23 February 2008

A Past Life, But only a Shadow

Yes, I know. It's been ten days since I last wrote. Truth be told, I haven't had the desire or the inclination to even "pen" my name. Being a "summer" child, winter is never my best time of year. All of my craziness seems to come out. It was most prevalent during college. Nothing is more depressing than having to walk to class in the cold, then come home, do homework and then do the same thing all over again.

Volleyball always kept me grounded. Only a genuine love for the game would make someone get up at 5 in the morning drive two hours, play until 7 at night sometimes, and then party till all hours in the night. While my volleyball career, to this date, not as long as I would have liked, it was successful. It's broken down into two areas: indoor and outdoor. I started off playing doubles and moved to indoor to keep my skills up for outdoor. While outdoors it's just my partner and I; indoors had five other people. Five different skill levels, 5 different, personalities, 5 different temperaments. I could write an entire paper on what I hate about indoor volleyball.

Keeping it short, I became disenfranchised a long time ago. When the myelitis started last February, I had an excuse to medically remove myself from a team that I really didn't want to be on. I had no idea what was going on and the guy gene was preventing me from going to a doctor. Hindsight and all, If I went then, one steroid treatment probably would have done the trick.

I haven't been a part of the volleyball world for a while. Just like any circle where everybody know everybody else, stories get around. My face only made occasional appearances and then completely dropped out last July. I worked out for the first time in a month and when I saw that I had a voicemail from somebody I haven't talked to in a while. Made me an offer to play on a couple of co-ed teams.

Outside of my family and circle of friends, nobody really knows. It's not that I have a problem telling people. I don't. When your not part of that world any more, the chances aren't there. I've known this person for quite a while, so I got the truth out there from the start. Like most people, transverse myelitis doesn't register. Mention MS, and the ceiling just feel in. The MS isn't preventing me from playing it's the myelitis. I went through all of the things that suck. "The Steve that you knew is no more and I don't know if he's ever going to come back. Compliments of all compliments, and it's not the first time I've heard it, "You should play anyway because you would still be better than most people out there."

It's not totally a case of lack of skills, although they are certainly lacking not having played in 8 months. It's a case of looking foolish. I was two days into the first round of steroids and tried to play soccer. Mind you, the myelitis was pretty severe. Simple things that I had been doing for years suddenly became difficult. It was only two on two and I knew my friends would never laugh or anything and I know they wouldn't pity me to my face. I went for a running throw in and completely lost my balance and ended up on my face before I knew what happened.

To hear: "Oh how the mighty have fallen . . ." would be tough to bear. Of all the things that I've read from people that have MS, it's that they don't want to be pitied. My standing rule is that don't ask how I'm feeling. Ask about myelitis, ask about MS, but not how I'm feeling. First, I get annoyed with it because everyone skips over the myelitis and goes straight to the MS. Understandable. The unknown age of scar tissue in my brain and no presentation of symptoms can lead to one being annoyed with "How are you?" or "Why are you tired?" The last question probably sets me off more than anything. Although, not normally a nap taker, sometimes I just get tired.

This has been a longer rant then I had planned, but I had to get it off my chest. I go back to the neurologist on 3 March. Do I go back on steroids or not? Stay tuned.

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