A lonely diagnosis.

I was 26 years old, a new wife and a new mother when I started having symptoms. I first noticed that my right hand was very weak and I was unable to write a complete sentence or nurse my baby without tiring quickly. A few days later while taking a shower I noticed that I could only feel the heat of the water on the left side of my body, like I was wearing half of a wet suit. When my left foot became numb to the point that it was difficult to put a shoe on I became very alarmed. We went to the emergency room.

They did a cat scan and quickly dismissed my symptoms as complications from diabetes. I have been type one diabetic since age 8. I knew this didn’t add up because I have always been in great control of my diabetes. And I knew that side effects like this don’t appear over night. I called my regular doctor the next day and she immediately admitted me to the hospital. An MRI was done showing a large lesion on my spine. I was released with a possible diagnosis of MS.

A month later I experienced severe vertigo and double vision. I had to be sedated in the hospital because the vertigo was so severe. It felt like I was on a roller coaster and couldn’t get off. Another MRI was done and it revealed a large lesion on my brain stem. A definite diagnosis was made at that time. I was immediately put on Betaseron and had to stop nursing my baby. I was told to “take it easy” but my husband was in school and worked full time, my baby was 7 months old and I was the manager of the apartment complex where we lived. Taking it easy was pretty impossible. I have never felt so lonely.

Here I was a young mother and I was having to deal with two very serious autoimmune diseases. One of which has no definite prognosis but so far had put me in the hospital 3 times within 2 months. I didn’t know of anyone else dealing with what I had to deal with. A month later I was readmitted to the hospital with a relapse of the vertigo symptoms.

After my release from the hospital we knew that life had to slow down somewhere. Our resources were very limited. My sister had just bought a new home and invited us to live with her. We took her up on the offer as it allowed me to take care of my baby and my husband to stay in school. We felt a strong desire to get good employment for my husband as soon as possible.

12 years later we have 2 children. My husband has a stable job with great insurance. I still have MS but I have not had a severe form that the doctor’s feared I would have after such a rocky start. I have remained on drug therapy for my MS and try to stay as active as possible. I still have a numb foot and double vision in my right eye. I cannot write more than a sentence with out resting. I have a limp that for the most part only I can notice. I have learned how to take it easy. I have also learned that I might not ever find that person who is going through what I have gone through but that doesn’t have to define me. I can still live a pretty fantastic life without feeling “normal”.

I have a pretty amazing husband who had to deal with some pretty scary things as young husband and father. I know I am blessed first because I have him to help me along in this crazy journey and second I have my two beautiful boys. Together we fight everyday to make the most out of life. It’s never a lonely journey.

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