Don't MS with Jenny

Sometimes life throws you unexpected curveballs that unknowingly turn out to be priceless life lessons. A silver lining is how I think of my MS and what I often tell people when they ask about my diagnosis.

Back in 2016, I woke up and the left side of my face was numb. I did not feel like Jenny. I felt like a completely different person with a numb face and a throbbing head. I trusted my gut and went to the emergency room after a few days of sitting on these symptoms. After a quick workup, they dismissed me quickly and said I needed to rest, take a day off work, drink plenty of fluids, and that these symptoms would subside quickly. I did as I was told, but still did not feel like me.

My facial numbness and throbbing head were still in full swing a few days later, so I went to another emergency department and received the same dismissive treatment. They told me I was simply stressed (which was true), over-worked (which was also true) and too young to have anything “serious” wrong with me. Deep down, I knew something was wrong; I was 100% certain of it. I even told them that I had a feeling it was MS, and they instantly said there was no way I had MS because of my age, good health and simplicity of symptoms. I begged them to scan my head and told them I was not leaving until I had a concrete explanation for these symptoms.

After begging for almost 2 hours, I finally got them to agree to order a head MRI and left feeling a little hopeless, but also proud of myself for advocating for my health—I knew something was wrong and was not going to let anyone tell me differently.

Fast forward three weeks, and I received a call from the same hospital that initially dismissed me, telling me that I indeed had MS and needed to come in immediately for high dose steroid treatment.
My heart sank. I was right. I knew it. I vividly remember calling my parents and just crying for 30 straight minutes and although they were beside themselves, too, they were confident that I was going to be OK... and I believed them. I was going to be OK. And you know what? My parents were right.

Fast forward to now, and I truly am OK. I am great, actually. I am receiving the best care possible (thank you, modern medicine!) and have not let MS get in my way at all. Not at all. It is simply a fork in the road. A chapter in my book. A minor detail of my life. Though some days are tough, this diagnosis has been nothing short of a silver lining and a good life lesson… as crazy as that sounds. It has allowed me to step back and really think about what is important in life. It has taught me to (try) not to stress so much about the little things. It has taught me that working 60 hours a week is not healthy. It has taught me that I need to get plenty of rest. It has taught me that spending time with people you love is important. It has taught me that exercise is my most important medicine. It has taught me that I am no different from anyone else just because of this diagnosis. And most importantly, it has taught me that I am tough. Sometimes it takes a curveball like this to realize what’s important in life. Sometimes that curveball is MS.
Tags Diagnosis, Symptoms      1

Jenny Goodwin

Jenny lives in Chicago and works as a clinical applications analyst at one of the largest county hospitals in the country. She was diagnosed with MS in 2016 and has not let the disease get in her way. She is dedicated to spreading the word about MS and helping those who are newly diagnosed navigate life with MS.