Diagnosed with MS in 1999
I first noticed something was wrong when I went to my mom’s birthday party. I picked up my little nephew to show him some fish in an aquarium. And I just fell over. It came out of nowhere. I was 32 years old. I’d just finished playing three soccer games in a row.
Within a month, I couldn’t move anything but my arms.
I spent the next six weeks in the hospital. It was all a blur. My systems were shutting down one by one, and it seemed like nothing was helping. Panic set in. Finally, I said, “Just let me go home to die.”
That was a low point.
The doctors gave me steroids, and I was able to walk again. Eighteen months of steroids got me up, but it eventually got me down. I went from a size 8 to a size 26. My own family didn’t recognize me. It would be years before I needed a cane, but the steroid treatments eventually destroyed my hip. They drilled a hole in the bone to restore circulation, and that improved things for a bit. Then I developed scoliosis from using the cane. Spasticity and a broken ankle eventually took the use of my legs.
The thing with MS is that you can’t just take medicine and make it better. It’s an inflammatory and degenerative disease, and I know I have challenges ahead of me. In the past few years, I’ve gotten optic neuritis three times. The last time, I lost all the vision in my left eye. It’s never come back.
Now I spend my days in this chair. I call it my luxury vehicle, because I could have bought a nice, loaded Honda for about the same price.