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.