My MS Diagnosis Experience: Why I went to the doctor

Morgan ShelleyBeing diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis was an experience to say the least.  I simply say “an experience” because even after 4 years I still don’t know how to describe it.  It wasn’t easy but it wasn’t as hard as it could’ve been either.  It wasn’t excruciatingly unbearable but it was painful in many ways.  It felt like the process took forever at the time but in the big scheme of things it was relatively fast.


I woke up one morning during the summer of 2008 with a blind spot in the middle of my right eye.  It felt like I had something gooey stuck in my eye and when I blinked my eyelid felt heavy.  I have pretty bad seasonal allergies so I associated it all with that and went on with my day.  I’m not really sure exactly how long I was in denial about the problem but it wasn’t until much later when my peripheral vision became blurred and the blind spot grew larger that I went to see an ophthalmologist.

The ophthalmologist couldn’t see anything physically wrong with my eyeball and said the problem was behind the eye and he was referring me to a neurologist.  My heart sank a little and I thought:

  1. What do you mean there’s nothing physically wrong with my eye?!
  2. I can’t see, I’m going to be blind forever!
  3. Wait.  A neurologist?  Like, for my brain?
  4. OMG I have a brain tumor and I’m going to die!

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At my neurology appointment I was given a typical vision test and then asked to do some things that made me feel like I was being given a field sobriety test.  I couldn’t connect what walking toe to heel in a straight line or pushing my forearms against the doctor’s hands had to do with my eyesight and the brain tumor I had almost completely accepted.  Then the nice doctor connected the dots for me.

 Multiple Sclerosis


The neurologist thought it all looked like M.S. but of course follow up testing including MRIs and nerve tests would have to be conducted.  I was treated for Optic Neuritis (an inflammation of the optic nerve) but even after all the testing I still couldn’t be given a 100% diagnosis, we had to wait until a “repeat episode” occurred.  For me personally the waiting game was the hardest part.  I could deal with M.S. once I was allowed to own it (hey, at least it wasn’t a brain tumor!) but at the same time I couldn’t allow myself to own it because it wasn’t really mine yet.  I was lucky that I only had to wait 3 months while others have had to wait 3 years or more.  When I lost the feeling in the left side of my body all the original tests were repeated along with several more comprehensive ones like a lumbar puncture, aka spinal tap.  This time things were a little more painful and a little less easy.

I have Relapsing-Remitting M.S. and while it was fairly aggressive in the beginning, I am doing OK now.  I have had many different relapses and symptoms but I also enjoyed full remission for almost two years until a minor relapse this past April. The four-year anniversary of my diagnosis was just last month and I can’t believe how far M.S. and I have come together.  It’s always amused me that my initials happen to be M.S. because M.S. isn’t me; it’s just a minor part of who I am.

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*Me loving life even with M.S. 🙂

Morgan is your average 20-something young woman with MS.  She’s figuring out life and learning to navigate young adulthood with her condition.

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