Several weeks after being admitted into the hospital and receiving steroids and plasmapheresis, the neurologists on rotation diagnosed me with multiple sclerosis. When I asked if I would ever walk again, I was told no. I wasn’t even given a glimmer of hope. As a 28-year-old that was devastating to hear, when I had been living independently for so long. Now, I needed to rely on people more than I had in a really long time. What was truly upsetting was that I couldn’t see the neurologist on staff who specialized in multiple sclerosis, and was also familiar with TM, because he wasn’t on rotation. Three weeks after I was released from my 45-day stay in the hospital, I saw the specialist. He listened carefully to my story and explained that he felt I actually had TM. Grateful for the time this neurologist took to talk with me and to reach out to other TM specialists, I decided it was time to travel out-of-state to a TM center to get a second opinion.
Finally, three months after I lost the ability to walk and after another round of tests, I was given an answer. Yes, I had TM, but this neurologist told me that I should never lose hope and reminded me that “vitamin positive,” or a positive outlook, was crucial to my health and recovery. That was the turning point for me, which renewed my hope. Since then I’ve returned to work and I’m finishing my PhD; I’ve found a TM support group in my town and physical therapists in my area that specialize in spinal cord injuries; and I’ve married my best friend. My husband, Jeff, has been with me every step of the way and while he could have decided he wasn’t up for the challenges I was facing, he didn’t flinch. Instead, he wanted to marry me, so we could fight TM together. While I focus on my physical therapy to help me stay strong, I also hope that one day my hard work will pay off once researchers find a cure, so I can walk down the aisle to Jeff again, but this time on my own without my wheelchair.