You know, sometimes life’s not fair. But, through our daily struggles, we learn to grow. We learn to accept the unacceptable. Some struggles seem tougher that others. The only thing we can do, often times, is count the blessings we do have. I know, it’s very hard to find good things, when being surrounded by unfortunate circumstances. But, the key is to know that there’s always something to be thankful for. There’s always something to be grateful for. Find it. That’s all you need to dispel that darkness. Let me tell you, there’s been darkness. There’s been bleak times that no one or nothing seems to help. Find that spot of light. Focus on it and once you start to feel grateful for that one miniscule thing, it begins to grow. It grows. Nourish that speck of light and it will flourish. It may not seem worth the effort. But if you do, it will chase that darkness away.
I say all this to focus on the positive. Sure, I’m talking about negative things that happened to me.
But, it’s a story I must share if it will help someone else find that flake of hope. Yes, I’ve been in dark times over it. But I want to tell you, I began to see that small glimmer of light. I began to focus on just that one thing. Maybe I don’t have MS after all. Maybe there is a diagnosis after all these years. Well, last Thursday was a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. It’s a day that changed my perspective and provided me with that, ever so, small glint of hope.
You see, back in 2017/2018, I was told by a neurologist and after seeing their associate movement disorder specialist, that everyone of my symptoms where all in my head. I was making it all up. Not intentionally, they say, but I was told my symptoms where Functional. That is to say, Functional Neurological Disorder or FND and Conversion Disorder. My brain is creating every symptom which mimics Multiple Sclerosis. But, the neurologist, who was also a phycologist, says, motioning with balled up fists, “I’m confidant, you can get better!”
I gave up all hope that they didn’t find anything. Even thought my nerve conduction study showed abnormal results. Results this doctor says doesn’t make sense to him. He didn’t understand the readings and what they meant. So, obviously, since this doesn’t make sense, it’s all in my head.
Jumping ahead to last Thursday, if took this neurologist five minutes to identify what was going on with me. Why am I tipping backwards when standing? Why do I get these electrical sparks in my legs, arms and feet? Why do my hips and back ache constantly? Why do I constantly drop things, or miss when grabbing things? Why is it difficult to chew food without biting my cheeks or swallow simple solids without choking? Why do I get swollen glands in my neck all the time? All these questions are being answered. Prior to my appointment, the doctor reviewed all my MRI’s, lab tests and X-Rays of my back and neck and after a few simple tests in his office, he knew what it was. You could see the excitement building as he began to understand what was going on.
The first thing he said, and I nearly cried, is, “You’re not making this up, but you don’t have MS. You have Lumbar Spinal Stenosis with Cervical Spondylosis and it’s caused by a narrowing of my spinal canal and herniated disks in my back and neck.
He said this is a degenerative disease. It won’t get better, but we can help slow down it’s progression by strengthening and anti-inflammatory injections. This condition can and does cause neurological dysfunction in all these area, so it explains where everyone of my symptoms come from.
Now, I’m waiting for more MRI’s and X-rays to be scheduled so we can pinpoint areas that need injections to help stop the nerves from being crushed.
I am looking forward to having my symptoms reduce. I know they’re not going to vanish, but I have hope. That small glimmer of a spark, that I can return to semi-normal lifestyle. I can enjoy the simple things in life, like sitting here and writing. I can focus on the important things in life. The good things. The positive things. They are out there, you just gotta look for them. Will there still be depression and anxiety? Will I still have dark days? Yes, I’m sure of that. But, don’t let it rule you. If you ever face a situation that seems utterly dark., reach out and talk to someone. There are those out there that do care. Just ask.
I hope this message brings you hope. We’re right in the middle of the Holidays. It’s a time where many suffer from dark days and depression. Turn it around for the good. I know it can be done. I did it.
Until next time, this is Author Brian K. Larson, off to spark your imaginations.