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My Journey to Being Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease affecting the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). MS occurs when the immune system attacks nerve fibers and myelin sheathing (a fatty substance which surrounds/insulates healthy nerve fibers) in the brain and spinal cord.


My Journey: Finally Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Life has been tough.

Questions almost devour my brain.

Munching with big bites.

Like a bite of a dinosaur.

Everyday, a question arises.

What's happening?

This is something new!


SPEECH and SPINE.


It started with my speech.

Speech slower than a turtle.

Sounded like a robot.

Then my back and spine.

Twelve years.

It's still painful and sore.


I wondered what's the problem.

They say its just my posture.

They say it might just be lack of sleep.

I'm just lacking of energy.



"Why do you speak like that?"

As much as I wanted to speak more,

I get discouraged.

Why?

Because they approach me like that.

Just because of my speaking tone,

I get bullied and speak ill of.

My confidence and self esteem has gone low.

Thus, I talk through poems.

I dread face to face conversations.

It's always that question.

"Why do you speak like that?"

"Is that your normal speaking voice?"

"It's like you are always sleepy."

I can only respond with a frown.

"No, it's not my normal voice.

No, I'm not sleepy.

No, I'm not tired.

But, I never really figured out the reason."

What's been affecting my speech?

What's been causing my slow movements?

What's been causing my back pains?

Do I really just lack of confidence?

Am I really just tired and exhausted?



Headaches, Migraines, Indecisiveness.


Then, I started to have headaches and migraines.

Poor coordination and concentration.

Poor balance.

My indecisiveness got worse.

As I get troubled with things that requires immediate response or action.

Tell me, "Hey, I'm talking to you!"

"Are you still there?"

The more it gets difficult to respond.

There's the trauma and pressure.



Trauma.

You know the feeling when,

You don't answer them, they'll eat or attack you.

The sillhouettes or shadows of humans,

They'll attack and choke you.

They'll hit you with something.

They'll kill you.

The words they might say,

Are the words that you dread the most to hear.

What makes it more dreadful?


The thought that people will leave you alone.

People will betray and abandon you.

People will distant themselves from you.

Cause, who'd want a person who speaks so slow and soft?

You barely can't hear.


Most people want a more lively person to be with.

Most people want people who are fun to be with.

With the tone of voice like that,

People will just get bored and sleepy.

It's not enticing and engaging.


"Although, I wanted to tell a lot more.

I get discouraged.

By that fear."


People no longer want to talk to me.

People leave me and distant themselves because I speak like that.

People talk behind my back, and make fun of it.

They immitate it and make it sound as if it's funny to speak ill about someone.

"Try to speak faster and louder", they say.



In a very fast paced modern world,

Everybody is always in a rush.

Everytime you speak with someone,

You should answer like you are always answering a fast talk.

Think fast and answer fast.


But what if you have to comprehend and think about your answer first?

What if you have a neurological condition affecting how fast you think and how fast you can answer?



Sometimes even simple questions that requires simple answers only,

We tend to overthink.


Sometimes, it's the environment.

You are not focused to the questions.

You are easily distracted by all background noises.

It takes multiple times, before the question registers to your mind and becomes clear.


You might have heard the question,

But it buffers for quite some time.

The other would then suspect you didn't hear

but just before they raise the question again,

you start answering it.

Sometimes, people call it rude.

When you don't answer immediately, they get mad at you.

People have to understand, at times there's a lot of things going on in our minds.



Are Things Getting Worse For Me? The Drastic Changes. Signs and Symptoms.

Years after.

I started to notice drastic changes.

I struggle to use spoon and fork.

Metal, wooden, plastic, doesn't matter.

I guess hands were just convenient for me.

Since Filipinos use hands to eat too in some places and occasions.

Plus, I always eat take out foods.

I usually order burgers or fingerfoods.

Cause, I was not fond of washing the dishes and cooking my own meals.

I thought it was just that.

It was just like that at first.

But I also struggle holding small things months after.

Keys, coins, ballpen, face shield, etc.

My hands would shake terribly.

Maybe it was a long time.

Maybe I just forgot how to use and hold a pen.

Since, I was always using phone to type.

But so long, I guess that wasn't the case.


Maybe it was because of what I eat.

My diet and my lifestyle.

Have to admit they were really unhealthy.

Can't be helped for someone depressed.

Got no stable mind, everything is a mess.

Whatever tastes good, whatever feels good.

Just keep satisfying the cravings.

It's no guilt pleasure.

But now I'm harvesting the adverse effects.

It will be tough, but I can still get through.


Two months ago.

My steps has gone heavy than usual.

I struggle to take steps especially at the stairway.

Even riding a vehicle would be painful and gives discomfort.

Feels like I'd fall anytime soon.

Everytime I take a step,

It feels like I'd lose my balance.

On some cases,

When using the stairs going down,

I feel like my limbs have been taken away or gone invisible.

