When I was 17, my first MS symptoms appeared.  My hands (or was it just one? can’t remember) were “numb”.  It was just a minor annoyance, and eventually it went away.  For the next 20 years, symptoms came and went. Mostly it was numbness in my legs and feet, a couple of times my hands. 

Right before my wedding, when I was 21, there was a time when I couldn’t see out of one eye, like it had a gray film over it, and I also couldn’t hear out of one ear.  These weren’t simultaneous, but happened within weeks of each other and lasted a week or two each.  I went to doctors and had them both checked out, and everything was “normal”.  I researched my symptoms…I guess I went to the library, as this was before widespread internet…and MS came up as a possibility.  I remember crying and telling Craig I didn’t want to have MS, we were just about to get married, how would this affect us?  He was reassuring, and as the symptoms subsided, I tried not to think about it.

However, from that time on, it was always in the back of my mind.  I pretty much knew I had it.  I kept having periods of numbness in my feet and legs over the years.  It would last about 6 weeks and then go away.  In every other way, I felt and functioned normally.

After our huge stressful episode in 2002/2003, things got a little bit worse.  It still came and went, but my legs would tire out after a lot of walking.  I began to avoid things like a full day at the zoo with friends.

Over the winter of 2005/2006, there was a turning point.  I was 35 and had children aged 8, 5, and 3.   I had what I consider my first, and worst, full-fledged exacerbation.   My legs were numb, but to a greater degree than before.  But the biggest difference was how I felt.  I was exhausted.  I couldn’t mop the kitchen floor without feeling like I had just run a marathon.  One morning I was ironing a skirt for church, and I just couldn’t do it.  I had to sit down.  I told Craig “Something is wrong with me”.  It wasn’t a revelation, it was finally admitting that I needed help.

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