- Sex: F
- Data Quality: 2 stars
- MS: 13 yrs
- Type: Relapsing-Remitting
- Sensation: Mild
- Overall: None
- Cognition: none
- Vision: none
- Speech: none
- Swallowing: none
- Upper limb: none
- Walking: mild
- Female, 37 years
- Gulfport, MS
- Primary Condition
- First symptom
I am a 36 year old wife (of 17 years), mom (to a 13 yo), nurse, and student. I had gastric bypass surgery 5 years ago (pictures in the bigger section ;-). I am so glad I had this surgery! I am an animal lover and have many =) DH is in the military. I am from PA originally. I was told I may have MS in 2000, but refused testing (I didn't want to know), but it got to a point where I could not ignore a relapse in 2008. I woke up practically paralyzed on my left side. Since that relapse, my signs and symptoms have been worse, and noticeable, but manageable. I started Copaxone on May 26th, 2008
So, to go a little deeper about my MS story, it goes like this:
Even though I didn't want to believe it, my story actually begins in May of 2000. At the time, I had so much stress on me. I had just graduated nursing school. Was back in college full time, working full time, my husband had been gone (deployed to Antarctica) for a month, we were traveling back and forth from VA to PA every weekend cause my father in law was terminally ill, and the end of April *MY* dog who was my baby was tragically killed. So, when I started having blackouts, double vision, and blurred vision I chalked it up to stress. Then I started slurring my speech, losing my balance and coordination, falling/tripping over nothing. The thing that scared me into the docs office was when I had trouble swallowing. Being a new nurse, I knew these were signs of a stroke, so I was concerned. (I am not one to visit the docs much at all, and I HATE complaining.)
The doc took one look at me after my neuro exam and told me he was admitting me to the hospital. He ran a battery of tests; all came back negative for a stroke. He told me then to follow up with a neurologist because he suspected MS. I decided I didn't want to know if I had MS, so I never followed up. Once again I just figured it was the stress load I was under. (I did not want the stigma of MS, being a new nurse and only 24 years old.)
Over the years I have mentioned this to doctors when I would follow up or go in for something because they ask about hospitilizations. None of us ever decided to follow-up on it.
Fast forward to the end of January of 2008. I had a fever of 103 something. Two days after it broke, I woke up and my left side was practically paralyzed. I called DH because I was freaked out. He wanted to take me to the docs, I said no, it is just related to the flu that I had. It'll go away. After it's worsening over the week, DH insisted I go to the docs. The PCM called the neuro while I was in the office and got me in the next day after seeing her (VERY unusual for the military medical system). They thought GB at first. THAT scared me!
The nuero ruled out GB fairly quickly, and lined up several tests. Gobs of blood work, an MRI, EMG, and spinal tap.
During the MRI, my hubby said he got concerned cause they called a doc in. I said well, it was prolly for someone else. I really thought nothing of it. I even put off getting my results for 3 weeks. When I went in, I truly expected the neuro to say, "It was normal." Every time I went in for something, "it was normal," or, "we can't find anything," was the result. My brain was 3 steps ahead of her, so imagine my shock when it wasn't, "It was normal," that came out of her mouth. My brain shut down, and the next few minutes are a blur. Then the nurse in me came out. I wanted to see my MRI. She showed me the lesions, and at that moment I said, "Them d@mn little b@$t@rds." She laughed.
Spinal tap results showed greater than 5 oligoclonal bands and an IgG almost triple what the norm is. So, it is confirmed.
Everything makes sense now. I have not just been lazy the last 8 years. There is a reason I hate swimming during the day, and why I hate to go outside during the hot part of the day. There is a reason that fatigue hits me and almost knocks me out, out of the blue. So many things now make sense.
I don't regret not finding out 11 years ago, because I think the label of "MS" may have made me "sicker" than I was. Now I know I have lived with it, through some pretty tough times (moves, dad's death, hubby in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina), and will continue to do so. I am a tad easier on myself now when it comes to some things. Three days before the diagnosis, I was just hired for my 2nd job, was working on writing 2 books, and signed up for classes to get 4 degrees simultaneously. I am still doing all those things (except I have not been in the writing mood, so I have not worked on my book), and will do so... but I am also more aware of my body.
So, talk about writing a book - here you go. This is only the first chapter. I plan on filling many more chapters of life.
On May 13, 2008, I followed up for a second opinion with an MS specialist. He was very knowlegable. He concured with the diagnosis, although after the neuro exam, he told me, "If I didn't have your chart in front of me, your MRI results, and your LP results, I would tell you there is nothing wrong with you. For being 8 years into this disease, you are doing quite well." He also strongly recommended I start DMDs which I didn't want to do. He said we are in prevention mode, and need to keep it there as long as possible since, right now, there is nothing to "treat." I am going to use copaxone as I do not want the side effects of the interferons.
I had Gastric Bypass Surgery in 2006. I have lost, to date, 155 pounds. I have reached my original goal, and my surgeons goal. I am now wanting to lose an additional 15 pounds. I have gone from a size 28 to an 8, and from a 4x scrub set, to a SMALL!!!!! OMG, me in a SMALL!!!! I can't believe it. Here are some before and afters:
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