Valentine’s Day weekend, 19 years ago, I was moving into the house my ex-husband and I just bought. Actually we bought the house back in December but we did work on the house so we didn’t officially move in until Valentine’s Day weekend. It was supposed to be a romantic thing first weekend in the house. I started having difficulty walking that weekend. Boxes and more boxes throughout the house. Furniture deliveries coming throughout the day that Saturday. I’m sure anybody can relate to move at least once. The amount of craziness going on plus the excitement. Saturday we were officially moving in by the following Friday I was being pushed in a wheelchair for a MRI.
The prior summer was my first real symptom with multiple sclerosis but I wasn’t diagnosed yet. It was the optic neuritis in my right eye. I was 25 years old just getting promoted at work. The only way I could describe my vision issues was if I stare at the sun and then look down I would have a sunspot in my field of vision everywhere I looked. I went to a couple of doctors even an ophthalmologist, and it up with $300 pair glasses I didn’t need. I finally went to when I eye specialist of some sort and he literally said
“for all I know it’s in her head.”
These words I have never forgotten in 20 years. And it was these words that prevented me from going to go see a doctor immediately when the major attack happened until my mom and stepdad stepped in. Why? What I remember about the optic neuritis was that I never actually got an answer of what was wrong. One day, as I was now settled in my new position at work, my mom said, “how’s your eye?” I realized just like that it was gone. I thought that maybe it was in my mind that I was stressed by the events leading up to my promotion. Since nothing else was ever told to me by the specialist and the problem went away…I thought it really was “in my head”.
Leading up to buying the house, the mortgage application, the calls, all of it was funneled through me. It was before cell phones were attached to your arm so calls were made before work, during and after. I was stressed out beyond belief. I’d drive home thinking I wish everyone would leave me alone if I stayed in my car no one would find me. Then setting up the work in the house, the problems we encountered it was very overwhelming. When I started having issues with the left side of my body, it felt as if someone was shooting me with Novocain. First my foot and calf, thigh and hip, stomach and arms etc. it was the next words from my mother I will never forget…
“this is NOT in your head, something is wrong”
The rest is history. I went to a neurologist got the diagnosis quick. See the eye specialist DID in fact do an MRI which showed a brain lesion but never informed me because it was stated insignificant by itself. Fast forward to February and the MRI had drastic changes from that with many lesions and the diagnosis was made.
February 14th is Valentine’s Day here in the States but for me it will always be my multiple sclerosis anniversary.