Back in 2016, I was having the time of my life. I had just come back from Jamaica in January, I was there for New Years and had a ball. I had just also sold my first home as I had finally decided to take my new career as a realtor seriously. I had a plan for the new year, but that all changed very fast. I had first started feeling symptoms a few weeks before it all suddenly hit. Weeks before, I was feeling some sort of burning sensation on the inside of my right upper thigh. I had gone to three different doctors and each one said my symptoms sounded like sciatica, and I was prescribed gabapentin which I never took because I just didn’t agree with their diagnosis. So, as time went on I just gave up.
To make a very long story short, I quickly went downhill. I began to be wobbly in my walking as I became more and more ill. All of this took place at home. One day, one of my legs gave out and I fell, and I could not urinate although I felt like I had to. I then decided to call the paramedics. I went to the ER and thankfully there were doctors on staff that paid close attention to the symptoms that I was describing and immediately admitted me. I was given high dose steroids for a course of 5 days. As I sat in the ER, my paralysis began to set in and I could no longer feel my feet, and it started to travel up to my waist. At first, I thought I was tripping. I was saying to myself “are you not able to feel your feet?” and the harsh reality was “NO” you cannot!
The doctors did a spinal tap along with an MRI, and I was diagnosed with NMO/TM. As a result of NMO, the lesions on my spine at C3-C4 affected my ability to walk. It took some time for this to settle in. My spirits were always high while in the hospital and skilled nursing facility and rehabilitation center. I was in these places from February 21st 2016 to April 2016. In the hospital, I was given plasmapheresis, Rituxan and Cytoxan. Nothing happened when I got the plasmapheresis, but it seemed like with every Cytoxan treatment I regained a little bit of movement starting from my feet on up. I never lost bowel control but I did lose bladder control and was given a catheter, but I have since regained that control. I have gone from wheel chair to traditional walker to a rollator. I am now looking to walk on my own eventually.