Monday, January 19, 2009

Introduction To My Disease

This blog is going to be about me and MS (multiple sclerosis). I was diagnosed with MS in the early 1990's, shortly after my husband and I were married. So, he has been through the entire experience with me. Arnie is an amazing husband, friend, and caregiver.

The first symptom appeared as numbness. One day I woke up to find that I was numb on my right side, completely numb. It was like someone had drawn a line down the middle of my body, even the right side of my tongue was numb. A lot of tests were run and two neurologists told me that nothing was wrong with me, that it was all in my head. Finally, I found a doctor who would listen to me. He watched my progress and then sent me for yet another MRI scan. With that, I got the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

The years passed. I began to lose my balance more and fall more. My arms got weak, then my legs got weak. I had to start using a rollator (a walker with four wheels) or two forearm crutches to ambulate.

Four years ago I found out about St. Francis Service Dogs, and I applied for a service dog. (See for Montana/Monty stories.) One year ago, I was matched with Montana. He has changed my life, and I love him to pieces.

In October, I developed optic neuritis in my left eye. My ophthalmologist (I've since gotten a new one) diagnosed my problem as dry eye. One month later, I had 48 hours of intense pain and blurriness in my left eye. It was then that I was told I had optic neuritis. In December, my neurologist prescribed a 3-day course of IV Solumedrol (steroids). That cleared up the blurriness for the most part, and the pain.

In December, I developed tremors in my entire body. It became hard for me to even feed myself. I did some online research and found out that they have weighted cutlery, so I ordered a soup spoon, a teaspoon, a knife and a fork. They help. I also discovered that if you use wrist and ankle weights, they will help control your tremors. So, I ordered 1.5 lb weights for my wrists and 2.5 lb weights for my ankles. They also help.

I am determined to keep walking as long as possible. Don't get me wrong, this disease kicks my butt sometimes and gets me down. But, you have to get back up and keep going. I do that with the help of Arnie and Montana.

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