My parents took me to the eye doctor, he wasn’t sure what it was, but thought perhaps a “brain tumor.” I was put on Cortisone, which immediately made me gain weight! Which I hated, especially when I was in junior high school!
Eventually, the eye doctor felt I needed to see a neurologist. My mother traveled with me to Portland, Oregon, to meet with Dr. Swank at the University of Oregon Medical School. I was there for a week, was run through lots of tests. Eventually, Dr. Swank diagnosed me with Multiple Sclerosis. Immediately, I remember my mother started to cry. I never really felt scared; I think not really understanding what that could possibly mean for my life. I mean, I was a teenager and at the “top of my game”, you know? I do remember the Dr. told me he believed I had the “relapsing/remitting” type of MS. Which basically meant I more than likely would not get much worse than now, although I would have symptoms, such as, numbness, blurriness, balance issues, etc. I was also told that when I ever thought about having children, that it was recommended I have a blood transfusion immediately following the delivery. They believed it would help me not to get worse with my MS.
After 11 years into my first marriage, I finally did get pregnant (we had adopted children prior) and I told my Dr. at the time the recommendations of my neurologist regarding a blood transfusion. But, after the birth of Gina, I told my Dr. I did not want the blood transfusion. I never did have any side effects or worsening of my symptoms!
I was also told from my neurologist, that there was no known cure for MS and no drugs or therapy for MS. I was told the only thing to do was stay away from stress and get plenty of rest. But, I continued my life as usual, busy with girlfriends and boyfriends! At one time, I thought about trying out for cheerleader, but decided against it because of my MS (mainly because I was told I could no longer take P.E. in school – which is totally opposite of what neurologists are saying now). I did continue to hold a school office through middle school and high school (treasurer, vice president, student body secretary, etc.) I did join the high school drill team (march at high school games), much to my mother’s disapproval! I worked at my family’s bakery. I also took a second job after school as a car hop at the local A & W.
Not long after being diagnosed with MS, my entire church (stake) held a fast for me. I will always believe that is a contributing factor to the reason I have been able to remain mostly “normal” and my symptoms have not really progressed. Most of my life I have always been able to stay active and loved “hi-impact” aerobics. Of course, as I age, I know my muscles are tighter; I’m more rigid, and tired. Only in my older years, has it become more difficult, my walking is a bit “staggered”. . . I regularly walk my dogs daily, and I have begun riding the stationary bike at the rec center in our area. I do wish I could do more, I really wish I could run when I see people on the “running path.” But age and MS have hampered that. I am planning to get some similar-like Nordic walking poles to help me. I get frustrated sometimes I can’t do more. There are days I wish I could “beat it”. . .you know this disease, that I can prove I can do more than I do.
I have been on Avonex for over 12 years as my therapy for MS. I really hated those injections and could not bring myself to administer the shot to myself! I had my friend, Karen, a registered nurse, give me the shots in the beginning, then eventually, my daughter Gina (“nurse Gina”). Eventually, I found the “Pen” injection was available and now, finally, am giving the injections to myself! I want to thank all who have helped me along this path for so long!
Almost every year I participate, with my family, in the MS Walk. It means a lot to me to have my family, mom, kids and grand-kids come and show their “support.” The grand-kids ride bikes or scooters and any babies come in the stroller! I usually walk the entire 3 miles, but one particular year I really struggled! I felt really lop-sided on the walk!! I could barely stand up at the end, but I was determined to finish!!
Another year during the MS Walk, I was really having a difficult time about halfway through the walk, and my older son, Jacob, offered to go back and get his car and pick me up (and my mom, she’s 80+!).
My youngest son, Ian, joined us on the MS Walk in 2012, I was so thankful EACH of my children came!
Last year, for various reasons, we didn’t all make it to the MS Walk, but my oldest daughter, Trina found a friend who went on the walk with her! Wow, that was so special to think she still wanted to show her support! I love the feeling of being together for this event, and the bond I feel. My son-in-law says he will get us all matching t-shirts soon!! Can’t wait!
I know my challenges with MS have been minor compared to many people who suffer with this disease. I am thankful to my Heavenly Father who continues to bless me with pretty good health, despite the challenges. No one escapes challenges or trials in life, it’s how we learn to deal with these trials that will, in the end, I believe turn out to be some of our greatest blessings.
Story written by: Georgene
The Story appeared first on Real Imprints.