It started 25 years ago today. The beginning of my major attack that brought about my diagnosis. I still remember the story all too clearly.
Valentine’s Day weekend, 25 years ago, I was moving into the house my ex-husband and I bought. We spent a few months sleeping at my mother’s house while updates were being completed. We were ready to move in and be alone in our new home. It was supposed to be a romantic thing first weekend in the house. I started having some difficulty walking that weekend. At first we didn’t think anything of it. Actually we thought maybe I pulled something somehow while moving. There was after all boxes, boxes and more boxes throughout the house. Furniture deliveries also were coming throughout the day. Things were happening all over. It was a crazy weekend. I’m sure anybody can relate who move at least once. When I started hobbling around that weekend we really never knew what it would lead too 6 days later. Saturday we were moving in to the house. Friday I was being pushed in a wheelchair for a MRI.
The prior summer was my first real symptom with multiple sclerosis but I wasn’t diagnosed yet. It was the optic neuritis in my right eye. I was 25 years old just getting promoted at work. The only way I could describe my vision issues was if I stare at the sun and then look down I would have a sunspot in my field of vision everywhere I looked. I went to a couple of doctors, even an ophthalmologist. I ended up with a $300 pair glasses I didn’t need. I finally went to a big eye specialist of some sort and he literally said
“for all I know it’s in her head.”
These words I have never forgotten in 25 years. Those words prevented me from going to go see a doctor immediately when the major attack happened that Valentine’s Day week. Why? I never actually got an answer of what was wrong when I had optic neuritis. I wouldn’t actually get that information until after my MS diagnosis. When the optic neuritis started, I was under a lot of stress at work. I was hating my current boss plus I was about to be promoted. I just couldn’t wait to get away from her. Once again, things in my life were a little crazy at the time. The doctors I saw didn’t find anything wrong with my eye. I finally got my promotion, things settled down. One day my mom said, “how’s your eye?” I realized just like that it was gone. Just like that!!! I thought that maybe it was in my head because I was under so much stress. Why would I think any different?
Leading up to buying the house, the mortgage application, the calls, all of it was funneled through me. It was before cell phones so calls were made before work, during and after. I was stressed out beyond belief. I’d drive home thinking I wish everyone would leave me alone. If I stayed in my car no one would find me. Then setting up the work in the house, the problems we encountered it was very overwhelming. When I started having issues with the left side of my body, it felt as if someone was shooting me with Novocain. First my foot and calf, thigh and hip, stomach and arms etc. I was just 26 years old, this didn’t happen to young people. Plus what the hell kind of injury spreads like this and spreads so fast? It didn’t make logical sense to me. I was thinking this can’t be an injury, it must be because of stress again….all in my head. That Wednesday my mother and stepdad walk into the restaurant where I work. Without me even telling them what I thought was happening with my left side, they said…..
“this is NOT in your head, something is wrong”
The rest is history. I went to a neurologist got the diagnosis quick. See the eye specialist DID in fact do an MRI which showed a brain lesion but never informed me because it was stated insignificant by itself. Fast forward to February and the MRI had drastic changes from that with many lesions and the diagnosis was made.
February 14th is Valentine’s Day here in the States but for me it will always be my multiple sclerosis anniversary.