My Journey

Disclaimer: Please be advised, this story mentions heavy drug and alcohol use and some violence. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these, please seek the appropriate channels for help.

I was diagnosed with MS when I was 32, having suffered from the symptoms of this disease since the age of 22. I woke up to my alarm and was paralyzed completely on the right side of my body. I was taken to a hospital and underwent numerous tests. I was diagnosed at that time with transverse myelitis. Undergoing steroid treatments and physical therapy for months. I recovered enough to go back to work after some time as a carpenter and fisherman. Although this disease was just introducing itself to me as I would soon experience and endure my first of many flare-ups

When it happens at night

I don't understand why, however, it seems to always occur overnight. I awoke in horror as my alarm blared as it does in horror as I found I couldn't move. My left arm, I was able to shake my wife awake, as fear and panic swept over me like a tsunami and I couldn't help to start crying. I knew what it was, It had actually not affected my life I had felt until this very day. I was admitted to the hospital in Rockport and spent the next 103 days struggling to deal with the pain, and the treatments as well as Physical therapy.
When I was finally able to be moved to a rehabilitation facility I was transported by ambulance to Camden, Maine. I was 27 and strong as an ox the day prior to my flare-up. I was married to a beautiful girl, Jodie and I was a commercial clamdigger, as well as a carpentry subcontractor earning great money. I was buying our home, and I was a functioning alcoholic and had a name in my area as one who worked hard and played even harder. Having a big family around me with my older sister's kids being the center of my life and would be at her house daily.

I arrived in the middle of the night and awoke the next morning to the realization that I was in a nursing home. I'm 6' tall and 185 lbs with long brown hair, not exactly the average ordinary patient. It was extremely difficult at first to adapt to being there but I soon came to love some of those older ladies and gentlemen. I have had 3 flareups since this first and have been fortunate to find comfort in the faces of some of their faces. As the years have passed by and some of their chores on earth are thru and they've been called home.

Taking it one step at a time

I had started at the hospital and could take five steps when I arrived at the rehab facility/nursing home. I hadn't realized it yet but the Lord was getting my attention as I prayed and worked as hard as I could to get back on my feet again. I was not willing to accept the circumstances of my existence and knew I couldn't sit in a chair for the rest of my days. I was fortunate to have great people working with me. With immense determination and diligence, I was able to walk with a rolling walker and was allowed to go home after 6 weeks.

Learning to live with this disease caused me to regress into full-blown alcoholism and drug addiction as I pushed through and got back to as normal as I would ever think I would be. Over the course of the next 12 years I was consuming between 300 to 400 milligrams of oxycodone/oxycontin, 4-8 2mg Xanax, 4-8 10 mg valium, as well as a multitude of muscle relaxers, antidepressants, and so on. My life was like a hurricane and as the years went by I started to lose things I loved. I never accepted any of it was my doing. I was angry with God and had turned my back on him and this all one day would come to a head.

Things went from bad to worse

I was working on a roof in friendship, Maine, and while I was sorting 80mg oxycontin, and was made to get off the roof. I passed out in my truck for a couple of hours before I came to. I started my truck and went to drive home and ended up smashing into a large bolder throwing my truck and I end over end and woke up hanging upside down bloodied and broken. I cut my seatbelt and kicked the windshield out and went and stashed my drugs in the woods and walked up a driveway where my friend's sister was to my surprise living. She did her best to help me and the ambulance again took me away.

Shortly after that, I had my children taken away by human services because my life was not healthy in any way but I still didn't see it then. My wife had become addicted to xanax and spend a lot of time comatose. I worked as hard as I could not feel anything for the longest time. But things were still going to get much worse before I would start to find a healthy way to deal with this traumatic disease.

My turning point

My journey there wouldn't start until I woke up in jail on April Fools Day 2011 and it's been getting better every day. I lost my brother on Jan. 5, 2011. I awoke and went to go out and start my car to take my wife to an appointment. He was lying at the bottom of my stairs, dead of an overdose of methadone, alcohol, and Xanax. It was what finally broke me to the point of madness and I was living in complete fear of waking up tomorrow paralyzed again or worse. Which eventually did happen. I woke up in jail on April fools day inebriated and in a daze. The night before my wife and the guy, my friend she was cheating on me with brought us home from the bar to realize they had stolen all of my medication and in anger, I threatened her if she ever touched my meds again.

On my journey over the next eleven years, I have been arrested for criminal OUI, aggravated driving to endanger, trafficking in prison contraband, trafficking drugs, and more. I was introduced to a program called AA and it has saved my life. I have just picked up a four-year chip on 10/12/21 and have been a member since 2014. I'm learning to do this deal. I need to be as emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually fit as I can be. I am sober and I am walking again. I've gotten out of a chair 3 times since this first one and I can tell you this. I am not afraid. I'm at peace. I know now that my faith is not in question and I am ready. I will not give up when this happens again and I am in the pursuit of love, laughter helping others as I have started an organization to share my experience strength, and hope with others to show them if I can do it I know you can. If you are willing.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

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.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.