September 2004 and my first relapse of any significance.  I already had some loss of sensation in my fingertips, but it was rather surprising to be soaping myself in the shower and discovering I couldn’t feel the sponge pretty much anywhere from my boobs down.

Hmm.  Well, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t expected, so I got on with my life as best I could.  A week passed, and I got used to feeling superficially numb over the major part of my body.  After twelve weeks, the novelty kinda wore off a bit.

My consultant said steroids were the order of the day, so in December 2004 I had three lots of IV methylprednisolone.  Ellie’s top tip: make sure you bring plenty of boiled sweets.  Methylpred. leaves a *foul* taste in your mouth.  Six weeks of a steadily decreasing dose of oral steroids followed, and by April 2005 I was stable enough to begin beta-interferon therapy.

It’s one of the idiosyncrasies of this disease that you can pretty much choose which of the four common DMDs (disease modifying drugs) you take.  I opted for Avonex.  It was an intramuscular injection, so quite a big needle, but it was only once a week.

Once a week for three years.  After the whole “Hey, I’m injecting myself – how cool is that?” wore off, I found myself struggling with the injections.  I resented the boxes of syringes in the fridge next to the tomatoes and the milk.  I resented having to hurt myself and make myself bleed for the sake of ‘treatment’.  I resented the flu-ey side effects that were supposed to fade after about twelve weeks but which continued to make me feel like shit after every injection unless I swallowed a couple of ibuprofen.

Maybe I wasn’t quite as Zen about this as I thought I was, and I was really resenting my MS.