On an evening in February 2021, I closed my laptop and decided to rest after a full day of attending an online conference. I felt migrainy. If you’re blessed with migraines you totally understand what I’m saying here. So, I sat back and relaxed, popped three aspirin and and prayed against the squiggly lines that I always see every time I get a migraine.
And, then I blinked. And the only way I can describe it is: You know that sinewy fat that chef’s wrap meat in when you’re watching the Food Network? Well, in my right eye was a dark gray circle of sinewy gray fat in the middle of my vision.
Not the typical squiggly lines. Not the little burst of light the little pinpricks of floating white lights. But a big o’ chuck of gray fat in the center of my vision.
And like any good writer, I started researching. Google assistant, work your magic! Tell me how I can be healed!
Everything I read said that I either needed special eye drops, or I needed to wait four months for it to heal itself, but when you have a circle of sinewy great fat in your vision the last thing you want to hear is “it may take four months to heal itself,” when you really, really don’t know what’s wrong with you.
I–like the chief procrastinator that I am–seriously didn’t want to go to the doctor. For one, I’ll just be honest, I didn’t have health insurance and I didn’t have any money, which is a whole other post on the plight of the uninsured in our country. (I’ll try to stay on subject here and get back to my own health quandary.)
And two, nowhere in my history has a doctor ever been able to figure out what’s is wrong with me. I’ve had blood tests, pee tests, this test, that test, and never have I ever had anything wrong with me. Well, there was that one bladder infection that actually showed up, so I’ll give the docs that one.
I could be lying on the floor, pale, pasty and not able to move, and I’d hear, “Ma’am, all your results are fine.”
So after I prayed and researched, and prayed and researched, and prayed and researched some more, I decided that a trip to my optometrist was probably the best course of action so I wouldn’t be deemed one of those idiots who googled their diagnosis on the Internet and ended up on WebMD with some cancer or third eye growing from the center of their forehead.
So I made the appointment and like every single doctor’s appointment I’ve ever had in my entire life when something was wrong…
Absolutely was nothing wrong with my vision. He did listen to me, though, so we got the special little grid out, and I had to close my left eye and show him on the grid where everything was missing from my vision. Funny how the test that shows everything is the most simple and rudimentary of them all. No special equipment. No beeps or boops. Just a piece of paper with a little grid on it with a circle in the center that showed everything this doctor needed to know to refer me to an ophthalmologist or a retina specialist.
Set with referral in hand, I went home and began researching. My Mama taught me that! I wasn’t bound by anything more than my pocketbook so I began googling ophthalmologist and retina specialist in my town.
And I found out one thing:
They sure do cost a lot.
So after more prayer in researching.
And, more prayer in researching.
And, more prayer in researching. I settled on one that I had a good feeling about, and I called and made an appointment…for 6 weeks from now.
You know… like any serious medical appointment these days.
So, on June 8th at 10:30 in the morning, I met my new retina specialist. After having my eyes dilated and physically touched with some pressure scope, which was awful because: Oh my gosh! The lady touched my eyeball with a pressure scope! *cringe* I waited to see the retina specialist who after looking through my pictures asked me if I had tingling in my hands. Come to think of it, yes! He then began dictating this long diatribe to one of his assistants while she typed furiously on the keyboard, and at the very end of talking about optical neuropathies and optical neuritis he mentioned an MRI to rule out MS.
Could this be it? Could this be what’s been wrong with me for so long now that I’ve gone passed feeling “normal” and slid headfirst into “something just doesn’t seem right?”
Something hasn’t seemed right for a really long time.
When I heard the letters “MS,” I kind of froze. Not in a bad way, though, but more like in a relieved way. I know that sounds really odd and weird and it sounds really odd and weird to me, too! But, when he said it, everything came together. What’s wrong with me has a meaning. What’s wrong with me is real. What I’ve been feeling this whole time is a real thing and has a real name and has real symptoms and a real solution.
And to be honest, my doctor didn’t offer me anything more than, “We need to have these two tests done to rule some things out, and then we can go from there.” He didn’t explain anything. But, really in the end, is there anything else to explain? Because until we really know what we’re dealing with, is there anything else to do?
With paperwork in hand, I checked out that day thanking God for insurance (Which is a whole other story I’ll post about soon.), and I waited for my mom. Since I had my eyes dilated, Mom came to the rescue because, WOW! I couldn’t even read my phone let alone be trusted behind the wheel!
Do you want to know what I did as I waited?
I searched the letters “MS.” For real. What if I had it wrong? What if “MS” totally different? What if these two random letters meant something other than the Multiple Sclerosis that was in my head?
“MS” means one thing: MS.
I didn’t really know how I felt. Like I said, part of me was relieved, but part of me was freaked out. Freaked out about telling the people I love that it could be MS just because I know how they react to things, and this is not a time to react. This is a time to hope and pray and have peace with God and trust him that He knows the journey I’m on better than anyone else because He prepared this journey for me.
When my mom picked me up with my daughter in tow, she asked me how it went. I asked her, “Do you want to know now or do you want to know when we get home?” And, of course, she’s like me and wants to know everything NOW, so I told her. And my mom said something to me I will always remember in that moment: “If you know what you’re battling, you know how to battle.”
And, I’m ready for war.
Thank you for reading! I’ll have more posts soon on this journey. And, some blood tests results to share next when I get them.
To read Post #2, please click here.