I was diagnosed with MS in 2006, when my daughters were 2 and 4 years old. My path to diagnosis began With exploring the cause of headaches and an abnormal MRI. As I was awaiting results of blood tests, lumbar puncture, etc., my symptoms worsened (back and leg weakness, extreme fatigue, cognitive changes, etc.). I was admitted to the hospital, and diagnosed there.
My biggest challenges directly from MS are depression and anxiety, fatigue, back weakness and pain, leg drop, and cognitive challenges.
In 2013, my husband died suddenly from cardiac arrest. I am interested in how others handle multiple major stressors in their lives. Grief and MS seem to have a compounding effect. Sometimes people assure me that now I’m “owed” good things, but it angers me, because reality has taught me that’s not how things work. I feel like part of me is always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
My depression feels directly/physically related to MS. It worsens dramatically with MS symptoms (when I feel leg weakness, I often tear up simultaneously) and with Tysabri infusions (up to 5 days after). One of my daughters has severe depression and has had many viral illnesses and numerous physical complaints (headache neck and back pain, etc.) Her MRI was negative, but I’m still secretly watchful.
It is extremely difficult to be a single parent ALL THE TIME (no weekends off) with MS and to handle my own emotional and physical well-being while trying to parent two children and managing complicated grief. Symptoms, schedules, doctors — everything overlaps and intertwines.