They’re not exactly words that you anticipate hearing in your life (at least I didn’t). “You have MS,” she said. “But you should know that most of my patients aren’t in wheelchairs.”

I was diagnosed in 2002, officially by a neuro-ophthalmologist whose job it was to review my MRI and deliver the news. I was 27 years old. I had to wait over 2 months from the visit to the first doctor who thought I might have it til that visit. “You have MS.”

My diagnosing symptom was double vision. I started seeing two of everything when I looked left on the day I moved to Washington, D.C. (without a job… in a bad economy… after breaking up with an unreliable boyfriend whom I would later find out had never divorced his wife… but I digress). I went to an ophthalmologist who said she thought I had another autoimmune disease called myasthenia gravis. She asked if I had anything else that was weird.

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“Well, my feet have been numb for about 6 months…”

“Why didn’t you tell me that when you came in?!?”

“Um, lady, because you’re an eye doctor.” 

She sent me for an MRI. I had to wait a month. I had to wait another month for an appointment with the neuro-ophthalmologist to tell me the results. In that time, I had a lot of time with Dr. Google. Brain tumor, Lou Gehrig’s disease, 6th cranial nerve palsy… But no. “You have MS.”

It was one of the best days of my life.

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In good health,

Mariska

“There’s No Point in Treating That. You’re Just Going to Get Worse.”