In October of 2002 I’m guessing I was out of my mind. I must’ve been. What was I thinking? I was working a full time job, I had just finished working as a Production Assistant on a “B” movie that I never heard about again, I was still working out and eating really healthy and then I decided that I needed to get a second job because I just wasn’t making enough money. Hey, I was 25 and I was invincible right?
It was October in Los Angeles, CA so I’m guessing it was quite hot. It usually is at that time of year. I wouldn’t have known because I was too busy running around. I worked full time at my day job in television which had its own stress. I walked every day during lunch and worked out at least three times a week. I ate well and I had lost almost 50 pounds. My second job consisted of working in a linen store and running around lugging big bed spreads and other bed linens up tall ladders and dealing with customers. Things were going well…I thought. Yeah sure it was a bit hard on me but it would be on anybody. I could do it.
Somewhere along the way as my feet continued to tingle on the bottom, I started feeling that dreaded tingling symptom travel up my left leg. Then it traveled to my left arm. Then my left hand. I denied it. I ignored it. It couldn’t be happening. An echo of a memory of my Primary Care Doctor’s voice rang in my head from months before, “Is the tingling going anywhere else up your leg or in your arm?” and I told him no and asked him why to which he replied, “Oh no reason. It could just be more serious if it ever happens”…”ever happens”…”ever happens”. Those two words rang in my head but I pushed them away.
Did you know it’s really hard to push that tingling symptom away when it doesn’t go away? I waited two weeks until the tingling sensation then jumped from my left hand to my right hand and then I admitted it to me and somehow told Corey about it. I wanted to be in denial. I wanted to believe it wasn’t happening. If I didn’t talk about it it would go away.
So somehow I got over myself and called my Rheumatologist to make an appointment. I sat in that exam room and I told her about these new symptoms. She looked at me long and hard and kept her facial expressions very still. Then she said she wanted to order an MRI for me. I freaked out. An MRI?! BUT it’s just tingling. That’s all. MRIs are to check for serious things. I only had tingling. That was all I had been told by how many doctors till then? Somehow I got out the words and I asked her, “Why an MRI?” and she beat around the bush a bit and said, “Well your symptoms could be indicative of many things. 9 times out of 10 it’s not MS but it’s always good to check just in case.” And she also made some comments about the lack of attention from my previous Neurologists and how she couldn’t believe I hadn’t had an MRI before then but that she’d get it taken care of.
MS???? What did it even stand for? I didn’t know it stood for multiple sclerosis. Why would I know that? It’s not like we learn about all of the diseases out there during our normal lives. What was that? It sounded awfully serious. All I could picture was those poor celebrities we had seen in the limelight who were in wheelchairs, if anything. Then again, why would it be MS? I hadn’t been diagnosed with anything else so there was no need to jump to any conclusions now.
So how did she calm me down? Well she talked to me about her health problems and how she had just had to have an MRI herself and she told me the tricks of where to put my hands and how not to feel too claustrophobic and what to do when I was in the tube, etc. She tried to show me how she could relate and some of what she said still sticks with me now when I have to have follow-up MRIs as part of my multiple sclerosis healthcare plan.
You know I somehow knew I had MS. I don’t know how or why but something about it clicked for me. I spent a lot of time contemplating it and talking about it with Corey while I waited for my HMO to go through the horrible rigamarole that was “necessary” to get me approved to have an MRI. I had to wait at least a few weeks to be able to schedule my MRI let alone have one.
And you know all of this didn’t stop me from keeping up with my crazy full schedule. To me I had no reason to slow down and stop. Not yet anyway…
The next Blog will be about my 1st MRI experience. It was a truly traumatizing and life changing experience for me that deserves it’s own Blog entry.
Thank you for reading my story. It is so very hard to write but so necessary to express and share.