Friday, January 23, 2009


Today is a good day. I can walk. I can run. My vision is in focus. Nothing hurts... a very rare occasion. I'm thankful for now... because tomorrow... or next week... or even this afternoon... things could be different.

I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003. My diagnosis was deemed 'definitive' in October of that year... which means that my diagnosis fit into the standards established by the United States government to define disability. Amazing that even in something as clearly medical in nature as the diagnosis of a chronic illness, the government still has hoops to be jumped through. Of course, the insurance companies also played a part... without the definitive diagnosis, my drug therapies would not be covered.

For several months... actually a couple of years... I had shown up in my doctor's office with a series of seemingly random and unrelated symptoms. Shoulder pain... vision disturbances... extreme fatigue... numbness in an arm... and others... just little things that independently didn't seem all that important. Various diagnoses were made... and treatments prescribed and adjusted... and abandoned. Until, finally I showed up there one afternoon with a severe headache that just would NOT respond to any medication. My doctor, a general practitioner who in my mind should be knighted... or nominated for sainthood... or something like that... asked me if I would be okay with going for an MRI... and of course, I said yes. He was focused on the headache... and it's migraine properties... and sent me for a vascular MRI.

So... there I am... inside the tunnel... listening to some of my favorite music... when the voice of the technician says "We'd like to get a clearer picture... would you mind if we did some neurological pictures while you're here?" And again... of course, I said yes. Out of the tunnel for an injection of dye to enhance the images... and back into the tunnel.

Then a day or so later, back to my doctor... who tells me gently that the images show lesions very similar to those created by multiple sclerosis... and then tells me that the neurologist that he would really like me to see is out of the country doing lectures in Europe... and asks if I will be okay waiting for a couple of weeks or if the waiting would make me insane. And... since sanity is not one of my strong suits to begin with... I said I would wait. Which I'm thankful for... the neurologist turned out to be another angel placed in my life.

He scheduled evoke potential testing... and a spinal tap... or in the more pc phrasing... a lumbar puncture... among other things.... more on that another day.

Thankfully... even before the diagnosis was confirmed, he suggested that I immediately begin a therapy... Copaxone daily injections... and I immediately agreed. I've now been doing the injections for five years. And more on that another day.

Today was just a brief... as brief as I could make it... overview of my diagnosis. I hope to expand on each step of that process as well as share information here about living with MS... supporting and encouraging a loved one with MS... available resources... and just doing life with a chronic illness... an adventure it is!!

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