The text below is a transcript of me explaining my MS diagnosis, and the tools I used to shift from fear into empowerment.
If you want to listen, check out Podcast #1.
I wanted to tell you this little story about me. And about the very interesting couple of months that I've had. Starting in mid-February, I had what I thought was vertigo because my vision was affected such that it made things feel like things were coming toward me. Very Blair Witch Project-esque.
But it wasn't room spinning- type of dizziness, but everyone, including doctors thought it was vertigo. Then in the beginning of March, my tongue had started to become affected and feel a little numb. And them my feet got weird, making it a little hard to walk. I started using only one eye to see, not realizing that was the beginning of double vision.
All of this was just mesmerizing. I didn't quite know what was going on, but again thought it had to do with vertigo, which at one point had gone away quite suddenly. I had started to see normal again and feel normal, quite briefly, so i just thought, well this is weird, but it's going to go away. So, I was supposed to fly out for business to Texas, where my parents live, so I made sure to get on that flight and even though things were starting to get weirder and weirder.
I made it to see them, and then things got even a little funkier.
Walking became really difficult. At that time I thought it was a [vitamin] B12 deficiency and that my diet had played a part in it. So I thought, ok, this is definitely serious, but we're gonna figure this out and the doctors will know.
The first ER doctor I saw brushed it off as vertigo. And then two days later my body would absolutely not let it go any further. My face, half of it, feeling numb, my tongue feeling numb, not being able to walk, (um, ya think? you think there's something going on there?!), the vision still bad, and I was not responding to the drugs they gave me for vertigo. Which I wasn't surprised about.
Again, I thought it was B12. Which can mess up your nerves and be quite serious.
So I went into another emergency room and right off the bat they just looked at the facts before them; "female, between 20-40, Caucasian [presenting with symptoms of dizziness and double vision], I'd say MS."
Um, I would say, No! That's certainly not what this is.
In my head I was like, right, no, that's worst case scenario in some other world. I'm going to do a spinal tap just to prove you wrong!
And that's absolutely what I was thinking.
They got me into the hospital. The next day, did an MRI, did a spinal tap. By the following day… [wait, let me explain something first] when one goes in too far with that giant needle in a spinal tap, it goes through the little dura, they call it, and that creates a horrible headache. It all has to do with the physics of the spinal fluid and the flow. Great things that were the most painful things I've ever experienced.
That's totally a separate story.
Anyway, this is all to say that I was feeling miserable and a bit worn down.
But in these days, in these nights, where I was by myself in the hospital, hearing such a profoundly distressing suggestion, I made sure not to Google anything or to try to look it up because I knew if I had any underlying fears, then I could find that online. That the world that existed in my fingertips on my phone could really take me into a place that I didn't need to go. Instead I chose, and made the actions in my mind and really actions with my words to say, "Let me see this differently. I surrender this situation to its highest potential."
And it's hard to know what that is. Because I didn't know anyone with MS. I knew of a celebrity who had had it, who had had a bunch of unfortunately things happen to him that I didn't know was drug abuse versus MS versus anything. So for me [and because of that], I associated it with a wheelchair. And with losing body function. That's all I knew.
I sorta put it in the category of right around Parkinson's, not quite ALS. So... that seemed scary.
Especially to a young woman who really values using her body and being physically active. So as I laid there [in the hospital], not a lot of fear necessarily rushed in, again, because I wasn't opening that gate, I wasn't rushing to Google something I didn't necessarily know if I had or not. So I'm like, "let's not go there."
But I did take the other road of- Ok, I don't even know what this is, but I'm going to use this situation in the best way possible and I don't know what that means but let me surrender it to its highest potential.
"Let me see this differently."
In those quiet nights, while I didn't necessarily have fear rushing in, there wash' the worry that could have been, had I not been on such a path last year to thoroughly release fear and to really put that into practice; throughout the whole entire year at any turn, really practicing seeing things differently and being open to a completely different perception of my life, of my life course.
So, good, good that I'd been practicing that. But being alone in a hospital room, with these types of words being bandied about, i could feel some sort of sadness somewhere. A potential for sadness.
That it was ok.
There was a lot of stillness. You do a lot of thinking.
