I wish I had kept a blog when I went through the whole whirlwind of being diagnosed but it may have been one heck of a depressing blog. So I will just start from the beginning and explain my MS story.
I had spent the day taking NYS teaching exams. Each exam took me about 2 1/2 to 3 hours and in retrospect taking them back to back was a bad idea. I was staying with my friend Steph for the weekend because her house was much closer to the test site than school was. I remember getting out of the second test and being just exhausted, but who wouldn't be after that. Steph picked me up and we went back to her house for dinner and by 8 o'clock I was heading back to school. The drive was about 25 minutes and within that 25 minutes it just started to feel like my mind and my body were not syncing together...I honestly don't know how I made it back to school. I remember getting back to my room and watching TV and my right leg started going numb - just like if it fallen asleep - but it wasn't waking up. I had called my parents and they said it was probably stress, or maybe I pinched a nerve. As the night continued the tingling continued to creep up the right side of my body and when I woke up the next morning the whole right half of my body was numb. I waited until 7:30 before calling my parents to have them drive out to take me to the ER.
October 12th. I spent the day in the ER. I was quizzed dozen of times by numerous doctors and nurses if I was taking anything, and they all just pushed the fact that I was in college and it has to be stress related. At the time I was twenty and its pretty easy to tell when I am stressed and when I am not - I was definitely anything but stressed. Finally I had a CT scan and then a MRI and then it was just a waiting game for the results. My mom was beyond stressed out - she ended up passing out in the ER - so my dad took her home for the night. Doctors figured results wouldn't be in until the morning so I figured I would be alright alone in the ER. Around 10:30-11PM one of the neurologist that was assigned to my case came in and broke the news that my scans were abnormal and it appeared that I had either mini strokes of MS. That was hard to deal with...so of course they call a social worker because they think I am some abandoned girl in the ER...well I ended up calling Steph who came out in the middle night to stay with me.
October 13th. At some very early hour I was admitted to the 5th floor of the hospital - Neurology. I was pumped with steroids for the next three days. I had a second MRI, a VEP (that is just trippy) and a spinal tap.
October 14th. I was officially diagnosed with MS.
October 15th. More steroids.
October 16th. I was released from the hospital and headed back to school. I didn't regain any feeling in my right side and my balance was visibly unstable.
Fast-Forward to November 11th.
Taylor Swifts new album -Fearless- hit stores. Little did I know that it would be my soundtrack through my next hospital stay. I drove home the night before and I just kept telling my parents that something just didn't feel right and my mind and my body weren't working right. That morning I ran errands with my dad and we stopped after to pick up Taylor Swifts album because I had to have it for the drive back to school. I headed back to school after lunch and of course sang along to all the songs as I drove back. I remember hitting the half way mark - Montezuma - and it just kept getting harder and harder to sing along. A few songs later I couldn't make a sound...I tried not to worry...because I had to make it to school. I finally made it to school and got of of my car and I couldn't walk straight, I could barley walk on two feet...I stumbled into the building and luckily Steph was there. I immediately got out my computer and started to IM her to let her know that I had to go to the hospital. She called my parents and off we went to the ER. I think its safe to say I have never been any more freaked out than I was that day. When we got to the ER I was immediately called back and during the routine EKG red flags went off like crazy. My heart-rate was over 180 and so I was taken back to trauma unit. I was hooked to to machines and of course a team of numerologists was down staring at me twiddling their thumbs with confusion. The worst part was that I started having trouble swallowing so that was a major concern.
I had a MRI and it showed that a lesion was right by my brain stem - hence the massive attack on my system. I was in the hospital until Thanksgiving. Steroids were not effective so I had four rounds of Plasmapheresis. While in the hospital I developed the worst muscle spasms that according to my doctors they had ever seen. After four rounds of Plasmapheresis I also had to have two extra bags of fresh frozen plasma put back into my system because all my levels were low.
It took me just over a week to begin any kind of speech again, and it wasn't pretty when it started. While doctors were optimistic on day 1, by day 5 they were prepping me and my family for the worst. I learned how to use communication boards and software that speaks for you. There were even talks of long term rehabilitation. School was out of the question, luckily my professors cut the semester short and just closed their books for me and gave me credit for everything I had done...I even made deans list that semester...
Anyways, when I was released from the hospital I was still a mess, however I started quickly getting stronger and stronger. I was doing speech therapy at home and I was even able to convince my parents to let me do PT outside of my house. I have a favorite PT guy who has rehabbed me through two knee surgeries and a hip injury. I used to go to PT 3 days a week and it was the only time I left the house for a month, but it was awesome, he helped with my balance and strength and just getting me ready to be up and active again.
There was talks about not completing the spring semester of my junior year, but I was not having any of that. I was bound and determined to go back, and I did. Sure I was not a 100 percent but my professors were understanding and I made it through the semester in one piece.
It was during that semester that I started my blog. I am now a senior, a month away from graduate, still going strong and still shocking people when they see all that Ive done since they had seen me so sick.
I guess that is the end of my story for now...I hope you enjoy my blog and my honest look at what I'm going through with the unpredictable disease.