Thursday, November 14, 2013

Just So You Know Me...

Vision: During my chronic attack, I went through each day with eyes that did not focus, with a feeling of them being glazed with petroleum jelly. Not to mention, each eye moved in their own direction, without cooperation. Now-a-days, my eyes get tired and sometimes out of sync, but is that MS or just being 40 years old?

Movement: Oh yeah buddy, sometimes I try to move my legs to the right and they go to the left. Details with my hands are just not the same anymore. I can't chop onions as fast as I once could, and my guitar playing has become more slower and more percussive. But - MS kinda gives me my own sound.

Oh, but the most obvious issue with movement is with my legs. Goodbye electric slide.

Sensory: Damn.. spasms suck. And one of my constant reminders that I've got something going on up in here.  My spasms keep me standing, because I hate to move from seated to that very first step when you stand up.

Bladder/Bowel: I have trouble convincing people that any place is the right place to relieve yourself. Now I know where most restrooms can be found, but on more than one occasion, I have pissed on a stop sign or during a red light.

A large Mountain Dew and a long road trip is like Russian roulette and a definite gamble.

Sexual Activity: Karma Sutra, yeah right? Hell, you're lucky if I show up for the foreplay. But it's no secret, I have two kids of my own and I am positive I was there in some menial fashion.

Fatigue: There isn't a word for how tired I am, when I all I did was wake up this morning. It is an overwhelming debilitating fatigue, not known by anyone but MS patients.

Cognition/Mood: Most likely I will forget most of what you tell me, and most likely I will get very pissed because you will insist I never told you.

Just So You Know...

Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms



Everyone is different. So although there are many common MS symptoms, every person with MS experiences them differently. This may be because the location of damage in the central nervous system varies from person to person and affects how symptoms of multiple sclerosis appear.
If you have MS, it's important to keep following your treatment plan as prescribed, even if you aren't experiencing symptoms. That's because MS could be causing damage to your central nervous system even if your symptoms are not apparent.
Whenever you feel your multiple sclerosis symptoms are worsening, or anytime you have questions or concerns, it's important to talk to your doctor.


About 66% of people with MS experience blurred vision or eye pain caused by optic neuritis. Gradual improvement often occurs over several weeks. Some people with MS may experience double vision or other visual symptoms as well.


Many people with MS lose muscular strength in the arms and legs as the disease progresses. This is because multiple sclerosis often affects the nerve fibers that control muscle movement. Damage from MS can also result in poor balance or coordination.


People with MS may sometimes feel numbness, pain, tingling, burning, or cold in parts of the body, including the face. MS may also cause extra tightness or tension, known as "spasticity," in the back and leg muscles.


Many people with multiple sclerosis develop trouble controlling the urge to urinate or will be unable to completely empty their bladder. They may also experience problems with bowel control or constipation.

Sexual Activity

Having multiple sclerosis can cause some people to have problems related to sexual activity. Men with multiple sclerosis may find it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection. For some women, MS often causes a loss of sexual sensitivity, pain during intercourse, an inability to achieve an orgasm, or a reduction in naturally produced lubrication.


Many people with MS experience fatigue or tiredness. Since fatigue is a natural part of life, it can be difficult to connect with MS at first. However, fatigue from MS can often last for prolonged periods when even minor activities can lead to exhaustion.

Cognition and Mood

MS can trigger mental symptoms such as memory lapses, slowed thinking, and difficulty concentrating.
Some people with multiple sclerosis experience periods of depression that can be directly linked to physical changes in the brain that multiple sclerosis causes. Depression may also be an emotional reaction to having the illness and learning to cope with the symptoms of MS and the challenges they represent.
If you are experiencing feelings or symptoms of depression or hopelessness, discuss them with your doctor because treatment for depression is available.

