My MS Story
My name is Clay Monroe and I am a 31 year old husband and father of 3. I was in the United Stated Navy for 4 years. After serving on active duty in the Navy I worked for the government for 9 more years.
In the winter of 2011 I was sitting at my computer working on some college courses and all of the sudden I felt a massive chest pain and numbness and tingling on the left side of my body. I am not one who usually goes to the doctor but this time I felt really bad so I went to the ER. I personally felt like I was having a stroke. When I got there they tried to tell me I needed to wait but I explained to them that I felt something was really wrong so they got me in. After having lots of tests run the “doctor” in the ER came to the conclusion that I was having “chest wall” pain. He then prescribed me 800 Mg of Motrin. This is what they give you in the military for everything.
I was having flashbacks about my military days. I knew something was still wrong but I was feeling better. Fast forward to May of 2012 and the same symptoms started again. I felt like I was having a stroke again so I went to the ER. This time it took a long time to be seen. I laid in the bed in the ER for a good hour before being seen. I guess I can’t complain too much since the guy next to me had been stung by 100’s of bees and they were pulling out the stingers. This time the doctor came in and said my vitals were good and that I needed to see a neurologist. So I made an appointment with a neurologist but it was going to be a month before I could be seen. That was not the news I wanted to hear but I had to deal with it.
So I spent the next month doing the worst thing I could possibly do….research my symptoms on the internet every day. There are so many things that my symptoms could be and I was “self-diagnosing” myself. One of the things I ran across was MS. I finally got in to see the neurologist and I then had to go through a ton of tests. I did my first MRI ever. So after getting squeezed into the tube and going through the MRI I found out that the machine did not work. I had to do the MRI again; this time I went somewhere else where the machine was working. After the results of the MRI showed that I had lesions on my brain; I had to go have spinal fluid taken from my spine.
Once I learned there was a chance I have MS I was freaked out. I knew very little about MS, all I knew was that there was no cure. Once the test came back from the spinal tap the neurologist was able to confirm that I have MS. I was given many choices on treatment. We settled on a once a day injection of Copaxone. I do not like needles but if this drug was going to help me then I was willing to deal with my fear of needles. I took Copaxone for around 6 months before I got another lesion. My neuro then changed me over to Tecfidera which is an oral medication. I have been on that for around 10 months and I have had no problems so far. I also try to stay active and as positive as I can.
Does your employer provide workplace accommodations due to your MS?