Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Oh, Brain Lesions are Fascinating."

"Unless they're yours. Then they're a drag."

I was watching The Big Bang Theory on Thursday night when Amy Farrah Fowler uttered that little gem. I immediately paused my DVR and called my mom to tell her that I am now convinced that the BBT writers follow me around to get material for the show. Everyone knows I love Sheldon, because we are very similar. Things needs to be in the correct spot. Including myself. I sort my M&Ms by color (which, after the episode where he arranged Howard and Bernadette's closet, I'm convinced he would do as well if CBS and the M&M company would just agree on the product placement!) So many times I'll do something at work and everyone will be like, "Okay, Sheldon!"

I'm glad I can find humor in all this, because a little over a month ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and the brain lesions on my MRI were a contributing factor to that diagnosis. So whenever Chuck Lorre wants to send my royalty check, that would be most appreciated. And I'd love to be able to get that quote on a tshirt!

The following is the write-up I did for my personal fundraiser page for an event for the MS Society. You can see it here if anyone is interested in making a donation.

On Saturday, August 17th I woke up bright and early to participate in an event I had been looking forward to for six months... the Color Run! It was an amazing time with good friends. And if anyone had told me a year ago that the most fun I would have all summer was participating in a 5K, I would have told them they were crazy. But it was! (Please note that at no point in time did I actually RUN.) I went to bed that night happy and content.

The next morning I woke up with a headache and some pressure in my right ear. I was a little dizzy, too. Dizzy because my head was spinning... not just my normal dingbattiness. I'm sure that is totally a word. I wondered what they had put in all that colored cornstarch to make me feel so weird. Bazinga! Just kidding. I figured my sinuses were mad at me for some reason and didn't really think anything of it. I did some stuff around the house and when I went outside, I noticed that I was seeing a double image of the writing on the dumpster in my parking lot. (Usually it says "NO PARKING". On this day it was emphatic... "NO PARKING! NO PARKING!" All right already.) As the day went on, the double vision got worse. I took some Sudafed and went to bed early.

For the first time in a decade, I called in sick two days in a row. When it hadn't gotten any better by Tuesday (yes, I'm stubborn) I had a friend drive me to Immediate Care. I fully expected to be sent home with a lecture and a strong antibiotic. Instead, the (ahem, nasty) doctor told me she was sending me to the hospital for tests. At this point, I completely freaked out because I don't do hospitals, I don't do needles, and I was terrified I had a brain tumor.

I was blessedly surrounded by friends at the hospital. Eventually, I was sent for an MRI and was totally blindsided with the MS diagnosis. My friends kept me from falling completely apart and kept my family (who live out of state) updated on the situation because I wasn't really in any shape to do that. The hospital gave me steroids to help with the double vision and sent me home with an appointment to see a neurologist the next day. She sat with me for about five minutes before promptly sending me to another hospital. She was signicantly nicer than the Immediate Care doctor, but freaked me out even further with the words "admitted" and "spinal tap". I hadn't spent the night in a hospital since I was in first grade. And as far as I'm concerned, "Spinal Tap" is a fake rock band and nothing more.

While some of my family members were getting into town, I won a three-hour cruise in the MRI tube. I made it through that only completely hyperventiliating once and the diagnosis was confirmed. Luckily, they were able to accomplish this WITHOUT the spinal tap. For the sake of every single person in the hospital and within a ten-mile radius that day, I am very thankful that wasn't necessary. I was admitted to the hospital for three days... getting more steroids through the lovely IV that was now growing out of my arm. (For the record... steroids leave a very nasty taste in your mouth. And needles are just plain evil. How anyone uses either of these willingly is beyond my comprehension. Not judging. Okay, yeah, I totally am. And my dreams of being a Major League Baseball star have just been shattered.)

I was incredibly relieved that I didn't have a brain tumor. And I'm also very hopeful (and so is my doctor) that things will be just fine because MS is highly controllable. What I'm less than thrilled with (and what currently actually stresses me out more than the actual diagnosis) is the WAY it is controlled. (See the "I don't do needles" comment above). Great strides have been made in the treatment of MS and WNY has some amazing resources.

Thanks for reading! My life has definitely changed, but *I* have not. I'm still doing all the things I love (and some of the things that I have to do that I don't love as much! Haha.) I'm still planning my Disney trip and looking forward to it now more than ever. Most importantly, I'm reminded daily that I am blessed with amazing family and amazing friends. And that being compassionate and kind is the most important thing in the world.


  1. Wishing all the best of luck to you with your diagnosis :) On a side note, where did you do the color run? I also did one on August 17th but it was down in Delaware!

  2. Prayers.
    I agree, BBT is some great television writing (some awful too, but you take the bad with the good)

  3. I did the Color Run in Buffalo :) I know there were a couple other ones on that day because they kept posting pictures of all these locations and I kept waiting for ours! Hope you had fun!

    Thanks to both of you! I'm walking a fine line between wanting to know as much as I can without learning so much that I freak myself out.