(part one) being diagnosed with #multiple sclerosis

What if I wake up blind?
Will I end up in a wheelchair?
Am I going to be paralyzed?

What if no one will love me?
What if no one will take care of me?
What if people don’t want to deal with me?
What if I become a burden?
What if I pass this on to my children?

What if, what if, what if, what if.

I remember waking up one morning with my left fingers numb…it must be because I fell asleep with a ring on my hand and it was messing with my circulation.

I remember waking up the next morning with my left arm from my fingers to my elbow numb. It must be because I slept on my side weird last night.

A couple days went by…damn this numbness hasn’t gone away, I need to change the way I sleep. Wtf.

A couple days after that, I woke up with the entire left side of my body numb. The entire left side. I can’t even explain it to you in words. It’s like someone took a marker and drew a perfect line down the very middle of my body. It felt INSANE. My left nostril was numb but my right one wasn’t. The left side of my lips were numb, but the right weren’t. The left side of my body all the way down, following that perfect marker line, was numb. Not numb in that “static TV feeling” way. Not numb where I couldn’t move like when your foot falls asleep and you try to get up and walk. Just numb from the inside. Like a tingly sensation where all of my motor functions were in tact. It was the strangest feeling, and also a scary one.

I was always a hypochondriac, like at the doctor’s office once a week. And part of me thought I was overreacting at first. But my body knew otherwise. Something was wrong. Something didn’t feel right. This isn’t normal.

It must have been a weekend when this happened because I couldn’t get in to see my primary care physician, but I knew I had to check this out right away. It’s like that gut instinct you feel, that you know this can’t wait. I went to Urgent Care and asked about it, they said they couldn’t do anything and to go to the emergency room at the hospital. I remember thinking to myself “oh shit, Urgent Care is $50 and the ER is $100″, my mom is going to be pissed“. But I knew at that point it didn’t matter (she wasn’t pissed by the way). So…I drove my happy ass to the emergency room. And waited.

Luckily, the ER I went to wasn’t one where I had to wait like 6 hours, if I waited that long I probably would have gotten up and walked out. But I got called back, told them what was going on, and went from there. They thought I had a stroke!! At 19 years old!! They didn’t know what the hell it was. So I got a CT scan so they could make sure. At this point, I’m freaking out a little bit because I have never even gotten a CT scan before…but part of me knew it wasn’t a stroke. Wouldn’t I not be able to lift my left arm? Wouldn’t the left side of my face be drooping and I would have trouble speaking? But…I’m not a doctor, I don’t know.

CT scan came back normal. And something I can appreciate about these doctors, is they referred me to my primary care physician because they didn’t want to proceed with any tests or scans that may not have been necessary (lord knows how expensive they are).

I called my primary care physician’s office and luckily because my entire family goes there and we are pretty well known (I think that’s why, or maybe they’re just that good), I explained my situation and they got me in right away. Not even with the nurse practitioner, but the doctor. I go in and do the usual…weight, height, blood pressure, pulse, blah blah blah. And sat up on that crinkly paper covered table thing, and waited. She came in and asked me what was going on. She did the standard checks; those ones where you try and hold your arm up while she’s pulling on it, doing the little “tappy thing” on your knee to check your reflexes, had me walk in a straight line, and whatever else. She made a comment that all of my motor functions were in tact. I remember she said to me “let’s get some bloodwork done, this could be a B12 deficiency…or it could be multiple sclerosis. But let’s not jump to worst case scenario”. I said okay and hopped off the table and called my family.

My grandmother was telling me that B12 deficiencies run in the family and everyone kept trying to reassure me that I can’t think of worst case, because they all know that’s straight where my mind goes. Bloodwork came back and everything was normal…time to go get an MRI.

I went back to the emergency room after my MRI order was sent in, and I was so freaked out. I have also never gotten an MRI before! Goddamn that thing was so LOUD. EERRR EERRR EERRR EERRR, do do do do do do, eeeeeeeeeeerrrrrr, rah rah rah rah. If you have gotten an MRI, you know the noises I am trying to make right now, lol.

I had to do a lumbar puncture, again…something I’ve never done before and was totally freaked out by. Sitting on that table on my side in fetal position while they shoved a needle in my back, like seriously, wtf. Then afterwards, being literally rolled off of the table and onto a gurney on my back where they stuck an IV in and took blood right away, and told me to lie on my back for 24 hours so I didn’t get a “spinal headache”. Of course my ass sat up after hours of laying down at home and being bored, so I had a massive headache.

It was April 11, 2013…I was waiting for the call from my doctor. Just waiting. Sitting there. I remember my doctor calling my cell phone and I was sitting upright on my bed with my feet off the side, just bracing myself. I three-wayed my mom into the phone call…and then the doctor said it….”after reviewing the MRI scans and the spinal tap, I am going to refer you to a neurologist because it seems you have multiple sclerosis”. I literally heard that and hung up the phone (which I only did because I knew my mom was on the line to listen to the rest). I sat there in complete shock. What did she just say? Did I hear her correctly? It was like the world stopped around me, not spinning, just stopped.

I was so confused. I have gotten physicals every single year, I always got the standard lab works done, I have always been healthy. This couldn’t be right, I have never had a health issue in my entire life. And I did the WORST possible thing someone could do…I started googling. I started seeing wheelchair, paralyzed, blindness, loss of motor functions, walkers, no bladder or bowel control, etc. All of the worst things I could ever imagine.

I got into my car, and drove an hour to my grandparent’s house. I don’t even know why, I just had to. I walked in and told them, and they were stunned. But of course, acted like everything would be okay, putting their own fears aside. But I didn’t even know how I felt. I kinda felt numb (no pun intended). And I posted a picture of myself on FaceBook sitting on their back patio in the sun with the caption, “You never know what life will throw at you next but no matter what you have to keep smiling”. It was like I was trying to be optimistic even though I was still unsure about how I felt.

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