Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We All Have a Story - My Mother's Story

This is a guest post from my mother.

My daughter has been desperately attempting to have me write for her blog, so I finally put everything together. We all have an MS story and I wanted to share mine with you.

I was around 42 years old when I had come down with the worse case of pneumonia I had ever had. I was sick for days and unable to even care for my family. I had never been this sick, but I pushed myself to drive to Houston (nearly a 2 hour drive) to watch my daughter perform in the marching contest.

I never missed a performance and figured that I would be able to endure it. I was terribly wrong.

Soon after my bout with pneumonia, I had began tripping, falling, and breaking numerous dishes in the kitchen. I blew this off as being clumsy and needing to pay more attention to picking up my feet. I actually never put 2 & 2 together until after the MS diagnosis, my clumsiness wasn’t my fault at all, thank the good Lord!

A few short weeks pass by and the tingling began, you know the kind that you pray to go away? The kind that you try to move your arm in every position just to get some relief? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. However, I didn’t let it phase me, I am an active parent with two children, a sophomore in high school & one in college. I really didn’t have the time to worry.

Self Diagnosis: Pulled Muscle

I just told myself, this is age and I can’t let it get me down. Until, my hand began to get worse and worse, so bad that it drew up into a fetal position.

Of course, my family started to notice and encouraged me to see my doctor. (In the back of my mind, I knew something wasn’t right, but I was never prepared for what they told me)

Starting the dreadful process of visiting your PCP, being referred to a neurologist to be quickly sent to get an MRI because of the reality check he had given me.

A stroke? Wait, I’m 42, that’s impossible. I had made myself believe it was a pulled muscle.

What a blessing that the MRI results came back with no indication of a stroke, however, there were some other issues, and that’s when it became even more real.

Something was wrong, something that they didn't know yet. The feeling of the unknown in itself can scare you half to death. 

After going ‘round & ‘round with my insurance company, I had to have 3 MRIs of only a certain amount of inches at a time, as that is what the insurance would approve.

The day finally came for me to go back to the neurologist and visit about the results. We all know that if the results are good, they tell you over the phone, but if they aren’t they make you come in. So I knew I wasn’t getting any good news. That’s when he said it, “It looks like MS.”

I looked at him thoroughly confused and asked quietly “What is MS?”

After giving me the scientific run-down of this beast of a disease, I began the next step in the process where they test you for everything under the sun to rule out things like Lupus, Celiac, and third-world diseases that no one has ever heard about…

Because he was still uncertain, I ended up having a spinal tap, which was no picnic. Can you imagine the fear of not moving while they stick a huge needle into your spine, it’s probably one of the worse pains I have ever felt. 

This came back positive for MS and I was referred to my current MS specialist in Houston. It’s been nearly 9 years since my diagnosis and I fight this disease every day. Some days are good, and some days I just need to sleep.

I keep my mind focused on what is important in life and thank God everyday that MS isn’t something that will kill you, just a hurdle (or two) you must jump every day.