Fondue Brain

It's been a minute, guys.

Hopefully the (very small) readership of this blog wasn't too alarmed by my extended absence. MS didn't suddenly become fatal, and I haven't been suffering from a relapse of the double vision that made it impossible for me to use a computer last summer. I've been away for a much better reason: in January I started a PhD. I'm still working full-time at at my professional day job, and now also taking a half-time course load of two classes per semester.

Grad school has been an off and on thing in my life since 2002, when I completed my first graduate degree. My MA in Communication has served me well as a basis for a series of jobs. I've flirted with a doctorate in the past, but never really had the fire under my feet that is necessary to get that shit done. So clearly, a few months after being diagnosed with MS was the right time to multiply the stress in my life by taking on a new major project, right?

Well...while grad school has its own stressors, it's nothing compared to how I felt a year ago as my brain was descending into cognitive fog. I've always been a wordy girl, and a smart one. Being left grasping for words, for meaning, and for the ability to convey what was happening to me with any sort of precision was f**king terrifying, y'all. At one point I sat on the bed with my husband, with whom I fell in love over books and words and pop culture, and cried as I asked why my brain was melting, and wondered how long I would be able to work and write and function.

Mmmmm raclette
MS looks so delicious.
At that time we had no idea that this was MS. It was diagnosed as anxiety, depression, ADHD, stress...all things that indicated that I needed to slow down, to do yoga, to go to therapy. What I didn't know - what none of us knew - was that my brain was being Swiss-cheesed by MS lesions. Also, melting. It was fondue brain, or maybe a thick raclette oozing and yielding to the scraping blade of MS. What I needed was heavy-duty MS treatment. Once I got it, my brain was the first thing to spring back from full meltdown into at least a gelatinous state.

My last round of stem-to-stern MRIs showed NO active lesions in my brain, to which I can only say hip-f**king-hurray. So I've been spending a lot of time hitting the books, writing papers, and playing with ideas. It's the way I imagine a marathon runner feels when they hit the trail after an injury-forced hiatus. After a few tentative steps and jolts, I felt like my old nerderific self again. While I still occasionally struggle to locate a word or phrase when speaking, the brain-to-keyboard reflexes seem to be as sharp as ever. Hopefully that means you'll be hearing a lot more from me in future.

Keep on keeping on, everyone.


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