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Jessica’s Story (Multiple Sclerosis)

Jessica's Story MSI 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!

Jessica
Colorado
Submitted 03/25/2016

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.

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9 comments

  1. I was 27 years old when my son was born in 2000. Six months after his birth, I went numb from the waist down and had problems walking. Took two years to get an official diagnosis of MS. My husband also has MS. He was diagnosed in 1987 and we met in college in 1990. When we heard those words, “you have MS” in 2002, I thought the doctors were crazy. But, life went on. In 2012 I heard those 3 little words, “you have cancer”. Breast cancer, Stage III, T2, cancer metastasized to my lymphnodes. I had to stop taking my shots for my MS, Rebif, as it stimulates cancer cells. I had to decide, do I let the cancer take over or take the chance my MS will stay in remission? I’d rather keep the cancer away. Life goes on. Every day is a gift. Never give up.

    • Brenda, my heart hurts very deep for you and your husband. Talk about strength!!!! You are one tough woman. I will have you in my heart and will be thinking and praying for you and your family. We all have our battle wounds, but we must support every fighter, so do know I’m fighting for you and everyone battling an illness. Keep staying strong! F Cancer!!!

  2. I was diagnosed January 1st 2009 with MS I understand completly where you aee coming from. Just remember MS doesn’t have you. YOU have MS and you will come out ahead! 🙂

    • Thank you Tiffney! MS is clearly not for the weak!!! I continue to hear from so many strong woman and its very inspiring.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story! You are an amazing fighter! MS messed with the wrong girl!

  4. Brigitte Estelle

    Dear Jessica,

    As I am waiting for the train to take me back home, I am rereading your story, quite inspiring and a great reminder to give yourself a break through out your day and remember to … …. to breathe!

    Yesterday, I walked into our basement to walked into a small flood. Argh!! All alone I fixed the water pump, clear and cleaned while my husband is at work thanking me but laughing as well at my choice of words (after 7 hoursI was exhausted)! Then the next day, to bumped into a wall , burn my sweet potatoe pie, burnt my chocolate cupcakes and two fingers. I was so mad, impatient and needed of a break! You see, I am clumsy as well!! Hahaha!!
    Oh Lord, if you are laughing then I am happy, I tell you after all that mess I then read your inspiring story, your great and wonderful story , your strong attitude , “BRING IT ON “! HAHA !! Love your choice of words, man those are fighting words.

    So I took my needed break and took the train to town in honor of you my dear Jennifer !! I took the time to adjust and find solace in my moment and smiled and watched the geese fly over the lake, felt the sun warming my face in the cold air!
    JESSICA you are a pretty neat person to hold on to a beautiful smile through thick and thin, I am inspired by your strength, determination, patience and most of all your self confidence! I have written about my sister in the Non Hodgkins Lymphoma under the story Brigitte Estelle writes… her name is Diane , I would be so pleased if that you can spare a moment and share your wisdom of courage, love and to continue to be a devoted fighter like you !
    I know for sure that if you made a Canadian so inspired by your letter you must have touched alot more people out there and certainly in this group of fighters in this great club !
    So cheers to you my friend and keep writing we need more HEROES like you !!!!

    ♡KEEP FIGHTING LIKE A GIRL♡

    With love from Canada,
    Brigitte Estelle
    Xxx
    *** I would love to leave you with 3 great books the first one is recipes that heal, author is quite inspiring herself, Julie Daniluk.
    ***https://juliedaniluk.com/books/meals-that-heal-inflammation-by-julie-daniluk.html

    ***yumuniverse@gmail.com by Heather Crosby

    ***ohhowsheglows.com by Angela Liddon

    *** Remember one thing Jessica you may have MS but it certainly does not have you!!
    God bless you and your family and to all who are dear to you!!

    BRAVO MON AMIE!

  5. Brigitte Estelle

    Oooops!!! * above message supposed to be ” in honor of Jessica “!
    Sorrry,
    from Canada Brigitte Estelle

  6. Reading this story, I was so inspired by your strength through it all. I am personally going through some health problems myself. Lots of random numbness and tingling all over, some blurry vision. But the neuro I go to keeps saying it’s just my anxiety. All I want is to find out what is causing all my problems, but I just have to put it in gods hands and know it will all be figured out with time. I had an MRI done of my brain and it came back clear. Do you think one needs to be done on my spine as well to check??

  7. Hi Im penelope, and have had m s since 2012,I have primary progessive ms I am now in a wheelchair but hay ho you have to get on with it Im 67 and have had a good life with 4 great children unfotunately my husband passed away at 42 he had a brain hem .But life must go on just think there is always someone worse off penelope..

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