This is the very first online community I’ve join since my diagnosis and I figured a good place to start was with an introduction and my own story. So hello everyone (or anyone who may stumble upon this!) (: !
My name is Melissa, I am 28 years old, and I was officially diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS on November 21, 2017 though that’s not really where my story starts.
I first experienced symptoms on April 22, 2016 and I’ll never forget that day – I had just started a brand new job and I was only two weeks into it. I had started telling people at work that something was off that day, some would even pull me aside and inquire what was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, I just knew something was wrong. Most of them shrugged it off saying things like, “You’re just stressed.” or “It’s your first two weeks, learning all this information is overwhelming.” I tried to convince myself they were right but I knew that deep down it was something more than that.
When I woke up that morning, I felt incredibly tired. But not the type of tired where you go out all night, come home and get two hours of sleep, then go to work tired. It was the kind of tired where I had attempted to put mascara on but even holding the brush up to my eye was extremely exhausting – nearly impossible. BUT it didn’t really raise any alarms to me, just seemed odd, so I carried on and went to work.
It was only after getting to work that I realized I couldn’t talk properly. The words and sentences would formulate in my mind but I couldn’t bring them forward and out the same way. My coworkers described it to me as if I was someone who was either incredibly intoxicated or what they imagined someone who had suffered a stroke sounded like – my speech was slurred, broken, almost nonsensical. I had tried to rationalize what was happening as nothing to worry about but I think I already knew at that point it was more than that.
Nevertheless, I didn’t actually go to the hospital until late afternoon that Sunday (this is particularly odd for me as it should be noted I am very much a hypochondriac when it comes to my health but again, I think I knew this wasn’t nothing but was hoping it would just “resolve itself” so I could avoid it). At the hospital all my blood work was normal and so I went in for a CT scan. After the scan, the doctor comes into the room and says to me (verbatim). “I wish I had better new for you but you have what appears to be a mass on your brain and we need to send you to ________ for an MRI.” (*I will avoid describing the shock, tears and heartbreak from my loved ones and that moment you realize that your world is about to change and in my mind for the absolute worst — because I’m sure reading this you can kind of imagine without me describing it in detail).
After my MRI, the neurologist comes in and explains that I didn’t have a mass on my brain but in fact a number of lesions. I went in the next day for a lumbar puncture, a chest x-ray and a series of blood tests. Everything came back clear. Since my speech was so severally affected, I went into hospital for the next 3 days for steroid therapy. (My speech returned to normal within a week of that therapy).
I was referred to my local MS Clinic and from there I was going for MRI scans and appointments every couple months to monitor. I was advised that I was considered CIS until any changes occurred. My scans remained unchanged until November 20, 2017 and it was then I was diagnosed with RRMS. On my 28th birthday, I met with an MS Nurse to discuss my diagnosis and the DMT options available to me. I decided right away that I would be going on a DMT and started Avonex a week later.
And that’s it, a brief overview of my journey so far. I knew right away I wanted to get more involved in the community – to share my story and to read/hear stories from those willing to share theirs. It’s only now, that the “dust has settled” a little (so to speak), that I’ve decided to share my story and start this journey. I look forward to continuing to get more involved in the community and continue to learn as I go along.
Thanks for taking the time to give this a read (:
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