I contracted optic neuritis in my right eye in the summer of 2013. I was 24 at the time. I don't wear glasses and it was my first time visiting an eye doctor. He prescribed steroids and told me we'd keep an eye on it (pun totally intended). Six months later, I experienced pins and needles in my feet that didn't want to go away. After a couple days, the sensation started spreading up my legs, my torso, and eventually to my hands until everything but my face felt numb. My official diagnosis was given in January of 2014.
For that first year, I did Copaxone injections and took part in a vitamin B study. It wasn't aggressive enough, my neurologist said. So we switched to Gilenya. I've been taking the pill once a day ever since and have had no relapses. Occasional tingles in my feet or legs. Overwhelming fatigue at times, though I'm sure that's due in large part to my poor sleeping habits. But I feel as though we have things under control. I have my next follow up MRI in a few days and I'm praying for more good news and no new lesions.
That's my MS story, in a nutshell. I don't feel like I have it most days. I hope I can keep it that way for as long as possible. I sing in a chamber choir and tutor English for refugees in the area. I currently work for a non-profit, but I've wanted to live abroad for a long time and am finally moving toward going to China to teach for a year.
The biggest hurdle with moving to China is obviously getting my prescription while I'm over there. I haven't been able to find anyone else my age with MS who's spent time teaching in China specifically, so I feel like I'm trailblazing a little with trying to figure out how to make this all work. I may start a blog for my travels and experiences and use it to document any MS-related struggles, especially with regards to navigating the American healthcare system in all of this. But I don't want that to be the main theme of the blog. I don't let my MS define me and I don't want to be known for having it. But I'm also coming to terms with the fact that it's not something I can just ignore for forever. I hope that my experiences can be of help to anyone else who doesn't want to let their diagnosis get in the way of traveling the world, or whatever else their dreams may be!