Sunday, January 20, 2008

From the Top

This has been a long time coming. I’m finally back to blogging after being absent for 13 months. So MUCH has changed within that very short time.

But before I dive into what has transpired, I would like to provide some context around why I want to post. My mission: Share my experiences with multiple sclerosis and educate the masses.

My MS story: During late October of 2005 I was out on a casual four mile run. Picture perfect day. No clouds. 70s. No humidity. An absolutely gorgeous fall day….except….except for the fact when I looked out into the horizon at a certain tree, I noticed it didn’t seem as clear as it should have been. For the rest of the run I noticed that things were just slightly out of focus. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. I was preparing to turn 30, and I figured my eyesight might be slowly deteriorate. A trip to the optometrist would clear everything up.

Two days passed. My vision worsened. It felt like I was walking in a tunnel. I wasn’t able to see well in my peripheral vision. On top of that I began to stumble here and there. My balance wasn’t right. Now I was starting to get nervous.

It was a Sunday afternoon when my then wife, Keri, took me to the ready-med location. Their diagnosis: an inner ear infection. What? How is that possible I asked. How does an inner ear infection cause vision problems? The balance part made sense but not the vision. I was given some medicine and told to stay home for a couple of days until the virus was out of my system.

Keri left on Monday morning for a business trip in Kansas City. I sat around the apartment waiting for my “inner ear” problem to work its way out.

Needless to say, it didn’t. Wednesday afternoon I ordered pizza. I pulled out the checkbook for the pizza, and I realized I could barely see the text. Uh oh. Not good.

Thursday morning I woke up and my vision was “bouncy.” I could not focus with both eyes open. Then the real shocker happened. As I put mouthwash I realized some of the liquid was squeezing out of the right side of the mouth. I was in shock. What was going on?

I then understood. I had little control or feeling over/within the right side of my face. In fact I couldn’t see my neckline by my right ear.

I’ll never forget the rest of that day. Optometrist to family doctor to neurologist. Keri flew up immediately when I was admitted to the hospital. My family came ASAP. That evening I experienced my first ever MRI. It’s a piece of cake now, but I feared death for the first time as I entered that small portal. There were concerns a tumor was putting pressure on my optical nerves. Nothing like the thought of a tumor sitting in my brain.

I can without a doubt say that Thursday evening was the longest and most miserable night of my life. I waited until the morning for the final results. Keri slept next to me in a horribly uncomfortable chair.

Dawn came along with additional tests. During that final round of test the doctor entered the room. His words to me, “Michael. Everything points exactly to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.” Oh my God. What does that even me? I immediately asked if I would walk. Would I ever regain my vision? What about the feeling in my face? I have to drink out of straw.

Fear of the unknown. A powerful weapon that can eat away at us all.

I told Keri my diagnosis but could not hold back the flood of tears, sadness and fear. Once the tears were over, it was time to get to business. I WAS going to get better.

And I did.

Three days of steroid drips followed by a month out of work, and I was finally back to 100%. Almost like it never happened.

Much has transpired since then. Over the next few blogs I will begin to re-cap my life and explain how I’m beating my MS.


Kim Fabrizio said...

Hi Michael, Welcome to the land of M.S. bloggers. I look forward to following your story, especially because your diagnosis process was so very similar to mine! Be well. Kim

Lazy Julie Baker said...

Welcome to MS and to blogging, Michael. You have the right attitude for this incredibly unpredictable disease.