In honor of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, the HealthCentral website has published an edited excerpt of Uncomfortably Numb.
Here are the first few lines:
There’s something weird going on with my leg.
I’m interviewing a middle school band director for a book I’m working on, but something doesn’t feel right on my leg and I can’t stop thinking about it. I brush my left calf across my right shin to compare the sensations. The right leg is positively brimming with feeling by comparison.
Yeah, that’s not right.
After the interview is over, I walk to my car. Now that I’m alone, I can fully focus on how odd the skin on my left shin feels — how the hem of my linen capri pants feels, as though it’s rubbing evenly across my right shin and calf, but not so with my left. I close my eyes and focus on my legs.
Does it feel different on my left? Does it really? Is this just something strange that will go away?
Read the full excerpt here.
Image credit: HealthCentral.
To mark the beginning of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month, HealthCentral interviewed me about my memoir — published today! — and how multiple sclerosis has affected me since my diagnosis:
In 2014, Meredith O’Brien was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The author, teacher, wife, and mother had spent more than two years seeking help for symptoms that were scary, strange, and unpredictable.
In her new memoir, Uncomfortably Numb, O’Brien shares her emotional journey from health to illness to empowerment. We talked with her about her experience.
HealthCentral: What was it like coming to terms with an MS diagnosis?
Meredith O’Brien: It was a hard learning curve. Early on, I fought it because I was angry about the fact MS was impinging on my life and my ability to do things. I experienced a lot of fatigue, but I didn’t listen to my body. I continued loading my days with all these activities, and then paid the price of lying in bed afterward, feeling exhausted.
You can read the full interview here.
Image credit: Health Central.
I’ve written two new pieces about multiple sclerosis and chronic illness for your reading pleasure:
HealthCentral: Diagnosis story
How and why did it take two years from the initial onset of symptoms for the medical community to diagnose me with multiple sclerosis? This essay details my journey to learn something that would change the course of my life.
Chronic illness lit: Finding solace between two covers
Over on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS Connection blog, I paid homage to writers who’ve shared their stories of strength and struggle while living with chronic illnesses. When you’re feeling down, reading about the experiences of others can provide an existential balm.
Sometimes I just need to relate.
I need to see my experiences, my struggles confirmed instead of negated and misunderstood. I need to remind myself that I am not alone in my fatigue, in bouts of cognitive fuzziness, in my hair-pulling frustration.
I have been reading books written by those who are living with multiple sclerosis and other chronic illnesses. I’ve been quite voracious about it, collecting these tales as a way to see myself reflected, helping me feel seen and heard.
Works I noted as being inspirational include: the collection of stories Bodies of Truth: Personal Narratives on Illness, Disability, and Medicine; Sonya Huber’s Pain Woman Takes Your Keys, and Other Essays from a Nervous System, and Andrea J. Buchanan’s The Beginning of Everything: The Year I Lost My Mind and Found Myself. (My praise for Nicola Griffith’s So Lucky — a novel about a character with MS who solves a murder mystery — got edited out of the final piece.)
Read the rest of the essay here.
Image credits: HealthCentral and MS Connection.