My story goes back way before being diagnosed with MS. This is the same with many of you.
Bear with me while I tell you a story of addiction first.
I am a Respiratory Therapist and I worked nights for a long time. I started suffering from fatigue about 5 years ago. I assumed it was because of working the night shift. A co-worker gave me an Adderall and my life changed for good. I never felt so good. It was the most amazing feeling ever. I had so much energy. I no longer spent all my time in bed. I was on 20mg per day at that point.
Then the fatigue started coming back so I went back to the doctor and she upped me to 25mg. That helped for a little while. I went back to my doctor for more. I was increased to 30mg. I was doing well for a few months. But the fatigue came back. So I went back to my doctor and was upped to 30mg twice a day. I was flying high! I got so much done. I was the go to guy at work! My patients loved me and the nurses were so impressed with my work ethic.
But then the 60mg wasn't enough anymore. A co-worker of mine was also on Adderall and she would give me some of hers at times. Then instead of asking, I would take her keys, go out to her car and take more Adderall without her knowing.
Obviously, this is a bad sign. But I went back to my doctor and asked for 90mg per day. She said no and that I needed to see a psychiatrist first. That was the beginning of the end. The psychiatrist showed me that I was addicted to Adderall. I already knew this but I was in denial. At that point, I was no longer on Adderall. It was a very tough 4 months without it. My wife helped me a great deal through the detox.
After about 6 months, I was extremely frustrated with my fatigue. I changed to day shift and took lots of vitamins but nothing helped. I went back to my doctor and I was put on Concerta, which is Ritalin. It helped take the edge off.
So a few months ago I started having extreme pain in my right ear. Like someone was sticking an ice pick through it. Two doctors saw no structural problems with my ear. I was referred to a neurologist. She ordered an MRI. I had a bunch of white spots indicating dead cells. I then had a lumbar puncture which confirmed the diagnoses. I had MS!
I was happy to finally have a reason for the myriad of problems I'd been having for 5 years. Then I got depressed thinking about my future. As a Respiratory Therapist, I take care of a lot of MS patients. All I could think of was being in a wheel chair and unable to take care of myself. My wife, Toni, told me to snap out of it. And I've been trying to do just that. I've been reading as much as I can and formulating a plan.
I just started Copaxone a couple of days ago. It hurts and really makes me itch at the injection site. But hopefully it'll work for me.
My initial problem list was fatigue, erectile dysfunction, constipation, spasticity in my arms, depression and the pain in my ear. I believe now that it is all caused by MS. So that's a good thing in a way. I now know what direction to go.
Thank you for reading my long story.