There are 4 types of MS. They're named according to the way the disease acts on the body over time.2

The 4 Types of MS

  • Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS). This is the most common form of multiple sclerosis. About 85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with RRMS. People with RRMS have temporary periods called relapses, flare-ups or exacerbations, when new symptoms appear2
  • Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS). In SPMS, symptoms worsen more steadily over time, with or without the occurrence of relapses and remissions. Most people who are diagnosed with RRMS will transition to SPMS at some point3
  • Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS). This type of MS is not very common, occurring in about 10% of people with MS. PPMS is characterized by slowly worsening symptoms from the beginning, with no relapses or remissions2
  • Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS). A rare form of MS (5%), PRMS is characterized by a steadily worsening disease state from the beginning, with acute relapses but no remissions, with or without recovery 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Swagger of a Cripple

Cripple- 1. a person or animal partially or totally unable to use one or more limbs.
2. anything that is impaired or flawed.
3. a wounded animal, usually shot by a hunter.

Okay, okay, okay..

I am a cripple, but I embrace it and I have my fun with it... so much fun. This is how it all developed:
The right side of my body is the weaker half, most likely I have lesions on the left side of my brain causing this anomaly. Several ailments combined has contributed to the way I walk.

1. Spasms in my thigh and calf
2. Foot drop
3. Laziness

I doubt that my limp could have been prevented, but possibly delayed if I had only done a few, simple exercises, but you can't unscramble scrambled eggs... so I roll with it.

I was told early on in my journey with MS to stretch and this simple act alone would offer limberness to my spastic muscles. I have exercised at times, but I was never dedicated to doing it faithfully. So if you throw foot drop, where by my foot does not allow appropriate clearance of the ground during my strides, and combined atrophy of muscles, intensifying weakness of my appendage....

Guess what you get?

Well it might sound sad, but it is kinda funny to watch. The severity of my condition I take responsibility for, but hey... I get some great jokes out of it. And so do my friends and family.

It's funny how most folks assume it is a bum knee issue. Depending on my schedule, I might leave it at that, nod and carry on with what I am doing. But if I have the time, I like to have a little fun. So my lame leg might become the injury of the USC match, where I refused to tap out.  Or I might have hurt it in a bungee jumping accident where it was stretched longer than my left leg.

The reality of my condition, it makes my strides shorter, and my speed unrushed. I must constantly scan the ground searching for even the smallest items my right leg might not have the ability to clear. And let's face it - I'm way too pretty and way too cool to use a walking cane.

Now if you combine a lame leg with my balance issues consistent with MS, what do you have? Well it's a controlled fall, that most people close to me are surprised when I actually don't fall. But honestly, I'd rather have the leg - the lame leg - than to have none at all.

True, I limp. True, I have trouble with hills and stairs. True, I could never kick a field goal. But what I do have is unique. It's totally mine.

Call it what you want.. I just try to keep it simple. Yeah, I'm pretty cool.. but this is the swagger of cripple.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

You're putting what where??!!

So if you have MS, you should be aware of the various bladder issues by now. There is one particular time that is branded in mind, and to this day I feel uncomfortable speaking of it. So it's like this...

Had a bladder spasm. I noticed it first thing in the morning, when I woke up. I was patient, surely I will take care of it. I was determined. I slowly dripped water from the sink, I sat on the throne praying for a few drops. But now, it just wasn't happening.

Let's fast forward a few... It's been 19 hours and I have not pissed a drop. Out of fear I refused consumption of any liquid. So I surrendered to what I knew must be done. Catherization. 

So I tenderly asked my girlfriend at the time if she could drive me to the ER. I did not let on to what I knew would happen, there was no way to drive myself... I was suffering and in pain. The little small town hospital shined as bright as a Las Vegas hotel. I think I heard the hearts of a thousand angels as we parked at the entrance. Thank God there was not a wait, cause I think I am close to passing out now. Kinda drowning from the inside out. So I walk in and jump up on the cold exam table, as a doctor, a very large Nigerian fellow, with heavy hands and a thick accent, places one finger on my bladder and pushes. Hmmmm... I think my eyeballs popped out.

To which Dr. Zulu says, with a very deep accent, "Oh boy."
He offers me the easiest/hard decision ever - He says, "Mr. Milner, we need to catheterize you immediately. Now we have two nurses available, which one would you prefer?"

"We have Tom and we have Sally. "

So without hesitation, I said, "I want Tom." Because I saw Sally as I was walking in and she was smoking hot. So the way my mind processes it is this - Tom would not be any happier to be holding my penis, as I would if he held it. And well.. you see... if Sally performed the procedure, she would no longer be a dating option for me. Either way, I'm having a tube shoved in my pee- pee.

