My Jumble of My Story
Mid way through 2009 I had a stoke. Not a major stroke, but enough that I was hospitalized for about 2 weeks. Did the Physical tests, did the Neuro tests, did the Cardio tests, went to Physio for a couple of weeks… then returned to work on a ‘Graduated Return to Work’ schedule.
I was a bit tired at first, and had a few issues with numbness on my left side, but I pushed on.
It took about three weeks to get into my full 40 hour per week schedule when it happened again.
I was training a class for a group my peers. Teaching them about the nuances of my job, the various procedures & technicalities. I had done this dozens of times before. It was basically a Sales Pitch to get people interested in transferring to my department.
My mind went blank. I couldn’t feel my legs or hands. I was slurring my words so bad that one manager thought I was drunk.
The next thing I remembered was waking up in a stark white room with a bunch of wires and tubes peeking out from under the blanket. I freaked out and tried to yell but couldn’t because of the tube that was shoved down my throat. That was 6 days later! Turns out I had another Stroke and then, while I was in ICU, I had a Heart-attck! (I was clinically Dead, TWICE!)
It was in my hospital room, 10 days later (after I woke up from my 6 day snooze) that my GP told me that I probably have MS, and they were looking into it further. Tests, tests, TeStS and more Tests were booked.
My already feeble brain was slightly more than a bit overwhelmed.
“What the Hell is MS?? How did I contract this ‘thing’. Is that why I had a Stroke (or 2)? What about the heart-attack? Was that a symptom of MS? The cause of my MS? What the…? How the…? Why…?”
No, it was actually the other non-related issues that allowed the Medical Specialists to determine that I “MAY” have MS.
41 days later, I was finally home & in my own bed. I had lost 30+ pounds (not quite the Diet Plan I would have chosen!) My parents came up from their ‘winter’ home & lodged themselves in my house so they could take care of me. (Mother redecorated my home while I was hospitalized!!! But that’s a story for another time…) I had very little memory of anything that had gone in in the last few months, but had a stack of doctors’ notes & reports to look though… not that they made any sense to me!
My employer told me that I was now ‘retired’. I was no longer able to perform the duties of my current position. My job, my career… gone. I am now a member of the Public Service Employee Retirement System.
Again… Tests, tests, TeStS and more Tests … I was set up with a Neurologist. He booked me in for a CT scan to try to determine what damage the strokes had caused. He found a few small ‘shadows’ on the scan, so he sent me back to the lab for an MRI. He saw more areas of concern so he insisted I get a Lumbar Punch. (If you’ve had one then you know how it feels. If you haven’t, don’t worry, it’s actually not as bad as you might have heard.)
Neurologist eventually said it’s “more than probable” that I have MS… Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) to be exact. Eventually & Unfortunately that diagnosis was confirmed. Next came the Cardiologist who decided that I needed more tests to determine if the MS played a role in the heart-attack. (Jury is still out on that one… and again that leads to another post altogether!)
Due to my frequent falls, memory & walking issues I decided that it would be best if I moved in with my parents. (OK, I didn’t decide, they did. But it was probably a good decision since even my 78-year-old stepfather is in better mental and physical shape than I am!!)
One Step At A Time; I had to relearn how to walk because Stroke #2 tried to rob me of that ability, and the numbness attributed to the MS certainly didn’t help any.
One Day At A Time; If I manage to get out of bed in the morning, and get my feet on the ground without falling over… well that’s a good start to my day.
One Will At A Time; I WILL do whatever I can, whenever I can. But, I also recognize that there are days when I simply can’t fit all my goals into the day. I WILL push myself if I need to. I WILL stop when I have to. And I WILL NOT beat myself up if I can’t.
(I have said the Serenity Prayer more times than I can count!)
There are many steps in my little MS Journey. And I will face them One Step/Day/Will at a time… And, if I’m allowed to, I’ll share a few Funny things that only we, as MS’rs, can understand & relate to! For every journey has positive moments, awkward moments, and some damn FUNNY moments!