I have always been an internalizer; a worrier; a peace-keeper. Sometimes I wonder if my inability to manage stress - and therefore my weight - has caused all of this.
I gave birth to my second child in March 2008. I was 37 years old, a working professional, and already struggling to figure out the balance between my career and motherhood. My oldest child was only 21 months old when baby #2 arrived. One morning I woke with double vision. I was expected to go back to work in 1 week, yet I could barely function. Even the slightest side-to-side motion with my eyes resulted in everything being duplicated. The eye doctor diagnosed me with Cranial Sixth Nerve Palsy - and my brain MRI came back clean. Within about 2 weeks everything cleared up and I went about my life adjusting to being a working mom of two.
Fast-forward to September 2014. I was returning from a particularly stressful trip to New Jersey following several months of international travel and loads of hours. As the plane landed, I could feel something wasn't quite right with my eyes. While walking through the airport, it got worse - I drove myself home and had my husband confirm that my face was not droopy; I knew that the sixth nerve palsy had returned.
I was home-bound for 3 weeks, suffered dizziness and oscillopsia for three months, and all tests came back clean. The only finding was a old lesion in my cervical spine "most consistent with demyelinating disease", which did not match any of the symptoms I was having and was inactive. I declined a lumbar puncture, stopped all testing, and felt like I was crazy.
Almost exactly 1 year to the day, September 2015 and I return from another trip to New Jersey. This time, my hand and arm are affected. At first, a GP thinks it is Carpal Tunnel. Then the strange sensation, numbness, and reduced mobility travel all down my right side affecting most parts of my body from my jaw to my toes. Every day something new seems to happen. Given my 2014 history, I request an appointment with a neurologist, who orders all of the MS tests. My Dx was official mid-November 2015.
I still struggle with hypersensitivity in my fingers, parasthesia in my neck, and constant, annoying pain in my upper arm almost 4 months later. Thankfully my lower body has returned to normal, except for the random zaps and zings that I think most of us with MS seem to endure. I have also noticed that my cognitive abilities have declined which is immensely frustrating.
I have no idea what the future holds nor do I have much for hopes and dreams right now. I am just trying to get through this first year without impacting my family too much, and I will be ecstatic to surpass September 2016 without another flare up!