So the Copaxone was out and of the MS DMDs, it has the least side effects and is not supposed to cause depression. What else is there? I started researching on the internet and got very discouraged at the limited treatments accepted for MS. Supposedly, I have relapsing remitting type, but I am not so sure now.
Had several 'events' during my life that indicated MS but never connected them with the disease. In 1988, I crashed from working too hard I thought, with muscle weakness and overwhelming fatigue, and spent a week in the hospital undergoing all the tests that seemed applicable. Ulcer, upper GI, Epstein barr, blah blah.. all this stuff found out was that I had Mitral Valve Prolapse and general anxiety disorder and left with a prescription for Xanax to take 1 mg once a day and Mylanta for the stomach problems. Well, the hospital rest must have done me good. I took one Xanax and was wiped for the day. I cut it down each day by half and ended up taking .25 mg once a day at my problem time, at 11AM. In a week I was fine again and went on with my life. End of problem end of Xanax and end of mylanta. Back to working out in the heat 8 hours a day doing hard labor. Back to running 3 miles a day. And, I was fine for 10 years.
In 1992, I produced a perfect daughter! During the pregnancy I never felt great like most pregnant ladies do and was diagnosed as possibly having gestational diabetes. I never ate sweets and usually avoided carbs so decided that I would bypass the long test and just eat the diabetic diet my OB-GYN prescribed. It included lots of carbs with protein. I felt pretty bad on it but wanted to do the right thing for my baby. Luckily she came 3 weeks early after I spent 3 weeks on the sofa with elevated blood pressure and preeclampsia possibilities. New Year's Day child, born during one of the Aggies worse football games ever. I had planned to have an epidural but my dear husband passed out in Lamaze class after seeing a photo of the epidural needle. Runs in his family. I decided to forgo the epidural in order to have him with me. All I got when delivering was demerol and just a little of that. Nurse wanted to give me 50 mg and I opted for 12.5. It put me out for a few hours. All went well.
After the delivery, I never lost the baby weight. The food pyramid dictated that lots of grains and carbs were the best thing to eat and I ate the food pyramid and actually gained weight. Before my pregnancy I could eat like a horse and maintain my weight at about 130 which was fine for me at 5'4". Mostly muscle. After the baby, I dropped from 173 to 158 and stuck there like glue no matter how I managed my diet. I was tired, crabby and kind of discouraged that first year.
I went to the regular doctor sometime in this period and discussed the possibility of thyroid problems or Lyme disease. I grew up in New England with lots of ticks and outside in the woods and all. I had worked in Texas in the woods an recalled a tick bite or something that caused a ringed rash on the back of my neck. The local lyme test, the basic lab corp one, was negative. My TSH, I went to the regular doctor and discussed the possibility of thyroid problems or Lyme disease. I grew up in New England with lots of ticks and outside in the woods and all. I had worked in Texas in the woods an recalled a tick bite or something that caused a ringed rash on the back of my neck. The local lyme test was negative. Of course, TSH, was perfect. No thyroid problems then. But the Doctor put me on a month of tetracycline, just in case I did have Lyme, and I did improve somewhat. We never reran the test after the antibiotic course.
I started playing tennis in 1993 and at least got back in shape. Lost a few more pounds and ate the food pyramid like a good girl. Now I weighed 153. Still a good 23-25 lbs over my ideal weight.
Bad things happened starting in 1994. My ex step Dad, (don't ask), Phil, was mistreated with steroids for an asthma attack and ended up in the hospital at the same time my ex step mom, Minn, was being treated for Ovarian cancer here in Houston. They both got better. In 1995, Phil again had an asthma problem and again was mistreated but this time ended up on a ventilator and moved to a Vent hospital in Chicago. We were called to his bedside in mid July. I saw him July 24th for the last time. When we got home on the 25th, my 40th birthday, we got a call he had died. It was awful. It was also a blessing for him.
In 1997, Minn was back on chemo and got sick with a virus or something, went to the hospital, where they insisted on more chemo and she died. My faith in doctor's, hospitals and modern medicine was at a low point for sure.
