Monday, June 28, 2010

Small Celebrations

I decided to do the first entry here on the first anniversary (well, the day before) of my going into the hospital for treatment of my Multiple Sclerosis. It's a way for me to look back and remind myself, not of how crappy most of this last year has been, but of how much I've accomplished, and of the journey to here.

A little background: (I'll try to be concise here, although I am not generally so, but leaving out details will allow me to have more posts later! Also, most of the people reading this already know me, so they know the story. Anyway...)

I was diagnosed with MS in March of 2007 after first having symptoms in August 2006. I had a lot of numbness and tingling (like pins and needles) in my feet, which then appeared in my hands, and eventually up and down my left side. I went to the neurologist, who did a bunch of tests, and some MRIs, and eventually a spinal tap in March. The spinal tap wasn't so bad, but I ended up bedridden for 2 weeks because I didn't heal properly, and I had the world's worst headache, because my spinal fluid was leaking. I was put on Copaxone, a medication that was injected every day. I had little exacerbations here and there, but nothing major (usually just new sites of pins and needles), and a new MRI every 6 months.

Last June, in the middle of breaking up with my then-boyfriend, with whom I was supposed to move to New Jersey, I had a scary set of attacks. (The breakup left me with several problems, including a new lease they wanted us to pay $7000 to break, the task of informing several members of higher management that their hard work to find me a job in another state was useless, and nowhere to live, since I'd already given notice to my landlord. In essence, there was a lot of stress involved.) Without warning, my right hand would seize, and then the rest of the right side of my body. It only lasted about 20 seconds every time, but it kept happening. The neurologist sent me to the ER, where I was admitted, and put on IV steroids. (My dad says that now, no matter how well I do on my own, I will always have an asterisk next to my name.) I was there for 4 days, and then had a week off, when I tried to regain my strength. Then I went back to work.

Now I'm on Rebif, which I inject 3 times a week. The side effects are a lot worse (flu-like symptoms for 24 hours, feeling hot all the time, fatigue, etc) and the bruises are nasty. But I haven't had any new symptoms, which is good!

So that's the story, nutshell-like, or as nutshell as I can make it. The blog is really about 2 things:
1. To inform people about multiple sclerosis from a personal point of view. If you have questions, ask them! I feel like this is a disease that not a lot of people know about, (a co-worker asked if I had to take calcium supplements. I informed him that was Osteoporosis. Sounds the same, but not the same.) and maybe they should!
2. The title! In the last year, I've been through a lot, not just with the MS, but a whole crapload of other crap (if you are curious, maybe you should continue reading!!) and it's taught me so much about myself. Mostly, that I need to pay attention to the little things. Those tiny things in the world that make me happy are what makes living (with or without a disease) good.

So I ask you to join me in celebrating my recent successes (I haven't been in-patient in a WHOLE YEAR!) as well as those little things that make us happy. Hey, thanks.

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