In 1993, I woke up one morning with numbness and tingling in my feet and progressed thru the week to my shins and eventually up to my chest. I went to a neurologist and after 3 MRIs and a spinal tap and although suspected to be MS, the doctors could not definitely conclude MS. I was told that if the symptoms go away and then return again, then I probably have MS. This did happen, however I was able to function relatively normal for several years so I opted to not be checked again due to the pain of the spinal tap. In 2000, I was managing a chemical company in Houston Texas, playing golf with a couple of clients when they had remarked on my staggering walk and said I should have it looked at. I knew what it was but didn't want to face it. To shorten the story; By this time, the use of contrast during MRI was successful in detecting lesions and plaque within the CNV so it was a easy diagnosis and hence I began the strange journey called MS.
My biggest MS moment happened 4 years after my diagnosis and several job promotions. I was giving a tour of my company's facilities when all of a sudden, I could not walk back to the conference room without help. This was very alarming and sad because I knew that this was the beginning of the end of my career. I was able to work 2 more years but could not keep up with the demands of an executive position and several hundred employees.
My biggest challenges have been the uncertainty of each day due to all the environmental factors that affect our disease i.e. weather, temperature, humidity, sleep, stress and host of other factors. These factors may be the difference between using a walker to make it to the kitchen vs being able to put yourself on the toilet.
My hope of course is to be alive long enough to experience a cure to this brutal and emotionally draining disease. I want to play with my grandchildren, participate in their weddings and not be a burden or distraction during such events.
My advise to anyone newly diagnosed would be first, to find an excellent neurologist who is passionate and aggressive in treating the symptoms and slowing down the affects. Do not give up on your goals and be aggressive in accomplishing. Get involved with people who can tell you what to possibly expect so that the symptoms will not be so shocking. Get your heart, spirit and mind right so you can accept any challenge that comes your way.
I don't have near all the answers but I will say that my relationship with the Creator has got me through the worst moments of my life!