work. I normally touch type, but now my right had was limited to using my first two fingers to get the keys on the right side of the keyboard and I had to give my left hand more to do. (Touch typists will understand when I say that all uses of the Shift key, spacebar and some letters in the middle were done on the left for a couple months.) I downloaded a free demo of voice recognition software and used that for my program specs and documentation, for e-mails, and for a little blogging. (I’m impressed with the state of the art in this area, especially with no voice training required. I’m unimpressed with how much of this capability is natively in Windows.) For computer programming, however, the keyboard is still the only real option. (Yes, I checked out some voice software for programming, but they were all computer-language-specific, and there weren’t any for the language and the environment I was working in.) By the time I got done with the day’s typing, I was in no mood to do more on the blog, hence my scarcity.

That’s the lion’s share of the bad news, but in all this there’s quite a bit of good news, and God’s getting praise and credit for it.

First of all, the treatment has been working very well. Instead of the handful of prednisone pills I’d take daily for months in 1986, now they give you even more prednisone but via IV and only for 3 days. (This is to reduce the swelling of the nerves.) The numbness has receded almost completely, and at this point, while my writing is still worse than my 6-year-olds, I’m up to using the correct fingers for the right-side keyboard keys (though I’m not touch typing just yet, as the fine sensation of my fingers on the keys isn’t really back; my error rate is still not back down to normal). When my doctor got the MRIs back, which would show how widespread the MS “plaques” were, he expected to see between 15 and 20 dots on the film showing the locations. Instead he found 5, with a possible faint 6th dot. He also expected to see residual “holes” or scars from previous relapses, but found none.

And the good news actually started last summer. Prior to my first MS episode in ’86, my wife and I had very little life insurance. Once this hit, insurance companies wanted to charge a much higher premium on me, so after it appeared I went ahead and took what I could afford to get adequate coverage. Well, a lot has changed in my family in 20 years (notably the births of our four choldren), so this summer I started looking again, since I hadn’t been medicated for it in the previous 10 years. Sure enough, there was an insurance company (AIG, if you’re interested) that wouldn’t consider the MS since it had been that long. I got something like 6 times my previous coverage for a little over half the premium. So in my estimation, God held off on further episodes until I was able to get properly covered.

Some might say that what God should do is get rid of it completely, if He’s the kind, loving God I believe Him to be. What I’ll say to that is that in a number of ways, one of which I would term miraculous, He’s let me know that He’s in control and that He’s allowing this for whatever purpose. He has let me know in no uncertain terms that while He can cure it, He just isn’t, at least right now. Knowing that, I’ve been able to accept this and not be bitter about it.

So that’s why I’ve been rather quiet of late, but now that I’m working on getting my typing faculties back, I consider blogging physical therapy. 🙂

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