I started experiencing symptoms shortly after a minor motor vehicle accident. While in the ER, I noticed that my feet were tingling. When I reported this to medical staff they responded that it was because I was hyperventilating. Being a trained EMT, I knew I wasn't hyperventilating; pulse and respirations were normal. Anyway, the tingling didn't go away, and I was diagnosed with MS 7 months later. Fatigue has been the most troublesome symptom, making parenting four boys difficult. I've tried the injectibles...don't like them, so now my neuro wants me to see an immunologist...woo hoo.
My husband told me about the time he learned his mother had MS. His parents called all of the kids to a family meeting, and then they broke the horrible news to them. Everyone was shocked, devastated and crying. It was a horrible day for the entire family.
It was a little different when I learned I had MS in September of 2001. I was 32. The doctor said matter-of-factly, "All the tests confirm that you have multiple sclerosis." Well, my heart lifted and I exclaimed, "Thank God!" You see, I was so thankful that those weird symptoms were not all in my head...literally, as in the case of a brain tumor; and figuratively as in the case of imagined symptoms or mental illness.
I have the added challenge of living with a psychiatric diagnosis of depression. I've learned that when I need medical attention, my symptoms are seldom taken seriously because it's always easier for the doctor to refer me to therapy or prescribe antidepressants. There is a stigma associated with mental illness. I've experienced it. I've experienced a loss of credibility in the eyes of doctors. Most don't believe what I say. It is very sad, actually. I'm a college educated, intelligent and articulate woman, but in the eyes of many medical professionals, I'm no more believable than a child telling tales. So you can see how I was thrilled with the diagnosis of MS. It verified to the doctors that the physical symptoms I experienced were real (I knew they were real). And I was also pleased the symptoms were not a result of a fatal brain tumor.
The years since my diagnosis have been difficult primarily due to the incapacitating fatigue. The fatigue is also a trigger for depression. So I need to always be vigilant in not letting either symptom get out of hand because one will just aggravate the other. But as a mother of four boys, there are times when I just get plain worn out.
Being a parent with MS is a challenge in and of itself. I became pregnant with my fourth son two years after my diagnosis. The pregnancy went well, and my symptoms did not exacerbate. I also nursed him for 13 months. Again, no exacerbation of symptoms. But I can say with certainty that raising this little boy is definitely more exhausting than the others...but I think age has something to do with it as well.
I am thrilled that I came across patientslikeme.com today, and I look forward to communicating with others in a similar situation.