Where do you even begin when someone asks you how MS affects your body? Do you simply work your way systematically down from the tip of your head to the tip of your toes? Do you list symptoms in order of severity or annoyance? Or do you start with the most quirky and fun symptoms and gradually move on to the most sinister ones? However you present the list, there is no question that it will be a LIST. Multiple Sclerosis is called ‘Multiple’ for a reason, and not just because of the literal meaning, many scars. In the past I have typed up a list of all the symptoms I can possibly think of that I have experienced. It’s a long and boring list that I add to now and again when something new pops up. It’s rare, however, for me to add a new symptom that is in fact one of my OLDEST symptoms, one that I simply hadn’t associated with MS…
OK, ahem, there’s no pretty way of saying this, so I’m just going to come out and say it.
I’ve been a closet dribbler now for about a decade, first noticing that I was waking up to a wet pillow each morning around the time that my body was having a pins & needles party and doing all sorts of other crazy stuff. And yet, I never linked it to MS until I read a Facebook post last week. The MSer admitted to drooling at night and asked if anyone else had the same issue. My hand shot straight up in the air, ‘I do! Me! I dribble too!’ It was one of those moments when the pieces of a puzzle suddenly click into place to reveal the answer to a riddle that you didn’t even know needed solving. Feelings of relief flowed through me. It’s not just me. I’m not alone!
Let’s be frank. This is a rather embarrassing symptom and one that is, perhaps, easy to laugh at. While drooling in adulthood can occur without any underlying medical concerns, it does appear to be linked to many neurological disorders including Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s and, of course, MS. It can also be a sign of Dysphagia – which can be very serious indeed, linked, as it is, to difficulties with swallowing and breathing. As always, I find it best not to get caught up in all the terrifying possibilities that this condition can throw up. It’s far better to try to accept what is actually going on and avoid getting swept up with the ‘what if’ brigade – easier said than done! Anyway, I’ll simply list this symptom under ‘annoying’ for now and hope that it stays there.
Dribbling. Huh. What the heck DOESN’T MS affect?