It wasn't easy faking it through everyday like I had it all together; it takes an awful lot of energy actually. I'd been home for months and still couldn't reclaim my lower legs and my feet. I was taking a BIG fall at least once a day and I never knew how many pieces of glass my feet could attract until I couldn't perceive anything with the built-in warning system we all have. It was getting a little bit crazy! Bruises and cuts were daily occurrences now; bumps in the road felt like mountains...
My Dad kept suggesting a cane to make things easier for me and safer, but being of the same stock as him I kept pushing that suggestion away. A cane, in my mind, meant that somehow this change had some sort of permanency; as if I was inviting this symptom to hang around by buying it its own accessories. I did not have time to buy a cane and find somewhere permanent to file this into my life- it WOULD go away... Wouldn't it?
One day I rushed from the lower part of the salon to the spa which was located upstairs, inorder to retreave something or another a client had requested. I remember clearly telling my legs to move and keep up with me, but they just weren't there and before I even had a chance to realize that, I took a huge tumble down the three stone steps to the entrance of the spa. As I hit the floor, it was like I hit the sudden realization in that moment that I couldn't pretend anymore. My friends and co-workers came rushing to my aid having heard the thump of my landing. I was crying, uncontrollably. I kept trying to stand up but it just wasn't happening on my own accord. Between the tears and the numbness I couldn't figure out how to get myself up off of the floor. One of my co-workers who happened to have the aesthetic of a body builder he rushed up and in to pick me up off the floor and gently placed me on a bench meant for guests.
I was humiliated, deflated. I had to give into the fact that I couldn't do, once again, what I was used to do. I had some water and a really good cry and my boss asked me to "follow" him into the office, as he supported me with his free arm and took me to the back. We talked about what exactly was going on with me physically. My MS was not a secret having been at the salon for over 3 years and apprenticed under his trained eye. He could see the shakes and tremors that I was a pro at concealing and technically accounting for. He was like a big brother more than a boss, always looking out for me. He told me; he certainly didn't ask me, to take some time off. I reluctantly nodded, knowing that no work meant no money in my field. He picked up the phone and instructed the desk clerk to reschedule my week as I cried a little more.
I couldn't believe this. I couldn't believe that already this disease was inching it's way into my new found passion and career! I loved what I did and I had the potential to be EXTREMELY good and successful at it. Now I was mad; mad at myself, mad at my boss, mad at my body, mad at my doctors, mad at my sister, mad at the world! No one was safe, I was MAD! I took my bosses "advice" and took the week off. I went to see my neurologist again, this time he suggested more than a week off and some high dose steroids again. GREAT! Did I mention I was mad at him?!
I knew that leaving for more than a week was like occupational suicide to a new stylist trying to build a solid and loyal clientele. It was hard enough having to disclose my "situation" every time someone sat in my chair and started to stare at my slightly shaky hands as I worked my way through the hundreds of foils I was expertly placing in their hair...
My week became a month and my month became; short-term disability... Once again I was re-evaluating my life and my wants and my needs. In the meantime I went shopping for a cane with my Dad. We found a Lucite one that I thought of as being "invisible"... At least it was in my mind.