I can hardly believe that the story I am about to tell you started almost twelve years ago. Time sure flies.

On June 5, 2000 –exactly three weeks before my thirty-fifth birthday – 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 didn’t move. Obviously something was wrong and I knew I should get to my doctor. However first I went to work. Okay maybe that wasn’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 didn’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 don’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 didn’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 – the devil you know is better than the one you don’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 wouldn’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 – 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 won’t talk to me anymore. That’s okay though, that’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 didn’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.

Karen Magill
Author of The Bond, A Paranormal Love Story, Let Us Play, A Rock ‘n Roll Love Story and the soon to be released Missing Flowers.
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