Putting March to bed



March started with my MS grumbling away.

Quite how much of this was in my head is difficult to say – but for several years I have had MS relapses in March, so I was watching the month like a hawk.

And although the saying goes that a watched pot never boils – this rather misses the fact that, if you’re watching a pot carefully, you can see every little change in the water’s surface, and every little ripple is a potential simmer.

I had tiresome pins and needles – especially at night – and was struggling to focus on my work, and on the screen I was meant to be working at.

Both possibly just indirect symptoms of a wider anxiety and nothing to do with MS at all (?) – who knows….


On 6th March I rode in a local bike race, the “Chippenham Hilly”. The headline news was that I finished – and afterwards felt a nice euphoric glow of vaguely-competitive endorphins (rather than the blurred vision vertigo I had feared).

The fact that I finished 28th, I must face, is of no interest to anyone except for myself. I’m going to have to consign it to my own personal memory bin (alongside that time I holed out a 7-iron in 2008; and scored a first time volley for Cockfosters FC under-16s, in what must have been sometime in the previous century). Never to be mentioned in polite company again.


Then March started to take its usual turn.

Over the next fortnight I had 5 days off work.

I moped about complaining of vertigo and incessant tiredness; and towed my same old line about my vision “not feeling right”.

I started going to bed earlier and earlier, having more and more broken night’s sleep, with cold sores and buzzing legs.


Towards the end of the month, my project at work finished and I saw a light in the tunnel – a week of pressure-free work. My little piece of the project-jigsaw had been delivered in time (just!), and it was now up to more senior bosses to discuss and present, whilst I kept my head-down – my job description became largely not getting in their way.

Because of this, or just a pleasant coincidence of timing, I almost immediately started feeling better.

Certainly the correlation has made me re-visit the extent to which I exist under too high a level of “normal-stress” – a pressure release at work seemed to trigger an improvement in my condition almost overnight.

Any adult, any adult with children, or any adult with MS would say that life can be pretty tiring at times – I’m afraid that work isn’t quite an optional choice just yet.


Anyway…. I immediately started riding my bike to excess – with growing delight that I seemed to be fit. Healthy. And, quite suddenly, MS free.

So, although there had been a dodgy fortnight, looking back at it now, I can say that this is the best March-health I have been in for over 7 years.

Of course I don’t really know why. Luck perhaps? But I’m realistically optimistic (if that’s a term?!) that I seeing some of the benefits of my latest chemotherapy treatment from last year. I very much hope that’s the case.


Certainly the last week or so has been hugely buoying, but one irony is not lost on me:

As I rode my bike last week, I was once again going to bed early.

And my legs were feeling pretty fatigued.

And, as it took a while for the adrenalin of those rides to wear off, I wasn’t sleeping brilliantly.

But I was really, really happy.

Maybe “good” and “bad” are not so removed, just dictated by the eye of their beholder.