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My First Flareup Was Right Before a Neuro Final

I come from a family of autoimmune disease extending back for at least three generations, and there was always a morbid family joke that I would receive one as a fun surprise on my 30th birthday. My family’s way to deal with the reality of having a different “normal” than everyone else was through dark humor, so I apologize in advance if this ends up sounding like I’ve lost my marbles due to both the internet’s current need for a sarcastic font along with the fact that I literally dropped some marbles yesterday after my intrinsic hand muscles decided to go on strike. I also apologize if there are spelling errors since I now have trouble typing and I am trying to read my phone through what appears to be a giant thumbprint in the center of my vision along with a floater in the shape of a molting rabbit.

Excusing my own health changes

I am almost impressed by the amount of excuses I came up with to ignore concerning health changes for months prior to my diagnosis. Watching my grandma repeatedly hospitalized with lupus growing up, my mother in excruciating pain 24/7, and my husband surviving a stroke two years ago (he’s doing a lot better) meant I had always seen worse and I was probably just being a wimp. I can notice health changes in others and treat them seriously, but I think I could have physically been on fire and still convinced myself I was just a wimp. I started telling myself I was just clumsier than usual. I’m probably shaking walking down the stairs because I was out of shape when I did a couple squats two weeks prior. Sure, my spine was consistently trying to electrocute itself, but maybe I angered Thor. The weird squeezing sensation on one side of my chest while taking a hot shower was probably just a friendly muscular ghost in need of a relationship.

I failed a neuro final covering my own neurological symptoms

I like to think that all of us have an invisible cup of “effs” that fly away over the course of the day. I used to have quite a few left when I went to sleep, but I was suddenly waking up with all of my flying “effs” completely gone and it took me a while to notice. I always had great grades and freaked out over a B my first year, but my grades suddenly dropped and I was more excited about remembering to put on pants than I was scared about the new possibility of failing out of medical school. When I finally admitted something was horribly wrong, I went from 20/20 vision to unable to see the board, and I was at the point of literally peeing myself. Between my aversion of showers, the inability to apply deodorant well due to my right arm “derping”, and the smell of tiny overflow incontinence dribble, I am quite surprised birds weren’t falling out of the air. My brain fog was so bad I failed a neuro final covering my current neurological symptoms.

The good news about losing my “effs” so early

The good news about losing my “effs” so early on is that this would have probably been a whole lot harder to deal with had my immune system not already tried to deep-fry my emotions and replace them with sarcasm. I’m currently on medical leave and have received support from peers and faculty once I let them know what was going on (I kept most of it hidden, but they came to me concerned when I was losing weight and shaking so badly I couldn’t suture). I’m pretty mad at myself for knowing signs and symptoms, ignoring them, and continuing to push myself into stress and sleep deprivation. I’m thankful I had a diagnosis relatively early, and I don’t take that for granted. I’m still trying to find ways to physically get off of my couch and find a new normal.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • marlenes99
    2 months ago

    I love your sense of humor. I hope you write more often.

  • Kim Dolce moderator
    2 months ago

    @cp1090, in addition to DonnaFA’s good advice, I’d like to add that I really appreciate reading your unique perspective as both medical student and MS patient. I love your writing voice, humor and word choices, too! I hope you’ll continue to write about your MS journey here so we can witness it and give you our validation, appreciation, and understanding. Warmly, Kim, moderator

  • DonnaFA moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi @cp1090 We have quite a lot of conversation about exercise on the site. A lot of people have success with Yoga. Also, there are many videos for seated exercise on YouTube.

    Be gentle with yourself. It’s so easy to “miss” signs and symptoms, especially with our busy lives, and concentrating on caring for others, and then to be caught with the “aha” moment.

    Thanks for sharing your story, we’re glad you’re here. -Warmly, Donna (MultipleSclerosis.net team)

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