On June 5, 2000 вЂ“exactly three weeks before my thirty-fifth birthday вЂ“ I woke to find myself partially paralyzed on the left side of my body. It was a shock when I got up to go to the washroom and there was no feeling in my left leg. While brushing my teeth I noticed that the left side of my face didnвЂ™t move. Obviously something was wrong and I knew I should get to my doctor. However first I went to work. Okay maybe that wasnвЂ™t the brightest idea I ever had. As I walked down a hill to go catch the commuter train I was having second thoughts. That was difficult.
My family doctor didnвЂ™t know what was wrong so he sent me across the street to emergency at the hospital. There I sat for over five hours until I could get seen by a doctor. Then I was poked and prodded for about two and a half hours until the neurology intern referred me to a neurologist that I would call the next day. I donвЂ™t know how it is where you live but here if a person is in emergency they are not supposed to have anything to eat. So I was starving by the time I was allowed to leave and part of me didnвЂ™t even care that I was partially paralyzed. I just wanted to go home.
I did get an appointment with the neurologist two days after the initial incident and by that time the paralysis was starting to leave. On the 14th I was sent for an MRI and given the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Actually I was told it was a suspicion of MS.
Being told what was wrong with me was a little comfort вЂ“ the devil you know is better than the one you donвЂ™t. But my body was an enemy. I was getting pains shooting across my face, my hands would go numb, and I had to walk with a cane due to weakness in my left leg. I feared going to sleep because I was afraid that either I wouldnвЂ™t wake up or I would and something worse would go wrong. Then I had an allergic reaction to one of the medications I was on and broke out in thick, scaly rash. I felt like I was metamorphosing into a reptile вЂ“ I would have made a great extra in a sci-fi film.
After five weeks off of work I returned and worked a few months. However it was too much for me and I went on long term disability. That has got to be one of the more stressful situations I have been under. I was in pain, having strange symptoms, exhausted and trying to arrange with the insurance company to get my payments in order. Of course one of the reasons I may have had all the symptoms was because of the stress I was under dealing with the insurance company.
Then, in January of 2001, something happened. I wrote a poem entitled Inside My Head and then I wrote a fictional accounting of my experiences. It was a horror story and nothing ever happened with it but it was cathartic.
I was starting to heal but I still had a long ways to go. I was suffering from depression and drinking a lot of alcohol. Not a good combination. I would sit alone in my apartment and drink. The alcohol would remind me that I was alone and that my life had taken a major turn. I would get on the phone and call old friends. I was also full of self pity and lashed out at some of those around me. I alienated some friends that had been in my life for many years and even after all this time there are some who wonвЂ™t talk to me anymore. ThatвЂ™s okay though, thatвЂ™s their choice.
One day I realized something. I am one of the luckiest people around. Looking back I may have had MS for many years but I didnвЂ™t have a major attack or diagnosis until I was settled in a good job with benefits so that I have an income that allows me to do more than scratch out an existence. I am now able to stay at home and write, to follow my dreams and one day see all of them come true. There is no cure for MS but I am still able to walk. I am not in a wheelchair or scooter and most of my symptoms are hidden from the world. I have always dreamed of being able to stay at home and write and now I am doing that.
It took me awhile to realize that I am blessed. And that is when I feel my healing really began.
Author of The Bond, A Paranormal Love Story, Let Us Play, A Rock вЂn Roll Love Story and the soon to be released Missing Flowers.
Find out more at http://www.karenmagill.com