I was originally diagnosed with MS when I was twenty. It honestly feels like yesterday, not the nearly 6 years that it actually has been. It started with patchy numbness in my arms, torso, and legs, and then progressed to the point where I had to walk with a cane. Both of my legs, from mid-thigh to feet, had gone completely numb. I let it go for almost 2 months before deciding I should go see a doctor. You can blame that decision on being a twenty year old who thinks she knows everything or being a life long New Englander, even though the two are basically one in the same. The test results came back quickly and so began my journey.
My medication (Tysabri) has been working well as I have not had another episode as severe since my diagnosis, but I still notice the symptoms, and some things that I suspect are symptoms. My doctors disagree but can't tell me anything more than that. My hands and toes break out in painful blisters every winter, which is especially annoying as I snowboard. The blisters sometimes feel like they effect my joints and, even though I have no first hand experience with it, it feels like what I'd imagine arthritis would feel like. Surprise! It hurts. No doctors can tell me what they are. There's a solid 75% chance that I will end up in crippling pain during sex. I've had every ultrasound and blood test, been poked and prodded with cotton swabs and wands; no doctors can tell me why. Then there's the usual depression and anxiety that is a side effect of both MS and my medication.
Relationships have failed because they weren't able to handle the constant tests and procedures; hearing about vials upon vials of blood being drawn and spinal taps, MRIs and the obvious lack of intimacy. They couldn't handle it, and I wasn't strong enough to carry both of us.
The shock of seeing an invisible disease laid out before someone who has no idea you have one always amuses me. There's just a blank stare as you watch the gears turning and the eventual snap back to reality when they've formed the questions they have in a careful and respective manner. Usually there is a quick glance over to my car where my snowboard, Lydia, sits proudly in the back seat; or to the piles of concert ticket stubs scattered around my room; or to the pictures of my niece and I roughhousing on the living room floor, her often held above my head; or the intricate knitting sitting next to my bed that takes care and precision to weave properly. I'll always sit and talk with them about it. But there's so little known about it usually the answers to questions are, "I don't know", often to a look of renewed shock on their face. But, knowledge is power, right?
Basically, what I guess I'm trying to say: Yes, I have MS. But there's no way I'm going to let it slow me down.