The Day I Met MS

Something about taking my clothes off that cool November night inspired me to run my fingers alongside the left side of my body, to affirm the seductive curve of my shape. As my fingers began to caress my waist, I noticed it felt numb. I thought to myself, "That's weird", as I continued to rub the area. Too sleepy to worry, I tossed concern aside and nestled under the covers thinking it would go away by the morning.

My bladder woke me up just before the alarm went off the next morning and I begrudgingly got out of bed to go the bathroom. I took exactly two steps before noticing something was terribly wrong. I used my right hand to hold me up against the bedroom doorknob as I put my weight on my right foot. I looked down at my left side, as if "the look" would make it act right, but my left side was oblivious to the world. From the bottom of my foot to my shoulder, my entire left side was completely numb; heavy, cement-like numb.

A day later I found myself in the emergency room being admitted into the hospital. I was confused in the amused sense, thinking I'd get a little action but in the end it would go away and be nothing serious. After a battery of tests, they ruled out a stroke. Good answer, I thought. They later identified an inflammation in the neck of my spine and began a 5 day intravenous steroid treatment. Weird, I thought, as I had never been in the hospital for that long. Still, I wanted to believe that it was as simple as a steroid treatment and I'd be back to normal, and to life as I know it. When the neurologist on duty stated she wanted to run some more tests to "see what there is to know", I got a little anxious. After another battery of tests, lab work, MRIs and spinal tap, I discovered why curiosity killed the cat.

My family had just left from visiting for the day and I was sitting alone in the hospital room when she walked in with her diagnosis. My mind went blank for a few seconds, and when it came back, I was alone in the room again but with what felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders. All I could do was cry, deeply, engulfed by this overwhelming feeling of betrayal, and of being alone. But I wasn't alone. Multiple Sclerosis had taken up residence in my otherwise healthy body, and from that day forward, my life has never been the same.

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