It could be worse

I just had my two year anniversary of being diagnosed with MS. That day totally changed my life. I worked in radio and absolutely love it!! I did event promotions, sales and live feeds. I thought I had the world in the palm of my hand. And then it happened.

I was a hour from home and all of a sudden it felt like two lightning bolts struck the top of my head and went down the left side of my body. Then I felt like really hot and pulled over and took off my winter jacket and sweater and opened the window to let the 10 degree cold air in. I then got a heck of a headache and looked in the mirror and noticed the slight bells-palsy that was taking over my face. I was out in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, so I sat for a while as the headache calmed down some and went home. I decided to go to bed and call the doctor in the morning since I was feeling ok. The next day I went to the hospital and spent 9 hrs having tests and then finding out I had a TIA and that I had MS.

The hour drive home by myself from the hospital was rough. I cried, swore, hated everyone, cried again, and then decided I am going to have to suck it up and tell everyone in my family what was going on.

This was really hard to have to come to the reality that I, the strong one in the family, the one who was at everyone’s beck and call when they were sick and needed me. See I come from a family of six and I am the baby, but I was a EMT and so it came naturally for me to take charge of illnesses and support, and I was good at it.

I told my husband and my ex-husband first and they were both upset and had tons of questions that I couldn’t answer. Then I called my kids who were both in college and let them know that this was going to be changing a lot of things in our lives and that all I wanted was to dance at their weddings. Next was to talk with my parents who were 80 and 82. They did okay with it. My mom of course was visibly shaken and upset, where as my dad, who is like me, was a rock and said we will help you out and you will get through this. This was hard on my parents, because only six years earlier, my oldest brother passed away from a rare form of bone/blood cancer. Then it was on to my sisters who live close so we all got together and had my brother on speaker phone when I let them know I had MS. We cried and they said whatever I needed they would be there.

So I learned more and more about MS as I was going to my doctor and I thought well, I can do this, not a problem. See over the last 30 years I had a few other illnesses and problems. At 15, I was diagnosed with Lyme’s and was one of the earliest cases and they didn’t know what I had for a year and by then I was in a wheelchair and had memory and other problems when they finally diagnosed me, but it could have been worse. Then I had lots of surgeries… gallbladder, appendix, esophagus, stomach, intestine, colon, bladder, nose, jaw, throat to name a few. But I survived. I had three miscarriages, and stillborn twins, but it could have been worse. Was in a bad accident that broke eight ribs, fractured my pelvis, broke my leg, arm and nose… But it could have been worse.

Then I got the news. I was diagnosed with JCV. I also have optic neuritis in my left eye. So my meds were changed and changed and changed for 7x. within the first year. Nothing seem to work, then I started getting worse symptoms. With changing my eating habits, quit smoking and drinking, things seem to be getting better. I have had 2 false-positive results for PML and I am researching along with my doctor to hope that I can get a stem cell transplant or some other new intervention for MS. But it could be worse.

People ask me all the time, how can you be so upbeat all the time and not let things bother you with everything that you have been through. Well this is how I answer that.

Yes, I had Lyme’s disease and I couldn’t join the service, but I became a special needs teacher for 8 years and then worked in radio for 12 years and I wouldn’t have done that.

Yes, I had lots of surgeries due to problems from the Lyme’s disease and just bad genes, but I got to meet so many neat people in the medical profession that I became a EMT and saved lives.

Yes, I lost a few babies. But maybe there was a couple in heaven that couldn’t have children and he gave them mine. I have 2 wonderful children that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. And I danced at my son’s wedding last October!!

Yes, many broken bones, but it gave me the strength and pain tolerance to deal now with the bad MS days.

And finally, I look at the days when I want to give up, or I am mad or sad, and then I remember so many people that I have met over the years and the ones that are going through terrible diseases, or can’t have children, or has lost a loved one suddenly due to suicide or tragedy, or maybe has lost their jobs or homes or don’t have a support system.

So just remember when you are having the days when everything hurts, you haven’t slept, can’t seem to remember things, can’t afford to do things because you can’t work, there is someone out there right now, that is going through something worse then you. So yes, it could be worse.

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