Hi! My name is Jen and I am 22 years old. I am a 5th year student in Husson's Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) program in Bangor, ME. I played collegiate level field hockey in my undergrad (2 years of that playing with diagnosed MS, 1 year playing with undiagnosed MS). I am from CT, but go to school in ME. I enjoy being active and being around positive people!
MS noticeably first started effecting my life in 2014 over the summer while I was getting ready for my sophomore year of college. My symptoms included numbness/tingling in my left leg which eventually went into my left arm. I saw a neurologist who did a cat scan of my head and said everything looked great! So I continued on and tried to ignore the tingling in my arm and leg. Eventually it went away and I had a great season playing field hockey!
When I completed my sophomore year and made it back home, I experienced something kind of odd. I returned home and did my usual workout routine. All of a sudden I had severe back pain and thought to myself, I must have had bad form on my squats. I saw a sports medicine doctor who did an X-ray on my spine, he saw that it looked like the muscles were strained because of how straight my lower spine looked. He prescribed me with prednisone, a muscle relaxer, and two weeks no exercise. After about a week of not exercising my symptoms grew worse. I had tingling and numbness from my mid torso down all the way down to my toes on both sides of my body. I woke up extremely nauseous and dizzy and called my mom who took me to the ER. There they did an MRI of my spine and sent me home the same day saying I have a bulging disc between L4 and L5.
The next day I got a call back from the hospital saying they saw something serious on my MRI and that I had to come back for further testing, throwing out that this possibly could be cancer. Long story short (kind of), they did a head, neck and spine MRI and found a lesion on my spine that covers over 4 vertebrae and also several lesions in my brain. I left after 5 days from the hospital WITHOUT a diagnosis. I was told it could be an AVM in my spine, a tumor, transverse myelinitis or MS. About a month after my hospital visit I saw two neurologists. One was able to cross of the AVM and tumor and the other was able to diagnose me with MS in July of 2015.
My treatment now includes doing a chemotherapy four times a year (Rituxan), taking rebif three times a week, gabapentin three times a day, and supplements. I also am gluten free and am very cautious of what I put into my body. I stay active as well. I am still new to MS and would love to find some support from someone else who is in a similar situation or anyone with advise.
My hope is that there soon will be a cure for MS and I can go back to my normal life without medication and not have to worry about what may happen in my future for me with MS.
Interesting fact about me is that I was on the Rachel Ray show with guest start Ann Romney! I was able to share a little of my story with MS to the world! It was quite the opportunity! Moments like this give me hope that everything is going to be alright! The world needs to know about MS and finally work towards a cure!