So Tom.. you're it dude.. and these are the ground rules:
You nor I will ever speak of this.
If you pass me on the street, do not under any circumstances look me in the eye.
Don't smile. Don't make me think you just winked.

Now I have white knuckled it, and I am positive the tube was as long and big around as a gardening hose. I try not to watch in the beginning. Finally he says, "Now we got to blow it up." I don't even want to know how ... just get it over with.

In some sort of weird foreplay, he asked me, "Are you ready?" Now imagine, I have not urinated in 20+ hours and what Tom, the male nurse, did with the flip of a switch, was facilitating the most intense orgasm I ever had. Sooo.. it's either the first time I was ever catheterized.. or the last time a man ever fondles me..

But if it ever happens again, I'm going to request Sally.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Me & My Nutshell

I'm sure that most people experience peaks and valleys in their life. They lose, they gain. I firmly believe that God endows each of us with a burden to overcome. Some of us, are given a few extras for the hell of it. I guess it's his way of saying, "So what are you going to do?" His desire is for us to overcome the burdens that should ultimately bring us closer to him.

So here are my burdens.. it has taken almost a lifetime to overcome or to even understand why I have them.

I got this thing about money. I like it. I love it. I spend it until it is gone.
I have this thing about alcohol and drugs. I like them.  I love them. I did them until they were gone.
I had this thing about very pretty girls. I like them. I love them. I did them until they are gone.

I have a burden - narcissism and manipulation. I am a very confused dude. Self centered, self seeking- got it also. So why I am writing this stuff? Mainly because the only constant in my life is Multiple Sclerosis. I do not like it. I do not love it. And it will NEVER leave me.

It has stuck with me throughout... and has been a constant companion majority of my life.

Of all the crap that this companion of mine and I have been through, it's loyal. WTF? I'm starting to get the message.

So why am I writing this? It has nothing to do with MS... well.. actually it does. I've had MS for 20 years, which is half of my life... which means it was present and in active in all the days of character flaws. Oh sweet.. sweet MS.

Ok.. I get it God. You have put me through all of these things to make a point. I've survived multiple divorces and disastrous relationships, deaths, addictions, financial ruins even... and I have done it while I was carrying MS on my back. Why? There must be a reason. I am now at the low point in my life.. I have lost everything at least twice, yet my buddy is right by my side.

It's kinda like Stephen King said, "You either come out the other side, or you don't."

Well I'm through the other side.. and OOOOH... I get it. I really get it. These were my burdens. But this is my reality.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

You Could've Had All Of This!

Does a handicap like MS really affect cupid's arrow? Isn't it just what is inside that counts? Isn't it for better or for worse? Sickness or health?

Well.. if there was a sure fire way to make cupid a marksman and shoot straight, I would have found it.

I need to be honest... I am a habitually amorous, chronically toxic, relationship junkie.
I've used my disease for sympathy a few times, but rarely was I aware I had. I have attracted good girls and bad girls, old fashioned, contemporary, hippie chicks, ivy league, old & young, and of many nationalities, and all of them have said, "MS isn't an issue."

I have even dated girls that swear they did not notice certain things about me. (Yet a blind man can see.) Now, I don't want to say that MS is the straw that broke the camel's back, but I believe it created concerns.

I think this is how my date/relationships/marriages go. I'm so freakin' awesome, very pretty, a little tall, and I am funnier than any guy you have ever known. ;-) Not to mention, a well traveled chef and musician, who sits down to pee (that's a entire chapter.)

I think out of the box and try to set the bar at an unattainable height. But just wait until I drop the bomb on them, and it goes like this:

Me: I gotta tell you something.
Her: **her shoulder slumps** Okay.
Me: I have a chronic progressive disease that affects my central nervous system.
Her: **as she slumps and takes a deep breath** Okay.
Me: I've been diagnosed for a very long time now.
Her: **as she shuffles in her seat** Okay.
Me: But it ain't that bad. No big deal.
Her: *sigh of relief* I was wondering about that!

