MS and Me
My story with MS begins years before I was diagnosed in 2002 at the age of twenty-eight. The exact time in my life MS took root is unknown. It could have been when I was an adolescent and had abnormal back problems or at age eighteen when I thought I had carpel tunnel or maybe since I was two. By the time I was diagnosed, I had already been through temporary paralysis twice and taught myself to walk again. I learned later they were relapses because of having MS. At the time, I only had what the doctors diagnosed me with and my gut to help process what was happening to me. I was twenty-one when I had my first relapse and I was twenty-six with the second. They diagnosed me the first time with a rare disease called French Polio. The second relapse they determined the problem was in my head especially because I was pregnant. I knew the doctors were wrong, there was some reason my body was freaking out.
When my daughter was two, I hurt so bad I could barely keep up with her. I knew there was something definitely wrong with me and I was tired of being tossed from one specialist to the next. My instinct pointed a finger at my back. They had never looked there in all the seven years of prodding and poking me.
My next doctor visit, mind you a family practice doctor, I decided to perform an “I care about my Health” sit down in the middle of the examining room. I must have been quit a sight cross-legged on the floor with my arms folded and pure determination pouring from me. The look on her face was unforgettable. She made sure to say she didn’t think it would show anything but I got a MRI. Low and behold, red flags popped up on my spine and I was diagnosed with Relapse Remission Multiple Sclerosis after some more tests. Finally, the answer to what had been happening to me for all these years.
At the age of 31, I had my third and strongest relapse that did damage to my limbs and nerves. Since then I have been on a mission never to have another relapse if I can do anything about it. When I was 33, the time came for me to have to quit work and apply for disability. It was hard for me not to be working outside of the home. I needed to be doing something with my mind but all I could think about was bringing money into the household. It took awhile for me to crawl out of the money pit and come to the conclusion the time was right for me to write the books I always had wanted to write but never had the energy or time. I began writing poetry again too. I have learned that poetry helps me cope with all the changes in my life due to MS.
That was five years ago, my daughter is now twelve and I still write on a daily basis. I have finished one of the books and formed another with my poems about MS. I am very happy to report I turned 36 without a relapse breaking the pattern that played out every five years for me. Recently, I turned 38 still relapse free. Today, I walk with a cane and have some limitations that affect daily living but as a whole, I am a very lucky woman.
Updated January 2012