Sunday, June 26, 2005


Before I begin my stories, I'd like to lay out a format for quick information. It may be modified a few times so bare with it.

Current Meds:
1. Prednisone (12 tablets {60mg} in morning for 2 weeks then 4 tablets {20mg})
2. Citalopram 10mg once daily
3. Lorazepam 1mg at bedtime

Current Symptoms
Physical: fatigue - mild in mornings and late evening
Sensory: Optic neuritis in left eye/ blurry vision in right
Psychological (memory/mood): none
Medication side effect?: anxiety, rapid pulse, aggitated, blurry vision

Well, the begining... that really depends on what you mean by "begining." I'll start with my diagnosis. That seems best.

Date of Diagnosis: June 21, 2005.

I went to the hospital after a number of visits, the most recent before diagnosis was 2 days prior, with what an ER doctor told me was an eye infection. He suggested I get some over-the-counter polysporin drops to treat it and if it didn't clear up to come back.

On the 21st, I was on my way to Judo when my girlfriend talked me into going to the reginal hospital because my eye had gotten worse and I was loosing a lot of vision. I had several "blind spots" in my field of vision (I'm currently blind in my left eye) and I was losing a lot of central vision. It appeared to me to be like what it looks like when you stare into a light for too long on the highway, all white and fuzzy, but it didn't go away when you closed your eyes and shook your head a bit.

I gave the brilliant ER doc my story, Dr. Mark Sampson was his name--best ER doc on the island, and I told him about the MRI scan I had done a week beforehand thinking nothing of it. I was just venting to him about all the medical problems I had been having. He did a quick check of my visual field, made some interesting noises when I couldn't see a few things then told me he was going to access my medical records at the hospital to check for the MRI results.

5 min later a grave but serious Dr. Sampson floated back into exam room 7. He quietly shut the door and sat down. He said to me, "I was able to view the results of your MRI scan and its exactly what I expected to see..." the silence between those words and his next echoed an eternity in my head. Years of hearing the same lines from countless doctors had prepared me for his next words, presumably "it's clear" or "nothing." But after the slight pause, to me the deafening silence of a thousand years alone, he said with trace elements of sadness, "you have MS."

A month ago I had considered the possibility, albeit only slightly, laughing it off as ridicules in the car with my mom and dad outside Tim Horton's. I mean, people with MS are in wheelchairs and stuff right? I didn't know that much about the disease then so it was easy to dismiss.

What a whirlwind. The gravity of the situation took more than a few moments to sink in. Looking back on it, I was probably in shock for the next 2-3 days. I still have moments where I forget momentarily that I have MS. It was even difficult to say, "I... have... MS."

I asked Dr. Sampson, "Is it bad?" He said very resolutely, "It could be. It could be. That's why you need to make major dicisions now. I want to start you on treatmeant as soon as possible. In the next 5 min, but I need to get your permission because its a heavy dose of IV steriods to stop the inflamation in your brain. You have 2, what appear to me, newly active legions on your brain that we need to try to control before its too late. I don't want you to say in 5 days 'I should have had the treatments.'"

I asked him for a few minutes alone to consider. I brought my girlfriend in from the waiting room and told her that Dr. Sampson was 95% sure I had MS. She laughed and told me not to joke like that. I laughed at how funny the situation was... all my complaining for the last months about brain tumors and MS and all kinds of stuff... and here I am ... actually having this conversation I didn't want to have with her. I guess the look in my eyes persuaded her after about 15 seconds of shaking uncontrolably. I was so scared.

Dr. Sampson came back in and talked to both of us about MS and the treatment for about 20 minutes. I asked him if it was fatal. He told me it was very treatable if I act now, with two feet, on top if it always whenever a symptom presented itself. When I consented to the treatment, he left and I tried to relax and awaited the IV injection, Jessi holding me close, rocking me and rubbing my hair, I thought... how am I going to tell my family about this when I get home?

Watching the IV drip into my hand, life seemed to have changed. It seemed somehow more real for me now. I knew there was something wrong, a doctor finally listened. I was getting the help I needed at last. The nightmare of the last 5 years seemed dreamlike and surreal, leaving me when the biting sense of reality, I HAVE MS! But somehow it felt more right than wrong. I was scared but relieved. I felt a surge of courage wash over me like a wave; "let it destroy you or carry you on," I thought. This is MY cross, I will have to carry this, this is MY passion, this is MY disease.

I asked Jes to stay with me again that night to make sure I didn't react to the drugs in my sleep. She obliged. Then I was off, IV still in my arm, to tell my family of my distressing news.


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