I was at a world renowned photography conference that I had looked forward to for the better half of a year. As I sat down for my class and began to take notes, I noticed that if I tilted my head to the left, my right leg would get a weird tingling feeling. I thought this was strange, but not too much more about it. Although, unknowing to me, this was just the beginning of a series of symptoms to appear.
Over the next few days, I also had half of my tongue begin to tingle followed by half of my face. When my face began tingling, I thought I might be having a migraine. I took some ibuprofen and waited for it to go away. It was still there the next day, which isn’t typical for my migraines. On Monday, I called my family doctor and they immediately referred me to the ER. After several hours of waiting, I was diagnosed with an inflamed nerve in my face and was sent home.
Within another few days, I found myself back in the ER with tingling feet and hands. This time they ran a ton of tests, however they all came back virtually perfect. I was given a precautionary antibiotic and was told to follow up with my family doctor in a few days.
I had several appointments with my family doctor over the next few weeks, all with no resolve. I was eventually referred to a neurologist. My husband and I went in for the consultation… I was told that it was probably an in-balance in my brain that antidepressants might be able to fix, but he ordered an MRI of the brain as a “precaution.” I knew I wasn’t depressed… It was really frustrating for the doctor to not believe me.
I waited in the office for the MRI results, I was so nervous. In the end, it came back mostly fine. I still didn’t have any answers, just persistent tingling in half of my face, and now my hands, my feet and my chest.
It was so annoying to feel like a several body parts are asleep and they wouldn’t wake up. Annoying to still have no idea what was going on with my body. I happened to mention that I now got tingling down my spine if I tilted my head down rather than in my leg where it was previously. This warranted another MRI. This MRI showed an active lesion on my spinal cord. I was told there wasn’t a whole lot that I could do except to wait out my symptoms and see if they went away. A follow up appointment was scheduled for three months out.
Within the next week or two I began to get quite clumsily. My balance began to decline. Within a few days, I could hardly walk without holding on to something. I called the nuero and got my appointment moved up to the next week. I went into my appointment, only walking with the assistance of my husband. We were admitted to the hospital that day for high dose steroids. I received steroids through an IV every 6 hours for four days… More tests were run. I had an additional MRI done and a lumbar puncture.
Not too long after I was released, I received ‘confirmed’ diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. After being released from the hospital, due to the high dose steroids, my symptoms were quickly disappearing. I began immunomodulatory therapy, Rebif, a medication that is injected three times a week. It is supposed to suppress the immune system so it is more difficult for it to attack the central nervous system and cause more damage. Although, despite the steroids and the injections, being symptom free was short lived. My symptoms began reappearing within a few weeks after being discharged from the hospital.
After finding out my diagnosis, I started researching everything about MS. I wanted to know everything about this disease from proposed causes, treatment options, and what strides had been made to find a cure. Each morning when my husband left for work, I grabbed my computer and read countless articles and medical journal abstracts. Unfortunately, while I read an immense amount of information, I didn’t really get anywhere.
Eventually, I shifted my research to more holistic approaches. I began to learn about the body and how it’s capable of healing itself, if it’s given the right environment to do so. All in all, I decided it was worth a shot. What else did I have to lose?
This is right around the time that I began the blog. You can continue reading my story if you would like starting with the post, And The Journey Begins.