I was diagnosed with MS on June 17, 2013, and I thought my life as I knew it would come to a halt. But the opposite happened to me. I grew as a person. I got stronger mentally and physically.
It was a Friday night, June 7th to be exact, around 1 am. I had woken up with serious pain in my lower back, and when I went to stand up, I could not feel anything from my hips down. I went completely numb and feel down. After trying to sit in the bath to relax, because I had no clue what was going on, my boyfriend has woken up, and we went to the ER. I was there for about 6 hours with good medicine to help with the pain. They did three MRI’s, and when doing them, they found one tiny, tiny lesion on my spine and called the neurologist on call. He looked at it and couldn’t confirm it was MS and was not confident it was because it was so small. I remember when they told me that Multiple Sclerosis was brought up, I broke down. I couldn’t even see straight or feel all the emotions running through my body. I was just numb.
That next week, I saw five different doctors and did all the tests, blood work, more MRIs, x-rays, etc. On June 13–the day before my 25th birthday–I had the lumbar puncture done, and on June 17th, the neurologist that ordered the lumbar puncture called and told me I had MS. It was what I thought was the worst day of my life. So I found the best-of-the-best neurologist here in Denver who works with the Rocky Mountain MS Society and Rocky Mountain Neurologist team. I spoke to him about the next steps, learned about the drugs, etc. However, I decided to go the eastern medicine way, and I was on a very strict and hard routine of natural supplements every hour, a very hard diet, IV treatments, cleanses, etc. He literally told me he could “cure” me. Now, I look back and think of how bad of a lie that was! There is no cure!!! But at that point, I was desperate for anything, for any hope! I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on this doctor. During the treatment with the eastern doctor, I had the worst and most painful flare-up I have experienced so far. My whole left side of my body went numb. I was very fatigued, weak, mentally hurting, and I was stiff and cold all around my neck and shoulders. I later found out that is what we call that the “MS hug.”
Back to the neurologist I went. He told me if I did not get on treatment to slow the progression of this disease, I would only get worse, and that could lead to me being wheelchair-bound. I immediately said, sign me up. I started Copaxone, which was a daily shot I had to give to myself. I started to feel a little better, however, I was still experiencing the symptoms from the flare-up. So I was put on an IV steroid treatment for four days at home during Thanksgiving 2013. It helped, and I slowly started to feel my left side again. The MS hug went away, and I started to get my energy back. After being on Copaxone, I had my yearly MRI, and the test showed that the disease was progressing, so they switched my drug to Tecfidera and put me on another steroid treatment. Tecfidera is a pill I take twice a day. The first three months, the side effects of the drug were very hard and painful. But it was worth sticking through it because on October 27, 2016, I was told that my disease had not progressed from my annual MRI results.
I changed my lifestyle. I now exercise daily, eat healthy with mostly plants, and do small weight-lifting, yoga, and mediation. I’m now one year and ten months in, without having a flare-up. I still experience the side effects of MS, like fatigue, shooting nerve pain in my feet, numbness in my legs, aches in my legs, and days that feel like my legs are 50 pounds. MS has affected my life in so many ways, good and bad, but I will never give up fighting or living my life. I have faced this head-on from the beginning with the help of my friends and family by my side. There have been some very big bumps in the road, but I get up every day, especially on those hard days, and keep moving and reminding myself that “I got this.” My good life became a great life, and I cherish every minute and every day I breathe! I will NOT let this disease stop me from living a beautiful, strong, happy, grateful, long life. We can do anything we put our minds to, and I’m doing just that! I will continue to show MS who’s boss, so I say, BRING IT ON!
My wish is that no one ever has to hear those four words again: “You have Multiple Scleroses.” I have Hope that there will be a cure, and until then, I will continue to fight and help bring awareness!
The informational content of this article 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.