Living with a chronic condition that produces symptoms that change like days of the week, it is easy to dismiss a pain or sensation and become complacent. The fact is that you become very aware of your own body and what YOUR normal range of symptoms hold. Honestly, if I went to the doctor for every pain or twang or zap after all these years, they might start billing me for residency. At my core, I am a high strung and active individual. Being on the go makes me feel alive. Faced with plenty of challenges I am not one to back down from the fight, at least I wasn’t.
My left leg was the one that pushed me into the wheelchair so many years ago. That was thirteen years ago to be exact. I considered it a blessing when I was able to walk on it again, even if it was not in the correct form. Yes, pain comes and pain goes.
When the current situation started acting up over a year ago it was dismissed initially. After several weeks, increased pain and increased atrophy, I could not hide it any longer. How I wished to just be okay for a bit; to try to act some sort of normal. Pressing on, I did tell my neurologist but did not want to delve into all the testing. After so many years of MRIs what new were they going to show me? They were not going to change the pain. I chose the round of SoluMedrol that I had had so many times before, and I even agreed to do the long three in one MRI with and without contrast. Results showed all my lesions were still there, just as I had figured, and so I pushed on.
Things never did improve really and my regular treatments continued. IT WAS THE SAME BAD LEG giving me problems again. Anyone who has multiple sclerosis, will tell you that there are sometimes you just decide to “suck it up”. As the months passed by and I settled into my new painful sense of normalcy I became COMPLACENT. I was apathetic to my deep desire to get better, the fight that I always held in my core and chose to mask the pain with medications.
Holidays passed and I desperately wanted to pull myself out of the rut in which I had fallen. I wanted to do more again. I NEEDED to. Again, I tried to engage in life as my mind was so eager for me to be doing. I wanted to be active and not allow the pain and fear of inadequacy rule my days. Putting myself out there I decided I would no longer let trepidation to be triumphant. Then suddenly as I engaged in more projects and took more responsibility onto my plate things got worse.
The last five months have been doctor after doctor, test after test. THE SAME OLD BAD LEG, was in fact not my leg at all. It was my BACK. The surgeon was clear about one thing as he showed me the MRI.
“This issue is NOT your MS.”
How many times had I had MRIs but not looked at the right area? After therapy and steroids and dozens of alternative options, surgery was needed. I was lucky to get a minimally invasive procedure but the surgeon told me the nerve was severely bruised. After surgery when most people are feeling much better, I was not. Back on to more steroids I go. It has only been two weeks so time will still tell if the nerve damage is permanent or not. At this point I am OPTIMISTIC that the road will continue to progress.
I have learned the hard way this time. Sometimes you must keep pushing for answers. Don’t ever grow weary. Complacency got me nowhere.
Do you feel complacent?
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Gina Litwin lives in San Antonio, TX with my loving family. Mom to three great kids 22, 9, and 7. Lover of animals, and mom to 5 pups I am always on the go. Currently going back to school for a marketing degree. Officially diagnosed now as relapsing remitting, there was a point where I was believed to be secondary progressive. My first episode was in 1999 and I have been on many different treatments over the years.