Thursday, September 16, 2010

Straw, meet camel!

So the last few weeks have been quite MS-centric, with a dull headache for four weeks now, one PCP who still thinks it's a "localized headache", my neuros who are trying to get MRIs and MRAs done (that last for an aneuyrsm), blurry left eye vision with no apparent physical cause, and some shakes.

You know, typical crap.

Then, to top off weeks of hell at work, I get a call from my oldest brother that, following a serious manic episode at the end of a long week of mania, my sister ended up in the emergency room and from there went to a "center". She's bipolar.

Someone said "damn, she can't let you get the last word on anything!" I laughed, because I still think my melting brain beats her chemically unbalanced one any day. But honestly, I'm still not sure what to do with this. It has hit me harder than my own MS diagnosis. She was there with me, and we both did the thing my family does-- "uh... so okay, what do we do now?"

For me, research helps me think through what is happening. Everything I read helps to explain a lot about my sister, if hindsight is 20/20. Sure, she'll be on meds for the rest of her life, likely, but I'm not worried about that. I guess, I'm worried about how it will feel to know my sister isn't really totally capable of being leaned on. I haven't leaned on her for much lately, but in the past, especially after our mom died, we spoke a lot. I think this last time I spoke to her I let my own impatience get in the way and disagreed too much while she was still a bit manic.

Oh dear. Why is there so little effort, compared to things like cancer, say, to help resolve the foundational problems of the brain? I mean, I know we only have our brain to know our brain with, but the brain just hasn't been made sexy enough. We have no ribbon or bracelet, and yet... and yet.

Yeah, I buy pink. I wear my orange MS band. I'll wear a bipolar band if one exists, but the thing about issues of the brain is that somehow we seem so afraid to share and talk. Everyone seems to have an opinion, but we don't talk about what it would mean to really explore the brain, map out some diseases through PET scans, etc.

So, let's really think about a brain symbol campaign! How about shirts with diseased brains on them? A few with MS lesions? I'll offer my MRI scans!