Saturday, February 10th was a fun night. My husband and I went out with friends in Norfolk to celebrate a birthday. We laughed, we ate, mayyyybbeeee had some wine, and simply celebrated the life of one of our best friends.
Sunday, February 11th, our celebrations stopped. You see, it’s been longer than four years since I had a flare up of my Multiple Sclerosis. My only main symptom (besides exhaustion and minor rare side effects from my medication) was Optic Neuritis which blinded me in my right eye for 18 months before my vision came back, but that Sunday…life changed.
I woke up Sunday morning and my feet and ankles were numb. At first I thought I slept wrong. Then, after about an hour, I realized this more than likely had to do with my MS. I looked at my husband and said, “Not be a downer, but my feet and lower legs are numb.” I didn’t have to say anything else. He knew what that meant.
So, Monday morning I woke up and got ready for work. I anchored the morning show with barely any feeling in my feet and pain shooting up to my hips. As soon as our shows ended at 9am, I walked off the set and called my neurologist’s office. They scheduled an appointment for me Tuesday morning to come in for three rounds of IV steroids. Each infusion is an hour-long. Those steroids help calm an MS flare up and can make the symptoms go away faster (or be less of a nuisance).
I sat through the first infusion, went to bed that night, and woke up Wednesday morning at 2:15 (my normal time to wake up for work). I stood up and immediately sat back down on my bed. I was numb up to my hips and my legs HURT. I could still feel the floor enough to walk, so I gathered myself, stood up, and got ready for work.
WHY would I still go to work in that condition you might ask? Well, it’s a simple, twofold answer: 1) Because I could. I am very cognizant of the fact that there are many people with Multiple Sclerosis who can’t work because of their condition, but wish they could. I was still able to get out of bed and move, so I went to work. 2) My friends at work, and the job itself, took my mind off of my pain and numbness. We laughed on set, I anchored stories, Don, Jeremy, Jen, the producers, and I chatted in commercial breaks like we always do. I was with happy people who I enjoy and it made me feel good.
When the morning show was done, I went to my neurologists office and got my second steroid infusion. OH! I would be remiss not to mention one of the side effects of the steroids…INSOMNIA! That’s right! I’m a woman who wakes up at 2:15 in the morning every weekday and I was suffering from INSOMNIA! God sure has a sense of humor! The bags under my eyes rivaled that of water balloons, but I am a magician with under eye make-up so I managed to hide the side effects well! (Take THAT insomnia)!
I am a very positive, happy person and I have a wicked sense of humor which helps me in so many ways to deal with my MS diagnosis, but this was a lot to wrap my head around. My mind was racing. Am I going to lose my ability to walk? What does this mean for my future? Will I be able to dance with my son at his wedding? (Keep in mind, my son is 4, so I was clearly starting to go off the rails).
That night after putting our son to bed, my husband sat down next to me, I put my head on his chest, and I cried. It was necessary. Much like when I was first diagnosed with MS I needed to go though a sort of grieving process: sadness, anger, confusion, and then acceptance…only “acceptance” in this case, for me, comes with a dogged determination to live my best life no matter what condition I’m in.
By Thursday my tears had dried. I could feel my upper legs and my feet were better, but the numbness had climbed into my abdominal area (from my hips to my chest). I couldn’t feel my stomach. I couldn’t feel my lungs. Talk about an ODD feeling. When I walked, it felt like I was walking barefoot across a hardwood floor covered in sand. While the sensation was annoying, I was simply thankful to feel the floor. After work I went back to my doctor’s office for my final round of IV steroids.
Several days later I went in for a spinal MRI to see if any new lesions formed. Up until this point, the only lesions I had were on my brain. Well, sure enough, a new lesion formed in my spine at the base of my head. Just one. One lesion wreaked havoc over my entire body…which shows the power of this disease and the need for powerful medication.
I am now moving on to a new medication called Ocrevus. It was released about a year ago with incredible results. My neurologist told me Ocrevus could possibly help shrink the lesion on my spine and it could make me feel “normal” again. Talk about a dream come true! Note: Ocrevus is not a cure for MS. There is still no cure for this disease. We need to fix that.
The research to create Ocrevus was made possible, in part, by funds raised at events like Walk MS. That is why I am so proud to work at a station that has surrounded me with love and support. WAVY TV 10, for the 2nd year in a row, is a sponsor of this year’s Walk MS events in Hampton Roads. The WAVY Warriors will be out in full effect and we want you to join our team! If you would like to sign up to walk with us, or donate to our team, click here. Every step and every dollar can save a life…trust me…I know.
As I type this blog, the feeling in my feet, legs, and abdominal area are back…but my fingertips are numb. You read that correctly. I am typing every word, but I can’t feel the keyboard. However, I believe I will get that feeling back soon. I am very optimistic.
My job is fulfilling. I work with wonderful people. I am married to an amazing man. I have an incredible son. My family and friends are the greatest. My dog is hilarious. That’s my life. What’s not to love?