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Wednesday 30 May 2012

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis: "I was absolutely shattered." Real-life story

Today is 'World MS Day.'

It's a day for multiple sclerosis awareness, and if you are like me, you have little idea what it looks like, how it shows itself, even if you have a diagnosis.

You can go here for all the info you need.

I spoke with a friend of mine who has MS. She is 41. Her name is *Chantel.

Here is her story:

"I was diagnosed in February 2009.

In 2006, I lost feeling to the right side of my body and after tests the doctor thought it was MS but never diagnosed me with MS, as it was the first attack.

I thought I'd had a stroke; it took me nine months to get feeling back. MS attacks people in different ways; it could be blurred vision, numbness. If it attacks your spine, well, you are confined to a wheelchair.

I have a friend who has blurred vision as well, and in December she just couldn’t talk. She lost her speech and she is still slurring but on the road to recovery.

With my next attack, my vision became blurry, and after tests they diagnosed me with MS.

The test doctors conduct are MRI and lumbar punctures, and with the MRI they can see lesions on the brain.

When they checked my eye, one pupil would dilate when a light was shining, while the other didn’t react.

I still remember that day - a bunch of med students were in the examination room and they were amazed when this was happening... but it was very scary for me.

They put me on steroids to try and help the sight back, but my nerve is damaged. They diagnosed this as 'Optic Neuritis.'

How did I feel when I was diagnosed? Absolutely shattered.

I did not know much about it at first, but the more I read on the internet, the more I learned.

And it was a really scary feeling.

I try and be positive and push myself, but I get tired very easily, and I get frustrated as I lost sight in one eye so it can be real hard at times.

I get depressed and I have come off my medication for no real reason.

I need to inject myself three times a week and I came off the MS medication thinking it will probably be okay but by me not taking it, but there are risks of me having another MS attack and it can happen anywhere and without notice.

The worst thing is my kids [she has two daughters] - it affects them too. The more I say to them "I’m okay", the more they know I am not."

Do you know someone with MS? Feel free to share stories here.

*Not her real name.

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