Living with MS, a family, and a very important dog.

I was diagnosed with MS in January of 2013, after having our first child in June of 2012, and almost falling while holding him and trying to get in the truck almost eight months later. I was put on Rebif after my diagnosis (now Rebidose), have been through a neurological clinic and a specialist/internal med practitioner (who I have stayed with) to get an accurate diagnosis, and decent care for myself and my family. After all, my MS does not ONLY affect me, it just affects me DIRECTLY. I went through my first lapse in March. after a very stressful nonprofit event, and it lasted nearly two full months, where I experienced a loss of balance, mild vertigo, and optic neuritis . It was hell. trying to take care of myself and my family. I was released from physical and occupational therapy after (just shy of) three months, and I have been trying to work on my physical fitness and well-being with exercise and food – I’m looking at strength training slowly with a Bowflex we recently got, along with some bodyweight exercises, and of course, light extended cardio with our son and the dog. 

The dog. Maybe as much as I have mentioned the dog, I should explain how important he is (or will be). Abram is an 18-week-old German Shepherd (AKC) that we brought home with the intention of being a mobility and balance service dog for me, a nanny for our son, and a guard for all of us while my husband is on or off-duty. He came from North Carolina, and it was a huge trip for us to make (with rearranging my husband’s schedule and blah, blah). Even if he doesn’t “make it” as a SD, he will make an excellent family dog, and is EXTREMELY smart. In four days, he learned to “sitz,” “platz,” “fuss,” “hier,” and “revier” (sit, down, heel, come, and speak). I intend to put him through his CGC test before his ADA service clearance, which puts me at about a year’s difference, I would like to have him CGC-certified by 2014, at the latest. I will admit that having a dominant puppy and a son learning to walk, both about the same weight, is quite a thing.

I have another blog, 354 And a Half, that explains parts of my life a little closer to the vest, so to speak. You can visit there if my material here just isn’t doing it for you. This will be a walk through a MS patient for you, and a way for me to unload some of the stress MS puts on me. I haven’t been living with this condition as long as others, so I am always open to advice, suggestions, anecdotes, whatever; if you have experience you’d like to share. I’d love to hear it.

You can learn more about the two (known) types of MS, the treatments, and the general condition of others with multiple sclerosis on multiplesclerosis.net. MS is an invisible condition that is not well-known; until the past 12-15 years, more advanced treatments (like Tecfidera, a medication as eye-opening for its oral application as for its non-interferon and non-steroid treatment of MS, unlike most standard MS therapies on the market) have emerged, which is tremendously exciting for people like me. Before even interferon-beta medications emerged, MS was treated with a standard application of powerful IV steroids, radiation therapy, and pain medication – the cause behind the disease was unknown and mysterious, so effective treatments weren’t available. I was lucky enough to be born in a knowledge boom (1985), so I can now benefit from the things they have discovered are reasonably effective responses. Being new to this condition, I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have – answering YOUR questions makes me a more knowledgeable patient.

I will apologize ahead of time, because my mental connections don’t always fire on the intended circuit. Sometimes I am irate and irrational, and I will do my best not to respond until I can get myself under control. Sometimes I am depressed and inconsolable, so I may be temporarily unreachable until I can pull myself back to reality. This is all new to me, but I would like it if you would take the journey with me. The unknown is less frightening when you have company.

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