Dawna Austin
The last two weeks, I was starting to feel a little better. I was still feeling terrible, but "better" in that I didn't need to be laying around but was still tired and weak. My jaw actually had started to feel better and it wasn't aching anymore. There was still some numbness but it had gotten much better.

My little Julianna had her 5th birthday on May 17th. That was a very busy weekend. A few days later, I realized I was crashing again. My numbness in my face picked up and the discomfort in my face increased to being the entire left side of my face. I couldn't sleep well because of the pain (for lack of a better word .. it's not really painful, but severely achy). The weakness in my right leg has increased, and with each day I seem to be getting weaker.

This year has been a rough year. Each day seems to bring more struggles. My spirit is broken. I can't seem to accomplish the most normal things. My life has regressed to taking care of my kids (schooling etc.), not cleaning the house (no energy) and not seeing friends.. I just don't have the energy to go out.

It's hard fighting guilt, because my illness brings such stress to our family. I just so long to feel nothing .. no pain. I long to play with my kids, to have the emotional strength for another day. Sometimes pain is loud. It clouds all you do. You try to focus on the beautiful flower outside, but the shooting pain in your leg screams for attention. Wearing shoes proves to be difficult, because it just feels like an alligator is trying to cut off the circulation to your foot. My body is so sensitive even wearing clothes is uncomfortable. You sometimes search for the END button, but realize it's not there.

I posted a picture on Facebook recently, which is exactly how I seem to feel. When I try to make sense of my world, it feels like it's all messed up. This is a great visual of what seems to go on in my head when I try to figure out where to go from here. It's all just chaos.

Dawna Austin
On March 27, 2012 I woke up in the middle of the night by throbbing aches in my left jaw. This was the start of a period of ill feelings. This numbness and achiness in my jaw continued and increased slowly over time. To this day, I still do not know what is causing it. It could be the MS, but one can't always blame every malady on MS. Several weeks ago (April 19), I was at home with a few people over and I felt that horrible feeling in my body -- the one where you can feel the rapid onset of the decline of your physical state. I did not sleep much that night and since then, I've been struggling with my daily life. My energy level has been minimal. My ability to cope with lots of people around has been minimized -- by evening, all I can do is just sit around and vegetate. I do venture out, but it requires such energy and concentration to engage the world, that it wipes me out even more the next day. My entire body (skin) feels numb (rather than just my arm or leg), it hurts to touch my scalp, my head/migraine pressure seems to have decided to stop renting and move in full-time, and overall the rest of me just aches and continually sucks any energy remaining. I tried Gabapentin for a few days, but I noticed my restless legs in the evening going CRAZY .. so on the chance that is what was setting it off, decided to stop. I went to a camera class last night. Being in the evening, I was already exhausted and I found concentrating very difficult. At one point, all the people in the room were talking in small group conversations, filling the room with too many distracting voices. Oh how I wished at that point for the tall wooden wardrobe to be beside me -- where I could quietly get out of my chair, sneak into that wardrobe and into a quiet and peaceful (and snowy!) Narnia. Unfortunately, this is the world I am in ... and try as I might, I cannot change it -- cannot escape it, nor can I use strong will or determination to push it aside. I left that meeting completely worn out -- tired. There are times when you have the emotional determination of Job, suffering through life yet pushing through and seeing the blessings around you. Every once in awhile, it seems as though all the bullets that come your way make so many holes that your vessel will no longer hold any more strength or resolve. I found myself waking this morning, wishing I were 90 years old.. at least then I'd be close to the end. The days are long, but when you can at least feel semi-normal, you can manage it. When your body is working so hard to tear you down, and you feel like an alien with skin, it's just so hard to muster up any will to keep fighting. I just want it all to stop. I just want to cry and keep crying. But I can't. Responsibility. It's not the problems we face that define us, but how we choose to handle them. I feel like at times when I'm weakest, I do not cope well. How does one get to the point when you can hold strength to keep going at low points? How can I choose to handle this "problem" in a way that will be an encouragement to others? Nagging thoughts in my head also tell me, "what if it stays like this for the rest of your life?". I just can't even imagine how horrible... At this point I'm living one minute at a time, cancelling engagements and watching life from within the fish tank -- trying to remain as positive as I can. It is a war within.