Six months ago I had my last Tysabri treatment and a week later started Copaxone. You can read my past blogs to find out more about my time on Tysabri and the reason I had to switch. Long story short, I felt like I was a new person while on it and, more importantly, my MRIs reflected that. The hope was that my immune system would calm down enough so that any treatments after would produce similar results. Unfortunately, I just found out that did not happen.
It started just over three weeks ago. One day I got a headache and some double vision. Both these symptoms haven't been as severe as times in the past so I kept thinking both were being caused by this crazy hot then freezing cold weather that we are experiencing down here in Houston. The headaches and vision issues persisted so I tried switching out my contacts and wearing my glasses all day (which I never do!) Nothing helped. After two weeks the headaches did stop, however, the double vision has stayed with me. I wasn't, and I'm not, going to let that stuff slow me down and I have still been able to function as if nothing was wrong. In fact, on Valentine's day I was able to ride my bike 47 miles! It was extremely challenging at times, but The Lord kept me safe!
My husband had been telling me that I should contact my doctor, but I wasn't ready to yet. I still wasn't sure why I had these symptoms and, like I said earlier, they weren't as severe as times in the past. I wasn't sure if it was my MS and I didn't want to jump to conclusions. This past Monday I finally decided to email my doctor. I explained what had been going on and asked if I should make an appointment. After just a couple of hours I got a reply from him saying he was having orders sent for me to get an MRI done and he wanted to see me in his office after that. My first reaction was, "aw man!" I didn't want it to be a big deal and it seemed like it was turning out that way. I wasn't sure what the MRI was going to show. Of course, I wanted it to come back clear, but then again I also kind of wanted there to be something to explain for the symptoms I was having. Things happened very quickly after that email response with an MRI on Tuesday and a call from my doctor Wednesday morning. The doctor's voice didn't sound very positive when he said hello and asked how I was doing. Then, he went over the results. I have 6 lesions and some are active. Not all of them are new, some have just become active again. Basically that means an old lesion is currently being attacked in the same spot of past damage.
I have to admit that I initially took the news just fine and, like always, I made a few jokes with my doctor about my immune system being too good. However, after I got off the phone with him I called Casey. Tears started flowing having to tell him the news. He reminded me that the God who made me is still good no matter what. I know this to be true and my tears began to dry. I've been able to use my diagnosis and all the stuff that goes along with it to share the gospel with others and encourage them to not focus on their circumstances, but to focus on glorifying The Lord in their words and actions. Genuine faith is tested during trials and I want to be found faithful! 'Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.' (James 1:12)
Tomorrow (Friday) morning Casey and I will meet my doctor to discuss what the next step is. The only thing I know right now is that I will be starting an extremely high dose of steroids for the next 5 days. So, if anyone needs help moving heavy furniture, carrying heavy boxes, etc. I'm sure I will be able to help! In all seriousness though, we do need prayers for wisdom in our decision for a new treatment. I know it will be an aggressive treatment which comes with more potentially serious side effects.
Encourage (verb) - to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope: to tell or advise (someone) to do something
I pray that these words inspire you with courage, spirit and hope that hardships, valleys, relapses, etc. are not a bad thing. 'We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.' (Romans 5:3) I also advise you to examine your hearts and minds as I examine my own. May our focus not be on ourselves.
'My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.' (Psalm 73:26)
I want to apologize to all my family and close friends that are learning about all of this by reading my blog. I wish I could have called and told each of you in individually, but that would take quite some time! I love y'all!
I will write an update on the decisions that will be made tomorrow!