MS, The Evil Disease
I was born in El Salvador. No one in my family has MS. We never heard of this disease. My parents, brother and I were in constant fear, because of the civil wars that were happening there. In January 1990, we had to moved to Edmonton, Canada.
On September 1990, I was in high school, and my locker was in the basement and my first class was on the 4th floor. I had to go up the stairs and my both of my legs felt fine.
When it started
Around February 1999, I was sitting on the couch watching TV. Suddenly, my left leg felt sleep. I didn’t think there was a problem, as I didn’t have any other problems. I hit a few times to wake it up, but nothing happened, so I ignore it.
In March of the same year, I was working and had to bend down. I fell and my co-workers had to help me up. I felt so embarrassed.
A few days later, I had to drive myself to the emergency department at the hospital. The doctor on call ran some tests. They came back normal. He referred me to the Neurological department at the University Hospital in the Southside of Edmonton.
Running more tests
I spoke with a neurologist there. She runs more tests. She told me to go home, and she was going to phone me to let me know about the results.
On the day I went to see the neurologist, everyone in my family was busy. I had to drive myself to the hospital. It was a good thing that it was not my right leg acting up, otherwise, I would have taken a taxi.
When I arrived at the hospital, it was an ordeal trying to walk, because my left leg felt weak, and it was totally paralyzed. And I didn’t own a walking cane or a walker. I had to use the walls at the hospital to help me walk trying to get to the doctor’s office.
When I got there, she did more tests. I had a biopsy. This was a sort of “weird test”. In the room, there were a few doctors. For this test, I had to be awake and holding this huge heavy thing on my head.
Receiving the call
A few days after, the neurologist phoned me and wanted me to come to the hospital. She had the results of the biopsy. She told me that she discussed the results with a few of her colleagues. They concluded that I have Multiple Sclerosis. For a lot of people, is devastating news. I didn’t know what MS is.
The first treatment the neurologist prescribe was Rebif!!
Rebif (interferon beta-1a)
This medication was excellent. Self-injected 3 times a week. No side effects. Everything felt normal. I could walk with no mobility aids. I felt normal again. Blood test every month. No big deal!! The only problem with Rebif was my liver enzymes were getting too high.
The neurologist had to change my treatment to another one. This new treatment is called:
Copaxone (glatiramer acetate).
This one had so many side effects. Feeling cold in the summertime; redness, pain, swelling, itching, or a lump at the injection site; rash, shortness of breath, flushing, chest pain, fast heartbeat, anxiety, breathing problems or tightness in my throat.
The big day
On July 2003, I got married to the most wonderful man. Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, for bringing him into my life. We planned our wedding. Went on our honeymoon to Miami, Florida. It was one of the best times of our lives.
In June 2004, we became Born Again Christians. It was another wonderful happiest day of our lives.
When I met my husband, we drove to Vancouver, BC every summer. When he told me about the job transfer to Vancouver, I was so happy!!
I always wanted us to move here, because believe it or not, the frizzing cold weather has always affected my MS. Making my legs feel so numb and weak!!!
I know, I know, MS affects everyone different. Some people cannot take the hot weather in the summer months, for me like I said, it’s the cold weather from Alberta!!!
Finding a new neuroligst
I had to talk to the neurologist to let her know that we are moving to Vancouver, and she gave me the name of a neurologist in White Rock.
The time this neurologist was my doctor, was very short as she moved back to Edmonton to start a clinic with the neurologist there.
I have had a few neurologists in Vancouver. This last one, has been my doctor since. She is an excellent doctor. I am glad she is my doctor now and for a long time.
Trying new treatments
I told her that Copaxone was making me so sick. She changed me to an oral medication called: Tecfidera, which is a twice-daily oral medication that reduces relapses.
This neurologist again changed me to a different medicine, Ocrevus, because Tecfidera was not working for me.
Ocrevus is an MS treatment that is a 2-times-a-year prescription infusion. This medication has been working good so far. Thank you to my family and all my neurologists, who have helped me on my MS journey.
Do you live with any comorbidities aside from MS?