Thursday, April 17, 2014

One Year and Counting: What a Journey It's Been

On this day one year ago, I received some life changing information. For a few months I had serious pain in my feet. I thought it was maybe the new shoes I had just purchased, because breaking new shoes in can be painful! I also had been struggling with the vision in my right eye, which had been diagnosed as a lazy eye since I was a child. I assumed that the constant fatigue was because of my weight, which in turn lead to brain fog. I had also been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis which brought on constant headaches, and carpel tunnel syndrome when I was in the military.

 I went in for an MRI of my head early in the morning, and that afternoon received a phone call from my doctor. The radiologists had confirmed what my doctor suspected, I had multiple lesions on my brain. My doctor directed me to the hospital as soon as possible to start a high dose of steroids. Before they could confirm a diagnosis of MS, they had to run more tests because there is no one test that can test for MS. While I was in the hospital, they tested for Lyme's Disease, Lupus (two diseases I had previously been tested for in the military), and few other diseases. They did two more MRIs, this time of my neck and spine. I had multiple lesions in both. They did a spinal tap to test for Oligoclonal Bands. If four or more O-Bands are found in the cerebral spinal fluid, then it is consistent with a diagnosis of MS. I had 12 O-bands.

 You see, the lesions in my brain had been caused by my own immune system attacking the protective coating around my nerves. I was in the hospital for 5 days, during which I researched as much as I could about MS. I learned that it is a very individual disease. It effects each person differently, no two cases are the same. The National MS Society defines MS as: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. There are four different types of MS. I have Relapsing-Remitting MS.

I've been on Copaxone, a daily injection, for almost a year now as well. Some of my symptoms have subsided. My vision, the biggest concern of my doctor, has been doing well! My feet only hurt when I've stressed myself out, over worked, or am overheated. The two lingering symptoms are fatigue and brain fog. I get tired so easily, my memory stinks, and I sometimes have a hard time processing information.

I have fears of the disease progressing. Because MS in unpredictable, what's to stop it from ravaging my health in the night. I fear that I will lose the use of my legs and arms. With each ache and pain and tingle, I wonder, 'Is this it? Is this the last day I will walk?" I need a daily reminder that God loves me. That He said : So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) I have nothing to fear, weather I am walking or rolling, God is with me. I can lean into Him, and He will give me the strength I need to make it through the journey. He is my source of Hope, Joy, Strength, and Peace. I hope that there will one day soon be a cure for MS. I am joyful that I am able to share God's love for me, and His people, through my journey. I am strengthened by His unconditional love for me. And I can be at peace and say, 'It is well with my soul' because I know that I have an eternal spot in Heaven praising His name. There will be no more diseases, no more pain, and no more sorrow.

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