Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Boy Who Cried MS

So tell me, have you ever been in a place where you were telling the truth but no one believed you? Kinda like the boy who cried wolf but in this story, the boy never lied. 

 Early in my teen years, I experienced changes in my body. Oh sure, puberty does some weird things to you at that age... but not fatigue, memory loss, or bladder problems. In school, I started forgetting my homework and kept falling asleep in class. Those are pretty common things  in high school freshmen right? At least that's what all my teachers and family thought, assuming I was just lazy and apathetic about my grades. 

 MS is one of the most misunderstood diseases out there. MS is often referred to as an "invisible disease". Meaning just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it's not there. Some if not all MS patients, or "MSers" as I call them, are different. Some have vision problems and some have 20/20 vision. Some use a wheelchair, and some can run a city marathon. The fact is everyone has been around someone who has MS, its just you never know by looking at them. Without physical evidence, it is hard for other people to believe someone has MS.

 On Sunday morning in February of 2003 I was at a past girlfriend's church. I was sitting in one of the pews near the front with her sitting beside me. A man stood up behind me to speak. I turned around to look at him when I noticed he was blurry. I haven't woken up that early in a long time and figured I had sleep dust in my eyes still. But I noticed that when I looked at my girlfriend, my vision wasn't blurry. When I drove home that afternoon I noticed every time I looked left my vision was blurry.

 Concerned about my vision, I visited an optometrist. At first he thought I had diabetes, but a blood test proved that false. From there I went to an ophthalmologist and he said I had optic neuritis. Optic neuritis is a common symptom that shows up as a first sign that an individual has Multiple Sclerosis. Soon I was sent to a neurologist to get checked out. An MRI and lumbar puncture later, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on March 3rd, 2003 at the age of 19. Finally, after all those years of crying wolf, I had evidence. And here it is.

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