2016 was a hard year for me, and I need to acknowledge it as I plan to thrive in my 33rd year.
It seemed to have started out great but took a left turn I surely wasn’t ready for. Like typical days in the beginning of the year, I spent them with family and loved ones who I wanted to continue with throughout the following year (a little superstitious, but we mean so much to one another), and I thought I landed a great start to flourish in. So I thought…
I started to feel unlike myself when the cold and dizziness began. It continued to become more frequent and visibly distracting with my everyday life. This is what led Eddie and me on the witch hunt to figure out what was really going on with my health. You name it, I probably did or experienced it in this season of my life. I found a family practitioner to see on the regular. With my initial visit I was diagnosed with “You have bronchitis." Whew! Steroid shot, got it! Antibiotics, took every pill. The cold went away, but unfortunately, my dizziness prevailed.
Blood work was the next step my newly found doctor suggested. Results came back, and everything seemed great, except for discovering I was low on Vitamin D (ruling out indicators for cancer, kidney diagnosis, etc.). But I was still baffled on why I still felt so dizzy!? This dizziness made me feel like I wanted to faint and pass out. Am I too stressed? Is my self-inflicting stress causing me to feel this way? Next, I scheduled a visit with a ear, nose, and throat specialist.
We will call this doctor, Dr. ‘So and So.' Well, Dr. So and So cleared me. Hearing assessment passed, and I had no fluid or drainage in my ears. However, he did see that I had low pressure. Finally an answer, am I right!?
My doctor then recommended a cardiologist to visit for my low blood pressure. Right before the cardiologist, I had severe heart palpitations one evening and thought I was having a heart attack. I kid you not, I thought there was a possibility I was going to fall asleep with these rapid heart palpitations and have a heart attack in my sleep. Sorry, I am bit of a hypochondriac and a bit un-educated in this, so please forgive me. Now, back to the visit. Yeah, the cardiologist confirmed that I did indeed have low blood pressure. She didn't feel that I was in dire need of being placed on medication because of the possible side effects. However, she did give me advice and tips to help me be in control of my low blood pressure. In case you are still wondering, you guessed it, I still felt dizzy.
The last step my doctor wanted to take if we didn’t resolve the persistent dizziness with all of the previous examinations was to have a MRI completed. And, that is exactly what we did. I took an appointment for the MRI to help find an answer once and for all. All said and done, I would receive a follow-up call once the results were back. As I anxiously waited to see the doctor, he walked into my room, papers in hand.
Now, my doctor is a very even keel kinda guy, if you know what I mean. Steady hands, no expression, so I had no context clues on what he was about to deliver. He sat down and was apologetic. “I’m so sorry to deliver this news to you today, Angelee. You have MS - Multiple Sclerosis. Within the results of the MRI on your brain and spine, we have found multiple locations of what appears to be lesions. I will have to refer you out to a neurologist to help with the diagnosis further.” With this wording, I was still hopeful. Do I have MS, or is there a chance I don't? Either way, I was in shock, heart broken, beside myself, and most importantly scared SHITLESS. I mean, I had no idea what this meant, and so, I went into full panic mode. I felt like my clock was ticking rapidly, and I was going to die soon. All jokes aside, I really did.
What was I to tell Eddie? "Sorry baby, you chose the wrong lottery ticket; you bet big on the wrong one. Your wife has a limited time on earth and even more now. We will never have the life we hoped." I delivered my results to Eddie, and I felt for the first time that we were on the exact same playing field of emotion…scared SHITLESS. Through the emotional roller coaster of learning about my condition, finding a new way of life, and becoming even more well-versed in spousal communication, we came to the understanding that “Everything is gonna be alright.” We have taken this new outlook to really try to be in the moment with one another and with all of our loved ones.
Yeah, I’m still working on the right medication that will fit my lifestyle. Yeah, I’m still figuring out my calling in the career world, but I will tell you that I could not have done this without my beloved husband. His compassion, his loyalty, his sympathy, and knowing AND feeling that we are in this together has truly given me strength in myself in ANY high and low point of my life.
Along with Eddie, we truly have been blessed with such a loving family and friends that put up with my chaotic emotions, rants, and learning curve of MS. It has made my journey more bearable each and every day. I see more now than ever that as humans, God did not create us to be alone, and by golly, I am not. I look to Eddie looking back to me knowing, “We're gonna be alright.”
*In addition to my loved ones and faith, shout out to Chance the Rapper’s “Blessings” (who I am kidding his entire album) & Kanye’s Ultralight Beam that added to keeping my faith alive and gave me hope to get through such a difficult season in my life and continues to do so. I thank God for each and every day I get to live for another day!
Much love, Angelee