Braving MS for over 13 years – Bravelets

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Braving MS for over 13 years

Posted on February 28 2014

Braving MS for over 13 years
I had my first symptoms from Multiple Sclerosis in 1999.  I had been having pains in my neck and had gone to my doctor who told me I was just stressed.  When I continued to complain, she sent me to a neurologist who said I needed stress management.

By the end of that year I had blurred vision in my right eye and had gone from one eye doctor to eye specialist to another.  Finally ending up at a retinal specialist who said I had a wavy line in my retina but something he thought would go away.  It did, so I didn't think much of it.

I got pregnant with my daughter that winter and didn't experience anything else until after my daughter was born.  I was tired a lot.  I thought it was from having a baby, but it was more than just tired.  Then in 2000 I was having the pain, weird pinching, tingly pain in my neck again and a feeling when I bent my head forward of an electric shock going down my left side into my left hand, making the fingers numb and down my leg making my toes go numb.  I even felt a weird wooshing feeling in my heel.

I went to a NEW doctor that time.  He examined me and said, "Well, it could be a pinched nerve or it could be MS."  I calmly freaked out.  After the appointment I went back to work and looked up Multiple Sclerosis.  All I could think of was Annette Funicello and it scared me so much.  What I found was a list of symptoms of everything I had been experiencing and the one that really stood out was "blurred vision in one or both eyes."  As soon as I read that I called my doctor back and went back to see him the next week.

It took an MRI, an appointment with a neurologist and more tests for me to be told on November 15, 2002 that I had MS.

I was really scared and still never know what to expect.  However, since my diagnosis I've had my son, whom I love so much.  I've gotten divorced.  That wasn't so much fun.  But I've also been on different medications, one was the injectible Copaxone that I was on for 6 years, battled with side-effects from a new oral medication and now I'm finally on a medication that has helped me so much.  I'm doing much better.

I also recently got married to my wonderful husband, Ray, who supports me in my fight for a cure.

This is why I still fight and raise money and awareness of this disease.  That very first doctor I went to didn't know about MS, didn't know the signs.  The retinal specialist I went to didn't know I had Optic Neuritis.  I lost a couple years from being diagnosed, but I wouldn't have wanted it to be different since I have two beautiful children who make me brave.

I want there to be more awareness and I want to one day hear people say, "I used to have MS."
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