For me, if I understand that I might be in a wheelchair, and maybe this is going to be very soon-- I have no clue what the timeline of this thing is(!)--it didn't seem to make sense for me to all of the sudden lose my body control because it didn't seem in line/aligned with what I was using my body for. I don't know if that makes sense, but I just sorta …sorta doubted this whole thing.
Regardless if you're about to lose your life or your livelihood or the part of your life that you've known, you start to get your affairs in order.
I started to go through those thoughts. The thoughts that just come, or at least they came to me, like "Who do I owe money to?"
Ha! I was like, ok, as soon as I get better, I'm going sending that friend a check for $70. That--trust me!-- they DON'T care about at this point, but it feels really important to be in control in some sort of way. And to know that if you're gonna go, you're gonna go with things taken care of.
I also realized I need two vacations a year. That's super important. Why have I been living my life this stressed out and overworked?
My body and its rest is SO important.
New rule! Two vacations a year.
So I instituted that in the late hours/ early morning of a hospital room.
I also thought, well, if I'm gonna…if this body's gonna go and I'm not going to be able to control it, then I should probably find someone who will honor it. You think [these things] you think, who am I going to make love to?
If it's going to be the last time, who is that person? Who would honor my body? How do I want to honor my body, in any way? If I'm going to lose the function or if I'm just going to lose the life I had, what am doing between now and then?
And thankfully I didn't spend too long thinking about those things. They come up and you think about them, and I let them go. Cause there's a point at which they're no longer benefitting.
So by the following day when they came to get me for [another] MRI, and my head was pounding and i was just a weakling. They also told me, "You know that MRI we took? That spinal fluid we're testing? Things are starting to look like it's probably MS."
You hear those words.
And then they whisked me off to a MRI, and at that point the MRI was not as interesting and magical as it had been for me the day before when I was looking at everything through some sort of bizarre lens of 'I don't know what's going on." This was me being really tired. And exhausted and I came out of this really long MRI with things pounding all around me, and was wheeled back to the room, where the mere act of sitting up was, like, the most painful thing ever because of this spinal headache. And literally they plopped me into my bed where--oh-- right before they had picked me up, I'd been throwing up from the headache.
You know, I mean, perhaps not at my best.
And I was curled up in the bed and my mom was there--thankfully. You sorta really want to see a kind face on the other end of that moment. And she said that she had started to tell the family what I was being tested for.
(Oh, wow, we're telling people now?)
But thank goodness. I certainly didn't know how to go about that.
She mentioned that my cousin had a friend whose brother had been diagnosed years ago and he was doing fine. His livelihood was fine. He was physically fine.
This isn't the, 'next year, you're in a wheelchair' scenario.
You take some medicine or you take care of yourself and you can go back to living your life.
And then that moment happened. The shift in perception happened.
The miracle for me to live in this life in the best way possible, happened.
Because; I got this.
Ok, I can manage this. This is a new set of eyes on my body and life and everything that's going on with me but I still get to live in my body in a healthy way--maybe make it even more healthy?! Ok. Moving on.
And it was knowing to ask for that, knowing to look for that shift to happen. Though, frankly, not knowing at all what it would be at the time, in those dark nights in the hospital rom knowing only a worst case scenario somewhere in my brain.
But i realized this was something I could handle. I totally believe we only get what we can handle.
So i chose to see it differently and I let go of the fear that could have told me that couldn't.
I have to say, thank goodness, I read Return to Love (link) last Christmas break because, MAN, it gave me the tools to be able to get there.
This was the gift that I can't even quantify, and it brings me to where I am today.
Which is; two months later, regaining the ability to walk and see and pretty much taste and now firmly putting me on the path of the explorer. The adventurer into some new land.
One where there are some conventional Western Doctors telling me one thing and I know other conventional Western doctors open to other things and a whole world of functional medicine and of understanding healing in multi sensory ways. Me getting on a path to discover more about this and being so thankful for all the work that I did, knowing that I could release fear. Knowing that it wasn't real. And I continue to put that into practice, 'cuz it. comes. up.
Like people like to put their fears on me.
But I can create barriers; I can create my own reality. That's what I'm doing- creating a very beautiful reality.
Exploring that perfect blend of the mind, body and soul. Letting that be what I work in and letting it teach me as much as it's just going to be an ongoing process and I get to be a part of it. And for which I'm very excited about.