I went to a primary care doctor who immediately connected me with a neurologist. An MRI showed I had lesions in my cervical spine. Like many people with TM, I was given an initial diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I was sent to the hospital three days before my wedding, pumped full of drugs, given a spinal tap (which came out negative) and sent home. I was broken, sad, scared.
There was considerable back-and-forth over my diagnosis. My lesions “looked like” MS lesions, but all other signs pointed to TM. Fortunately, I connected with the MS Institute at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and the incredible Dr. Ben Thrower, who gave me my TM diagnosis. Finally, I felt like the cloud had been lifted. We knew what I had.
I regained use of my hands and feeling on the upper right half of my body, but the damage to my right foot and leg never healed. It makes hot tubbing a strange sensation — imagine half of your body is warm, and the other is cold no matter what you do! I still have the spider crawls, the pins and needles, the freezing feet and the stress related issues like sweats and anxiety. The drugs I take to help the pain have their own side effects too. And they don’t one hundred percent eliminate the pain.
What I’ve learned from having TM is to slow down. You don’t have to conquer the world. Take one thing, and one day, at a time. Find what you value most in life, and let other things pass. Find comfort in the love of those around you, find fellowship in those who also have invisible illnesses, and speak out so that others will know your story. For all they know, your story may one day become theirs. One day at a time, my friends.
A video of my story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm4FHq1mml0