I woke up on a Saturday morning, a couple days before my 30th birthday. The first thought as I opened my eyes was darn it, whatever was in my eye last night must have scratched my cornea. I called my eye doctor and set up a visit for that morning and after seeing me, he referred me to a specialist. I still didn't think much of it. I went on Monday, had my exam and went back out into the waiting room. Finally he called me back, he motioned for me to sit in the chair and sat down across from me. He explained to me I had optic neuritis, he told me that it was a possible symptom of MS, I said okay, not knowing what MS really was, yes I had heard of it but not much else. My next thought was It will never happen to me. I could have not been so wrong.
It still didn't hit me until a month later when I couldn't feel anything from the waist down. I was referred to a really nice neurologist, and after explaining to me what MS was, set me up for a spinal tap. To say the least January of 1998 was a really bad month, the day I was officially diagnosed will ever be etched in my memory. My neurologist called and told me I had MS. I looked over at my children and fell apart. How was I going to raise them, it was only the four of us, who was going to care for them if I couldn't. That is when my parents stepped in, without their help I would not have made it through.
I have relapsing-remitting MS, and after those first few months, I have been doing well. I have learned not to tell anyone I have it, because the looks I get make me angry. You know that I'm so sorry for you look, that makes me want to scream at them, don't pity me. I have continued with my life the best I could, rolling with the ups and downs. I met my best friend and husband five years ago and even gave him the chance to run away, letting him know that possibly one day I may end up needing care. He didn't, he has stood by my side and said if that day comes, he will take care of me. I had been symptom free for 10 years but as we all know, the monster in the shadows, will rear it's ugly head.
The most challenging time for me wasn't for myself, but my husband and I. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's. As his treatment went on, I started to have symptoms again. Between driving over an hour away for his treatments, and the worrying, the stress was effecting me, but I kept telling him I'm okay. I didn't want him to worry about me. The good news is he was diagnosed cancer free, and the bad news is I was no longer able to hide what was going on. It was back, and hasn't quite left this time.
As I get older and news of new treatments are discussed and used, I hope one day that all with MS will have a chance to be pain and symptom free. To get to live a healthy active life and not have to worry when the monster will surface.
I have had people tell me I'm sick, I shouldn't do this or that. Yes I have my aches and pains, but I look at them and tell them I'm not sick. I have also been asked how I can do what I do, my response was if I don't keep doing things and living the best I can, then the MS wins. I won't let it win, it may rear it's ugly head but I will beat it back.
Oh and I tell my husband if I do need a wheel chair, we will get a motorized one with a place to stand on in the back so he can ride along. Never stop having fun and laughing.