26 December 2007

The Beginning

For those taking the time to read this, I thank you.

I was diagnosed with MS on 2 October 2007. However, my story is not like the usual ones. In August, I started out with a tingling that moved from rib cage down the rest of the left side of my body. I'm sure we can all relate to that. Strange, I said to myself. Suffering from a bad back for 15 years, I thought it was another curve it was throwing at me.

A pinched nerve. I'll lay off of my usual activities and it will just go away. It didn't and two weeks after it first started it, moved to my right foot and leg , got more pronounced and the vision in my right eye started doing strange things: bright lights and physical activity usually set it off. Something is seriously wrong.

Being an athelete, I had an orthopedist not a general practicioner. I knew I was going to need a referal. It took me two weeks to see my parents doctor since I was a new patient. Two weeks later, I get the examination and knew what I already knew: something is not right, let's get you to a neurologist. Miracle of all miracles, I got in to see one the same day.

After going through the the same tests and more detailed questions, preliminary diagnosis is transverse myelitis. I know what that is, it's a pain, but it can be treated. I'm scheduled for a contrast MRI on my mid and lower back in 5 days, come back in six weeks. In the meantime, I research myelitis and it's the first time I hear about MS being mentioned, so I research that too.

The next day after the MRI's the doctor's office calls and confirms the diagnosis: transverse myelitis in two areas. Great . . . put me on steroids and send me on my way. However, now the doctore wants me to have a head and neck MRI and see an opthomologist also. Another 5 days on the MRI and 7 for the opthomologist.

Filling out the paperwork at the hospital for the MRI, I see MS all over it. Things not looking all that great now. I spend about 30 minutes in the drum and out I go. Two days later, no word from the neurologist and I'm off to see about my eyes. Word from the opthomologist: myelitis affecting the vision but cornea, retina, and optic nerve all look healthy, come back in a year. One less thing to sweat, now just hear back on the MRI.

3 days go by, 4, 5, 6, 7 and finally the call. I heard "you show indications of MS" and then everything got fuzzy. The last MRI showed scar tissue in my head an neck. How old it was couldn't be determined and I may have never even noticed an episode. It's almost three weeks till my appointment. At that time, we'll talk about drug treatments and answer questions that I might have.

That was the longest day. I figured that I needed to break the news to my family and friends that day. Better to do it all at once rather than having to do it over and over again. The more I said it the easier it got. Although to this day, it's still not easy, but it is a matter of fact.

For close to the next three weeks, I research, I read and I finish the steroids. Which, after the second step down, everything came back. Finally, the day came to go back to the doctor. We have a nice and long conversation. I'm going back on an steroids, this time 5 days of IV's followed by 20 days of pills. For the MS . . . we agree to try Rebif. I am then given a canvas messenger bag that has a hard-bound, full color binder, a DVD and CD. Serious Stuff

More tomorrow . . .

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