On Monday, January 17, 2006, at the age of 38, I had a day off from work to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. So my nine year old son and I headed out to the local high school to get in some work on the baseball field. We were having a great day. I was hitting fungos, throwing bp, and even catching him while he was pitching. No symptoms or any signs that anything was wrong. I was feeling good and enjoying the day at the field with my son.
Later that day after returning home to my wife and one year old daughter, I began to experience some numbness in my right foot. The next morning the numbness began to work its way up my right leg. By this time I’m thinking I must have pinched a nerve somehow in my back working out with my son. On Tuesday, I went to work with no idea it was anything more than I had just over done it yesterday. My thinking was, I’m not as young as I used to be.
As the symptoms worsened, I decided that I would try a local chiropractor. The numbness had begun to move up both legs. Never before having gone to a chiropractor, I went for the first time. He did the standard X-rays and adjustments and told me they looked good. I was instructed to return tomorrow for another adjustment. So I returned on Wednesday, but the symptoms had gotten worse with numbness moving up both legs and into my trunk area. I continued to go to the chiropractor for the rest of the week. On Friday, there was no improvement and my symptoms were worsening by the day. He told me he was concerned and was scheduling me to see a neurologist.
As I returned home from work on Friday, my wife was watching from the kitchen window as I walked to the house. She immediately met me at the door and said get in the car I’m taking you to the ER. I reassured her I was fine and the chiropractor was setting me up with a neurologist on Monday. It was beginning to become difficult to walk and my wife would not let me carry my daughter. Saturday morning with my symptoms getting worse my wife once again said she’s taking me to the ER. I convinced her to let me go to my son’s basketball game that morning. After the game, I gave in and let her take me to the ER. After checking me out and not being sure what was going on with my balance, the ER doctor immediately scheduled me with a neurologist.
On Monday, I had my first appointment with the neurologist Dr. Plyler. After about a month of tests from blood work to MRIs to a spinal tap, I was finally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. After meeting with the neurologist, he suggested that I start taking an injection of Avonex once a week along with an intravenous steroid. My symptoms improved over time but I have always had numbness in both my hands and feet. This is something that I’ve learned to compensate for. I remained on the Avonex for 10 years. Over that time, I had a few flare ups with a few new lesions on my brain and spinal column but I continued to remain active.
In 2015, Dr. Plyler retired and I switched to the MS Clinic at The Medical University of South Carolina. At the first visit they switched me from Avonex, which was an injection to Tecfidera, which was a pill that I had to take twice a day. I stayed on the Tecfidera with little to no flare ups until Feb. 2018. My blood work showed that my white blood cell counts had dropped significantly over the past year. I was taken off the Tecfidera. After being thoroughly screened, I began taking Gilenya which is a pill that I take once a day.
With all this being said about my diagnosis and treatment over the past 12 years, I get to my purpose of writing this blog. I just wanted to share that over this journey which has been a struggle at times, I continue to be very active. I work a full time job 40+ hours a week. I also have coached baseball at the local high school for the past 10 years and give private hitting lessons.
My hope is that by sharing my MS story, it will encourage others to keep fighting. Stay ACTIVE, healthy, and keep fighting the good fight. Forgetting what is behind and straining forward towards the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. (Phil.3:14)