My name is Julie and I am 32 years old. I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in October of 2006. About two months before my diagnosis I began to feel tingles down my neck and spine every time I tilted my head down. I thought I had just tweaked my neck or something. Then one day while I was at work I suddenly went numb down the entire right side of my face, neck, and down my left arm. I went to the ER where they did an MRI to see if I was having a stroke or a brain tumor. Nope. It turned out to be MS. I was in shock. I was totally terrified. I started to research MS a little and that just made me even more scared.
I saw my first neurologist within a month of my diagnosis. It was horrible. He gave me very little information and prescribed a drug for the MS that he said would have horrible side effects. Not to mention the fact that I had to self inject myself with a shot every day. It was then that I went into the denial stage. I decided that putting up with the disease had to be better than the awful treatment. I didn’t see another neurologist for a year. During that year the MS became very active. I had all the symptoms: vision issues, numbness, weakness, balance issues, etc. I finally had to move my family in with my mother because I was too ill to do it.
My family and friends suggested that I get involved in things like the Walk MS or other MS social network, but I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to face the fact that I was one of “those” people. I didn’t want to be faced with what the disease could do to my body. I didn’t want to be “crippled” I felt like the MS had taken away my entire life. I felt like a victim. Then one day I decided I didn’t want to be a victim anymore. I decided I wanted to be Xena. I was ready to be a warrior princess and fight MS. I began to really research the disease, how it works, and what I can do to fight it. I made an appointment with a good neurologist and began a plan for fighting the disease. I started taking disease modifying medications. I learned how to exercise and how to eat in ways that would help rather than harm my situation.
Here I am, eight years later, a brand new woman. It has been three years since my last major MS flair. My most recent MRI shows shrinking of existing lesions and no new lesions. I have lost 90 lbs. I have feeling in all of my limbs and I can see out of both eyes. I am attending school to get my BA degree. I sleep well and have good mobility. I work with an excellent team of doctors, and am no longer afraid of treatment ideas. I am involved in several MS social networks and plan to lead a Walk MS team in Seattle this spring. Having MS doesn’t make me a victim. Having MS doesn’t make me weak. Having MS has taught me that I am STRONG and that I SHINE!
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.
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.