Saturday, March 24, 2018

MS Awareness Month: Did I Have Pediatric MS?

It’s #MSAwarenessMonth once again. So for the next few days, I will share some info on MS and my journey with it. I’ve officially had MS now for about 23 years, and MS-related trigeminal neuralgia for around 20. However, my doctors think there’s a good chance that I actually had a pediatric case. It couldn’t be diagnosed, as next to no one believed you could have it that young back then. Two incidents make me think they might be right. 

The first happened in 1990, when I was 15, during a time when the summer heat was unreal (MS is heat-reactive). I found myself unable to stay awake, especially during the afternoons, and I started to get frequent, unexplained bouts of pleurisy, amongst other weird symptoms. Then all the weirdness stopped just as abruptly as it had began. 

The second time was at Miamisburg High School. I did some work on programs for a public access channel, and on this occasion, I was operating a boom mic during an interview. As before, it was during a heat wave. Before I knew it, I passed out. Just fainted, right then and there...a mortifying experience when you’re 17! For a few weeks after, I was utterly exhausted, plagued with ear infections, nausea and vertigo, and completely incapable of coping with the heat. As I did during the first bout, I slept during the afternoons, whether I wanted to or not. But once again, it went away as quickly and mysteriously as before.

Fast forward to 1995. I took a hot shower, walked towards my bedroom, and BAM! I fell. I could not stand up or even move: my legs felt like they suddenly turned into Jello. For 20 of the longest minutes of my life, I sat on the floor, with no feeling whatsoever in my legs. It was terrifying. After that, a veritable cascade of symptoms started to appear. The MonSter was unleashed. And this time, there would be no years of remission afterwards.

On my next post, I will talk about how I got diagnosed, and how very hard it is for most people (including yours truly) to get that diagnosis...which included doctors insisting I had postpartum depression, and a doctor laughing at me when I told him I was concerned I might have MS! 


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