The only way that I can describe the past 9 months is that it's been an incredible journey.
It started with an undeniable awareness that came over me last September when I suddenly knew that something had changed in my body. It was so apparent, yet invisible to all around me. To be honest, at that time, I had the feeling that whatever it was, could possibly be something that would end up taking my life. As if I was beginning to experience "the end" to my existence. I began working to come to terms with my spirituality.
I would later learn that this feeling is called Malaise
I scheduled an appointment with my family physician, whom I consider to be a good personal friend. He has cared for me and my family for over 20 years. I didn't explain my overall feeling to him, but instead shared with him some of the symptoms that I was experiencing. They were so mild at this point, that nothing seemed serious to either of us. but he made some recommendations on what I could do to help with them.
By January, the symptoms became a little more serious and I decided to pay him another visit. It was time for my yearly physical anyway, so it made sense for me to have blood tests, etc and we could discuss what I was experiencing.
I had, for all intents and purposes, lost the ability to hear anything except distorted sounds in my left ear. What's more, my inner ear began to feel numb, as if something was lodged deep in my ear. And whatever it was created an uneasy feeling of dizziness or vertigo. My ear looked clear and from what I described, it sounded to him that I might have some fluid in my middle ear. He suggested that I try an over the counter antihistamine to help it drain. It made sense, so I tried it immediately.
Instead of getting better, the dizziness continued to rapidly get worse so I called my doctor"s office to schedule another visit and was told that I should instead go immediately to a nearby emergency room. Because the symptoms that I was having with my ear were on the same side of my head as a brain hemorrhage that I experienced in a bike crash that I'd had about a year and a half prior, it seemed possible that I was experiencing another hemorrhage. There's something called "Post Concussion Syndrome" and it made perfect sense that I had it.
After an intense 6 hours of tests that included X-Rays, an MRI, C.T. Scan, Blood Work and and much more, nothing turned up that would explain the symptoms. Over the next few weeks my trips to specialists and the resulting tests still revealed nothing.
I followed up again with another visit to my doctor who referred me to a Neurologist to see if he could use all of the info that had been assembled to figure out what he could do to help me.
The Neurologist was very thorough with his questions, asking some questions as if he already knew what my answer would be. I immediately trusted him and left with the feeling that I was in good hands. His last words as I left his office were: "Your brain is fine, we just have to figure out why the messages from your brain aren't reaching the rest of your body." He had written orders for more blood tests, another MRI and a spinal tap. Within two short weeks, his office called to schedule a follow up visit. I knew when I walked into his office that this was the moment of truth.
His way of breaking the news to me was a bit unusual, but at the same time, it was I suppose, as easy a way to approach it as any I can think of.
"Your tests have uncovered some remarkable results "By what we've found, you should really be a 24 year old girl." "You have Multiple Sclerosis".
As bad as that might sound, it was actually a relief. I was prepared to hear much worse. From what I had discovered by researching my symptoms online, MS was one of the most desirable diagnoses that I could hope for - and MS will not kill me!
While there is no cure, I've learned that there are so many treatments available for managing it today, and so much available support, that I'm convinced that my future still looks very bright. And with the amount of support that I've already experienced, it's very clear that, as my Neurologist has said: "There has never been a better time to have MS." Another strange choice of words, I'll admit, but so very true.
So here we are my friends, I'm at the beginning of this new journey. Much more to come in future posts as I battle this unwanted but manageable foe.