Always. Listen. To. Your. Body.
Long story short, I had just gotten out of the hospital at the end of February after being admitted for 5 days in the stroke wing. It started that Thursday - I had a moment of failed vision, dizziness, headache, and then my right arm went numb. By Friday morning, my entire right side was numb, including my face, and I couldn't find my words or hold a pen. I didn't listen. This wasn't the first time and I figured it would go away soon. It was surely just stress or something, right? I didn't really tell anyone, but people around me at work knew I wasn't myself. If it wasn't for the persistence/insistence and love from those around me, I wouldn't have even gone to the doctor. After they recommended I go to the ER, I signed an AMA and said I wasn't going. It all felt too dramatic. When my father picked me up from work because my boss convinced me not to drive, he insisted we go to the ER. I thought he was just being overdramatic, but I finally caved. Next thing you know, I'm being transported by ambulance to the hospital and there I stayed, going through every test of which I can possibly think.
Since I did not listen to my body...since I waited...since I was stubborn...it was hard to determine the presence of a stroke in my MRI and it cannot be confirmed or denied. My neurologist believes, though, that this was not my first TIA (mini stroke) and that I likely had one about 3 months ago which caused the permanent hearing loss I have in my left ear. I did not listen to my body then. During my stay, we did find multiple lesions scattered throughout my brain (which I call my “brain glitter” or “the glitz” for short) and with the final results from a spinal tap and an EMG, we were able to confirm a diagnosis of MS - a diagnosis that was suggested and even directed to me to pursue by two different doctors 3 months ago when I first confirmed my hearing loss, but which I ignored because "I didn't have time." Again.
I'm lucky. I'm so incredibly lucky. I'm now learning what I need to about this and I know the warning signs and to listen. I've only lost some of my hearing and I will have to go to PT for the strength I can't regain in my right side - it could have been so much worse.
I just turned 36 - I'm not old by any means. Even with a blood clotting disorder, I did not think a stroke could be anywhere on my radar and had I not been locked in that hospital for all those days with some of the best medical staff I've ever met, I would not know how real and serious this is. I would not have pursued the necessary testing for MS. I would not be on an anti-stroke regimen. I would have just kept going until the next one and who knows what could have happened.
All of this to say: I implore you. Listen to your body. Listen to your doctors. Listen to the people around you who know and love you. You're not overreacting. You're not being dramatic. You're not too busy. You are taking care of your health without which, you cannot continue to live the beautiful life which you currently live.
I just started treatment today with Copaxone, so we’ll see how that goes. Feeling hopeful.
Please - Listen to your body.