I had my annual trip to see my neurologist in Beaumont Hospital in the last week.
The anxiety that I felt that morning is deflected towards the imminent arrival of a Spanish student, getting the children up and out for their last day in school, a thank you present for teacher, the traffic in Dublin and finding a parking space. I try to read a novel that I started a few weeks ago and haven't made much progress on, but the words swim before my eyes. I'm not left waiting long. It's a different neurologist this time, but he has already read my file before I arrive.
'Good news', he says, in a soft Kerry accent. 'The lesions that presented last year have gone'. He showed me the MRI images and compared them with last years. Even my untrained eye can see that there is, pretty much, nothing to see. I'm not the best at the 'science bit' on MS, but I probably knew previously that lesions could disappearing, but I don't recall. When I heard last year that I had three new lesions, including one on my spine, I was terribly upset. As the year played out rather dramatically for me, with stress levels off the radar, I was worried that I could have a significant flair up. But no, no flair up and now, it appears, three less lesions.
I have tried to mind myself as best I can. I've taken my weekly shitty, poxy injections. The neurologist said that the drugs I am on have been in use for 40 years now and are successful for lots of people with MS. No all people though. I am one of the lucky ones. I ask the neurologist if recent incidents of memory loss could be attributed to MS. He says 'no', and reminds me of what stress can do to the body, 'you need to take care of yourself'.
I get bloods taken and the nurse is kind. We chat and I tell her my news. She's pleased genuinely pleased for me. She pulls the curtain around my cubicle in the Blood Clinic and we do some relaxation exercises. I feel like giving her a hug as I leave.
My illness in chronic, with no known cure. I know that no new lesions don't necessarily mean no symptoms and offer no promise of further progression in the future, but for now, I feel on top of the world. I leave Beaumont Hospital, with a cream doughnut and a strong coffee, walking past the patients in wheelchairs, relishing every puff of their cigarettes under the No Smoking' signs.
I'm so happy that I feel like making an announcement on the lunchtime news. I phone my mother and tell my work colleagues, but I pause after that.
Because I write, I have connected with many people through that platform, through the MS Society and with my brother who also has MS. Many of the updates I receive from them are personal stories about new symptoms (although usually delivered in an optimistic, we-will-nail-this-fecker-yet attitude), research, advocacy and information on disease management (something I'm not so hot on).
I feel awkward, almost guilty, about announcing that I have good news, although I know that each of them will be happy for me as I would for them. My news comes at a time when there are huge developments in treatments and hopefully, very soon, a cure.
In the meantime, I'm feeling healthier and happier than I have in years. For now, I'll bask in that.