Well, her response to my last statement is what really mattered the most. She takes it as, "It's not like I'm going to be dating a cripple. Because you look so good."

(Which is common in MS.)

Although her mind is racing, due to not truly understanding what MS is, or maybe their mother has a friend that has been devastated by MS. Now I go into the spin mode - rallying all the celebrities with MS, and how we are all different, and pointing out the various types.

Then I layer on my various achievements in food and music, and I talk in circles and I talk randomly and avoiding any dialogue concerning the bomb I just dropped. It usually goes so well - they are falling for me, I am falling for them... it has got to become a storybook romance. But I am waiting for that light bulb moment in her eyes, and I know exactly when it happens, and I've been in marriages and relationships with so many girls that I can set a clock by their eyes.

I have gotten very good at hiding some obvious issues. At that moment, that awakening, that potential relationship killing moment happens the moment I decide to stand up and I begin to walk.

So I guess the girl must make a decision...

Can I handle all of this guy's "amazing" traits or can I not risk my own lifestyle and what I want in my life?

I don't know why.. cupid shoots who the hell he wants to. I know who I am... and I know my limits from MS. But I know my MS will never weaken my heart.. and that's what counts right?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Walk

Ok I have this disease, it's chronic.. it's progressive and it could care less what I would like to do. It has it's own agenda...

Or does it?

Is it possible that I can just roll with the punches?

I did my research and listened to many folks, listened to doctors and such. But beyond the initial chronic attack... MS just ain't me.

I remember that after my diagnosis the confusion and fear I carried initially. What am I supposed to do? Buy a wheelchair and break it in? Am I supposed to forget all the goals of my life? Should I forget about fun.. love... adventure?! Gradually, after my diagnosis my body healed. Or did it? Or so I think. Gradually my mind settles and an old version of me returns.

It's old that one particular moment sticks out... it's the walk.
It's the first time I said NO to MS.

I had just left the pharmacy, I had just fallen in love with a pharmacy tech Shelley. But only from a distance. Kinda funny how the world turns. Afterwards I decided I must visit the grocery store across the street. At this point, I'm still driving, just not walking well. As I did each time, I looked for the closest abandoned buggy in the parking lot. I found that I could keep up the charades of a healthy, young man, by using the buggy as a walker and it did not expose my obvious weakness by using two walking canes.

But not today.
I guess somebody was actually doing their job and there wasn't a buggy to be found! So a decision had to be made....

BTW- for 18 years, I refused a handicap sticker. Those were for sick people... I just had MS? 

Back to the decision...
Tick Tock.. you just can't wait for a buggy to roll out to you. I can't go back to the pharmacy and stand googled eyed at the pharmacy tech that surely has not noticed me.

I just can't believe.. I'm kinda pissed off that somebody did their job and kept all the buggies in the store - WTF?

Don't they know that there are more uses for a buggy? And don't they know that I have MS and an obvious entitlement? Don't they know they are going to lose me as a customer? This massive/mega grocery store clearly hates handicap people... but they really, really hate me.

The only reason I'm there anyway is because of the pharmacy I chose. I chose the pharmacy because the pharmacy tech smiled and said hello.. and did not notice my canes... my limp.. not even my slurred speech. Don't they know, really they must, most likely I will fall walking into their grandiose grocery store. Don't they know?

How their callousness is going to destroy my dignity and self esteem? Hmmm..... BAM!
It hits me like a brick.

Let me keep it real for you.

The grocery doesn't care that I am only there because of the pharmacy. The pharmacy does not care that I am only there because of the tech. The tech does not care that I am only there because of my disease. MS does NOT give a rats a$$ what I feel or what I think... now.... dignity and self esteem are not tangible.

It's an internal process... and can only be developed by ourselves and no one can give it or take it away.

I got this! I get it. My life. My choices. My MS.. my choices. My misery.. my choice. My dignity.. my choice. My self esteem.. my choice. Mine. Mine. Mine.

So if you get anything, get this - it's very empowering. From that moment on, I have yet to walk into a store with a cane or a buggy, and yes, I have fallen, but you can't hear me hit the ground because I am laughing louder.

This was my walk and it was my choice.