I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on January 13, 2000. It was a Thursday. At 10am. Did I think my life was over. No, not at that point. I was in too much shock to think anything. I knew MS was devastating, but what did that have to do with me? Oh right. 

I did what every good little patient does. I listened to my doctor. I began Solu-Medrol. For those of you not in the know - this is a heavy duty injection of steroids. Steroids that need to be injected because a pill isn't strong enough. Do you hear what I'm saying? Heavy doses of steroids injected straight into your bloodstream. Yes, it was as awful as it sounds. And, I followed the protocol of accepting this medicine for 5 straight days. Each time spending at least four hours in the hospital. 

I was on doses of Solu-Medrol every other month for that first year. At one point it was every month just to try to ease the progression of my disease. So I was told. By the second year, the treatments eased up, but I think only because my doctor was concerned about the effects I was getting. The side effects were so awful, I had to be weaned off the steroids for 8 days with more steroids. These steroids were pill form meant to ease the side effects, but only prolonged them instead. I was losing my eyesight. I ate everything under the sun and ballooned up in weight. Most of which was bloating. And, 'roid rage? Yeah, that's totally a thing. I nearly ran a guy off the road once. He pissed me off by creating a made up lane for himself at the stoplight. So, when the light turned, I believe my eyes may have turned red and I directed the front of my car directly into his truck. I'm not sure how we didn't end up in an accident. The only thing I can think of is that he saw my crazy and got the hell out of the way.

Just in case that wasn't enough, I also began Copaxone. This was a daily injectable. Yup, I had to learn to give myself a daily shot. Fortunately, I had watched my Nana do this for years due to her diabetes and I think that may have helped some. But still. It was a daily injectable. 

Copaxone was the mildest treatment I was told. There were side effects but they were rare, I was told. It had only been on the market for 10 years, but it promised to be safe and effective, I was told. So, when I asked about any effects it might have on the babies I hoped to have one day the answer I got was, well, there's not a lot of information about that yet. Great. Oh yeah, and those rare side effects? (Of course I got them) Let me tell you how those felt. Like my head was going to blow off the top of my body. No kidding. About 30 seconds after the injection blood raced through my body straight up into my face/head. You know those cartoon characters losing their shit with their heads literally blowing up? Pretty sure I looked like that. I was also getting scar tissue at every injection site on my body. I called my doctor terrified, "Where will I inject if I run out of places to do it?"

So, after many hospital visits, for the disease, for treatment, for my "rare" side effects, I was done. I was 26 years old and I could not accept that this was what life had for me. I couldn't accept that this was my future. Something inside me told me there was more. That there was another way. Despite the genuine fears and concerns of my family and friends, come hell or high water I was going to find that better way. 

And that my friends is what led me to a life free from medication. Free from all remnants of multiple sclerosis. Free to live my life without fear of the future. Free to medicate my body my way. Don't let anyone tell you healing isn't possible your way. With faith and hope, all things are possible.

originally posted at www.eatwhatyouknow.wordpress.com

Published by Melinda Schmitt