I am honored to be the new Multiple Sclerosis Power Writer here on Fight Like A Girl Club. I have a passion for raising MS Awareness and for being a face of MS with a positive outlook on this disease.
I grew up familiar with the disease but never imagined that I would be living it one day. My dad was diagnosed with MS about 18 years ago. In November, 2008, my personal MS journey began. I started having what I called “dizzy spells” but I wasn’t really dizzy. It’s just the best word to describe what I was feeling. The best way to explain it is the feeling you get when you’re crossing your eyes and how it feels in your brain. I don’t know if that feeling is the same for everybody but that’s what it felt like to me. At first, it was happening 2-3 times an hour and then became more frequent. Eventually, it was happening every 7-8 minutes, all day. I could time it like clockwork. If I was writing or talking when one happened, I would slur my speech or not be able to write properly. I finally realized that something was happening in my brain that felt like it could be something serious and that scared me enough to go to the doctor. I went to my family physician on December 5, 2008 and he immediately got me in to see a local neurologist the same day. They thought I was having seizures or mini-strokes.
Thus began the series of tests, doctor appointments, hospital stays and MRI’s. Once the doctor realized my dad has MS, he started testing for MS. I told him I wanted the fastest way to a diagnosis and to find out what was wrong with me. So many people go years without a diagnosis and my heart goes out to them because the unknown is sometimes scarier than the diagnosis. I had numerous MRI’s of my brain and spine and then had a spinal tap that confirmed the diagnosis.
Diagnosis of MS can be a very tricky thing. MS is so unpredictable and it is one of those diseases that is very different in each and every person with so many different symptoms. I was “lucky” in a way that I had a diagnosis very quickly and was immediately started on MS injections.
The first year was pretty hard as I was finding this “new normal” to my life. Having young children, lots of pain and no energy left me feeling pretty lost most of the time. It was a struggle to get up and go to work every day and to try and “be ok” in front of my kids. My brain felt like it was turning to mush and my legs felt like jell-o. I slept during my lunch hours and came home only to crash on the couch. I had lots of problems finding the correct word to use when talking or writing. I saw lots of specialists and was really sick of doctors within a few months.
Currently, I am doing well. I’ve had two relapses since my diagnosis but currently am just loving life and making the most of each day. I’ve learned a lot on this journey. I’ve now been living with MS for 2 years and 1 month (as I write this). I don’t know what the future may hold or that I’ll even be able to walk one month from now. I do know that I have MS but it doesn’t have control over me. We can’t choose what happens to us but we certainly can choose how we choose to react to it and how we use it to help others and make a difference. I plan on making the most of every single day and showing this disease who’s boss!
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.