December 2014, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was 24 years old and had encountered 6 months of uncertainty/losing my freaking marbles/over-exaggerating about whether I had this illness/disease/disability or not.
It all began early 2014 when I kept getting shooting pains down my spine, tingling and slight numbness in my left thigh
*Just to point out… if anyone reading this i suffering with these symptoms.. please don’t see it as you’ve got MS… Please visit your GP.. I am NOT a medical professional.. this is just my story*
Anyway, I went to the doctors a few times who would tell me that it was just a trapped nerve and give me medication to help it go away.. one Doctor even tried prescribing me drugs for pain that I hadn’t even complained about!! So I just carried on… ignoring whatever this weird sensation was and carrying on with life quite happily.
One morning on my way to work the numbness got worse and started travelling throughout the whole of my left side! I was taken straight to hospital where they were suspecting a mini stroke (MS never came into the equation at this point!) I had to have an MRI — word of advice.. anyone whose claustrophobic.. ask for a blindfold.. it will make the MRI slightly easier! I also had to have a lumbar puncture (A needle that’s inserted into the back to retrieve some of the spinal fluid for tests) and a few days in hospital — No one likes being in hospital.. I particularly wasn’t happy about it and got quite upset.. however they had chocolate cake and custard served most days so that definitely made me feel better!! (I wonder if they knew I was coming and got all of the chocolate cake in ready?!)
The day before my birthday was the day the doctors came to visit my bedside.. they were so lovely and calming and told me that there was some scarring on my brain from the MRI.. now this scarring could of been old from a previous infection (I had glandular fever when I was younger, I think 14) or that it could be Multiple Sclerosis! They told me that I’d be seen by a Neurologist and that they would carry out certain tests to see if I had the disease.
What a great birthday present right?! I had a lovely birthday surrounded by my friends and family and even had a little spa day, which was great!! A couple of weeks after my hospital visit I went and visited a Neurologist who told me that they needed to wait and see if I had anymore ‘different episodes’ – I specify on the word different because they needed to see if I had anything new occur before they could fully diagnose me. They then went onto tell me that I was booked in for another MRI in 6 months time and that this would hopefully be the time they’d be able to tell whether or not I had a life-long condition…
I tried to carry on my life as normally as possible, I knew MS wasn’t the best outcome but there are far worse things to have out there. Most of the time I was fine, I blocked out any negative thoughts and enjoyed living and having fun. It was the times when all of a sudden a massive rush of extreme tiredness (fatigue) and I couldn’t fully explain to anyone how I was really feeling because if I said that I was really tired and couldn’t do certain things.. their response would have been ‘oh, you just need a better nights sleep’, ‘you’ve go a lot on your mind’, ‘oh yeah, I’m knackered today too’ So I just got sucked into that little circle of thinking those comments and just carried on.
Other times I’d feel really emotional for no real reason, I just couldn’t explain it.. like I’d cry for no reason at all (No it wasn’t PMS lol) so I was given anti-depressants to help with that… Well… My GP at the time just handed them out to me without even actually talking to me and trying to help tackle the route of the cause so.. that says a lot!!
Anyway, after those LONG 6 months I had my second MRI and that’s when in December 2014 I got my diagnosis. I know this is going to be really silly but I was kind of pleased in some way… a sort of relief that I wasn’t loosing my marbles or ‘going over the top’ as mums usually say!
I was to be assigned an MS nurse and was told about the different treatment options available and told that I should really take the treatment because it should hopefully reduce the chances of the MS progressing any quicker..
I was started on a drug called Techfidera – a relatively new drug which came in the form of a tablet.. You’d start off taking one dose and then after a certain time period they increased it to the next dose up. To start off with I didn’t have any problems, no side affects or anything! However once I had started the next dose up I started to get horrendous stomach cramps and I mean I’d be up majority of the night with them and sometimes I couldn’t go to work because it was just too much.
After a couple of months of feeling just awful I made the decision to come off the treatment and have a break until I saw my Neurologist again.
I am still living with this illness without treatment and doing ‘okay’.. some days are better than others and sometimes I have relapses. I made the decision for myself to not have treatment. Instead I am trying to learn about this illness, discover my own body and help myself naturally. My Neurologist is happy for me at the moment to continue without treatment — I mean they can’t force me! I also know that some people might think I’m silly/foolish for not taking the chance to potentially prevent the disease from progressing quicker!
But what I ask is, we are all different right? Our bodies all work in different ways and react to things differently. If MS is going to progress quickly then it will do so regardless of how many injections I have or how many pills I take to try and prevent it. I’d rather enjoy my life for now and try the best that I can to make my life easier to deal with and learn ways in which I can not only help myself but also help others manage this illness naturally.
Doctors are amazing and they know so much and save so many lives, but at the end of the day.. this is my journey… my MS… and it is MY decision on which path I am going to take next.
Thank You so much for taking the time to read my MS Diagnosis story, I hope you found it interesting. I’m going to be documenting how I’m doing with regards to managing this illness every so often.. maybe give a monthly update or something and set some goals etc.. by the end of 2017 I want to be able to say that I have been able to help myself have a fantastic year living with MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS!