The Flow

My first diagnosable symptom was optic neuritis. I was working part-time mucking stalls to pay for my horse's board. After the 4th or 5th stalls, I would notice that there were two butts in the stall when I knew there was only one horse with his singular bottom in the stall.

She gave me my MS diagnosis

I simply thought I was tired and needed a new pair of glasses. I went to my optometrist who was also a friend and was complaining about the double vision. Next thing I knew, I was seeing a neurologist whom she knew. I had the longest three-hour examination before she gave me my MS diagnosis. Back to the optometrist for a neurology referral because my diagnosing neurologist was not an MS specialist. This time, my friend found me an MS neurologist. Little did I know the amusement ride that I was going to be riding for the next twenty-plus years.

The humiliation of needing to wear diapers

The MS neurologist categorized me as a secondary progressive MSer. The numb hands and feet never went away. The double vision re-occurs whenever I tax my optic nerve, but, I learned how to get along with these deficits. The killers were the spastic bladder and incontinence. The humiliation of needing to wear diapers was unbearable.

Learning to forgive myself

Over time, I've learned to forgive myself for ruining clothing, car seats, and whatever else. Over time, I have learned how to time it, to control my fluid intake and when, and to listen to the little singular warning my body may give me, but I am never going to be happy about it. I am still working as a trial attorney, but I am going to retire soon even though I promised myself that I would fully retire when I reached 70.

Scared to let go of my career

I have had to redesign my legal career three times to accommodate the MS. I have had to let go of my dreams of being the next Perry Mason. Unfortunately, the stress of trial work when combined with the uncertainties of the Convid 19 virus has proven stronger than myself. While the medical profession has enabled me to beat the odds and kept me mobile, being a practicing lawyer is just too difficult anymore. Was it any one of the drugs, shots, and chemotherapy that they gave me or was it the combination? The doctors don't know exactly how or what they did right, but, they did something right. I have been diagnosed since 1995, but have been able to work until now. In fact, I could still work but it is just too difficult. I am scared to let go of my legal career, but when one door closes, another door opens. Here goes.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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