In 1998, my dearest Dad, who had been diagnosed with prostrate cancer in 1990 and recovered, had a relapse, went downhill pretty quickly and eventually died. I was devastated but unable to go to him as he died out of the country and with a young child in school it was impossible to leave home. He had also asked me earlier that year to NOT come home to be with him. He said to go on with my life. I did as he asked. This basically concluded 3 years of horrible stress with almost all of my parental units dying.
Also in 1998, late summer, I went to a college reunion in Vermont and had a terrific time. When I got home, I broke my little toe trying to avoid kicking the cat, by slamming my foot into a door jam. I limped around for a month then my lower back got messed up and my feet went numb up to my knees. I was pretty sure it was coming from my back after the limping incident. This started in late summer and cleared up on its own by early 1999. Needless to say it was unnerving and stressful.
We built a house, our dream house, and moved in on April Fool's Day, 1999. I had gotten so mad at my weight, at this point, I went to a high protein, good veggie, low carb diet during this time and finally lost my way down to 138. A huge improvement but I still felt drained most of the time. My life was good though! During the building of the house, I spent some time scraping windows with a razor blade and developed bursitis like shoulder problems and had to rest them a lot. Finally, with good chiropractic care and time it went away.
Late July 2001. We took a wonderful family vacation to my home in Ipswich, Mass and then up to Sebasco Resort in Maine. We love Sebasco and before when we have visited there, the weather had been perfect, cool and delightful after the Houston hot humid summer. This year, however, the heat in Maine was unbelievable! It was in the upper 90's every day. No air-conditioning. I noticed one day after playing golf in the heat that the sight in my left eye seemed off. It got worse. I lost the colour red almost totally. It looked grey. Also, the contrast went too. All I could see was sharps and there were no midtones. I was a bit scared. Also my head ached which was not normal for me. I almost never got headaches.
When we got back to Houston and the sight had not resolved I made the trek from eye doctor to Ophthalmologist where I failed a visual field test miserably in that left eye. The optic neuritis, as I found out it was called, eventually resolved on its own over a few months. That was the first time the words Multiple Sclerosis came up. Why would I have MS? Not me surely. I blew it off.
Meanwhile 911 happened and it was very stressful even here in Nowheresville Texas. My husband was away playing golf and I was very unsettled being home alone.
When he got back, I went to a neurologist. She was a total ditz and all my other tests done in her office were fine. She did say well, it could be MS, I just don't know. We can start you on medication that might stop it for 2 years. She was way too vague for me and being a NO MEDs type person, I opted to forget it.
Somewhere in and around 2003- 2004, we took an inital RV trip to north of Houston with some friends to see if RVing was going to be fun. It was but we were fishing by a pond and I got over 50 chigger bites. No big deal except for the incredible itch. Well one of the bites never really healed and i thought it was just because my bra strap rubbed it all the time as well as the car seat belt. Eventually it go worse and nothing would heal it up. I wore a bandaid for years until last summer, 2008.
June 2008. We took our daughter to tennis camp and took the RV to Garner state park where we going to ride the three sisters on our motorcycles. I had been feeling really tired for the past few months and was getting by on a daily nap. It was incredibly hot! While I was showering, I felt a lump in my breast that had not been there before. That unsettled me to no end. The first day we rode the sisters and it was fabulous. Riding these little roads is a motorcyclists dream and it was on my bucket list! Little did I know it might have really been on my bucket list. The second day we started out but by mid ride I really felt horrible and overwhelmed with the heat and limped my way back to the RV where I slept all afternoon. My feet had been feeling kind of numb and my lower back was aching most of the time. The rest of the trip was a long nap. The lump thing bothered me too.
As soon as I got home I went down the street to my primary doctor who took off the skin cancer under local anesthetic, got clear margins, and did a pap and felt the lump and told me to get a mammogram ASAP.
It was at the end of June I finally got in to see the mammogram folks. More later....