All I really wanted for Christmas is what I’ve had for several and that’s stable inactive MRI results. Despite being a really good girl this year, I didn’t get what I wanted. In mid-December, I had my annual MRI and results came back revealing a new, active lesion — significant enough that my practitioner immediately recommended switching my disease-modifying therapy.
To say the least, I was extremely disappointed, surprised, and angry. More accurately, I was pissed off! Disappointment was an understatement. I have been feeling so great recently, and I haven’t been experiencing any new symptoms to accompany this fresh lesion. I’ve been doing everything possible to keep myself healthy – exercise, diet, DMT, etc., etc. In fact, I’ve been relapse-free for close to six years!
I was really enjoying and cherishing my long remission and was feeling somewhat invincible against multiple sclerosis. I guess I knew deep down inside that it was coming, and that eventually, MS would make its presence known. I shouldn’t have been surprised but I just couldn’t help it. (What can I say? I occasionally enjoy a bit of denial while living with a chronic illness.)
It did take me several days to process the information and to digest exactly what this new lesion meant to me if anything. I felt bad for myself, and let the tears flow. I had to mourn but I can only allow myself to feel bad for so long. To me, it is wasted energy and I need to dust off and forge ahead.
I spent a good portion of my Christmas break preparing for the new medication – blood tests, forms, etc., and taking high-dose steroids for three days to try and calm the current inflammation and speed up recovery. Of course, I physically and mentally crashed after the steroids mixed with the holidays but thankfully I was off of work. It was the perfect time to lounge around the house and recover a bit with my family.
The silver linings
In the end, this is all just a part of living with MS. Just like a “normal” life, we are going to have our ups and downs, our wins and our losses. Ultimately, it is what we do with these tough times that really matter.
There is only so much that I can do so I need to focus on that: to do my best, and to live my life in the greatest possible way that I can. It puts life into perspective and confirms what truly is important. 2018 is definitely going to be about not sweating the small stuff and taking even better care of myself.
The morals of this story
- Please continue to get MRIs to monitor your MS. To me, the scariest thing about MS is that there could be atrophy and damage happening without you even realizing it. It is vital that you regularly see your healthcare provider and neurologist, and that you continue to get MRIs to gauge any new activity.
- I’m still beating MS. I need to continue to focus on the fact that even though there is activity going on in my brain right now, I’m beating MS by feeling good and not presenting with any new symptoms. I was feeling good before these results and I will continue to feel good. Take that, MS!
If anything, this pesky, annoying lesion has only reinvigorated my resolve. Even though MS has reared its ugly head and gotten in a few punches, my fighting spirit is still intact and the fire still burns strongly within me. Yes, I’ve been knocked down a bit but I will continue to get back up. 2018 is my 15th year living with multiple sclerosis and I’m still up for the fight.
Bring on round 15! Ding, ding, ding!