I'm taking a step, but it feels like they have cut it off.

It's either I imagined my legs to be like that, or I was walking like a complete blind person.

I've been overthinking scary

things in my head.

As my steps starts getting heavier to carry.


My Vision.

It goes like a waxing and waning moon.

When I get so incredibly dizzy,

When the world goes turning, spinning 360°.

It goes waxing and waning when its getting blurry.

It zooms in, zooms out, zooms in, zooms out.

Adjusting until it gets clear, but remains blurred.

Like a foggy moist mirror.

After blinking a few more times,

It's only when I start to see clearly.

It's crazy.

It's more blurry than your failed relationships.



Why I was Hospitalized? What happened there? Day I got Diagnosed.

December 26, 2021.

My headache started.

A kind of headache I never had.

A migraine perhaps is the right term.

A migraine.

A migraine that never went away.

Usually, when I ate and am full,

It goes away.

Or after a good sleep.

It goes away.

But 9 days has passed,

Good Lord, it's still painful as hell.

I'm crying as when will the pain will end.

My head started feeling heavy.

It's squeezing, and poking it like with a hammer.

It was too painful to even sleep or chew.

It was really terrible.


January 4, 2022.

I woke up feeling a bit cold with the headache.

I was gonna have a slight fever.

I decided to admit myself to the hospital as planned.

Since, I was bound to get sick as well.

It was just about the right time.

Then I tested positive for COVID 19.

I was symptomatic anyways.

With fever, cough, and some colds.

My sense of smell and taste were also not that strong.

I was ready for the quest to stay longer at the hospital.

Everything is going as planned.


The doctors then came to me,

Asking me random questions for

Cranial assessment.

What's my name?

What's the date today?

What's the name of the current president?

Then they'd give you three things to remember.

But will distract you afterwards.

The hardest part for me?

The math problem.

They'd ask you to start subtracting 100 by 7 until you reach 0.

It should be fast and continuous.

A very long pause definitely means something.

They also tested how strong my arms and legs were.

Up and down. Push and Pull.


Within the duration of my confinement,

Each day I'm injected of painkillers, steroids, and antibacterial.

Painkillers are two syringe 3 times a day every 8 hours .

Then sudden visits of getting blood samples and urine sample.


The day finally came.

I was scheduled for brain MRI.

The staff told me, they'd get me 6:30 am.

I couldn't stay put since 4am.

I prayed the holy rosary, prayed my own set of prayers, self meditate, listened to feel good songs.

Until the utilty came at 8am.

I was so sleepy and hungry.

My headache was still there waving hello.

Maybe I have fallen asleep during the MRI scan.

Honestly, I don't know anymore.

After the scan, all I could think of was to eat and drink and sleep A LOT.


January 14,2022.

They asked me to have a lumbar puncture done.

They get a sample fluid from the back near the waist.

It was a test to see if it was positive for meningitis.

It took 5 bottles of specimen and more than half an hour.

I was asked not to move or stand up for 6 hours straight.

I could also not eat or drink until then.

Since it was so sudden, I wasn't able to empty my bladder first.

Thought I could hold it in.

But I was wrong.

It was 7 in the evening where I feel like peeing so much already.

Things got a little out of hand.

I got myself into a little accident and trouble.

While peeing at the urinal, I suddenly pushed the bed away.

I slipped off the floor wet with my urine and fell. (sitting position)

It was embarassing and

and troublesome.

But I learned my lesson.

The second time they had to do it.

I prepared in advance.

I emptied my bladder as much as I can before the second puncture.

It was another 6 hours and a pain in the back.

Cause you have to lay flat.

But no more trouble and worries this time.


January 30, 2022.

It was the day, I was able to confirm everything.

Even though the MRI scan didn't show anything.

Even though the lumbar tap specimen test tested negative and normal,

It doesn't throw away the fact that I'm already clinically diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

I'm currently taking steroids and would soon do some therapies.

Finally, a name that'd describe all my symptoms.



Acceptance and Living With it. What's Next For Me?

It will be a tough journey here onwards as it is a disabling disease.

But I could live through.

God is with me, and the principles of Life he has taught me the past few days.

I will never have to go through anything alone anymore.

There are people by my side.

People that keeps praying for me.

People who have loved me for what and who I am despite my conditions.

People who supports my advocacies and endeavors.

People who embraces me for simply being me.

That alone gives me courage and strength to live by and make better choices.

The present is what matters.

We shouldn't be spoiling or wasting it.


The road ahead of me now maybe rough and winding as I head forward, but I'm sure I'll do my best to enjoy the ride.

Just enjoy and be happy.

No ride is dull and sad when you are having fun. The choice is yours to make.

Even staying at the hospital can be stressful and sad.

But if you chose to have some little fun and make the best of memories out of a unique experience,

It's better! Cause, I stand as living proof to that.

I'm the happiest patient ever admitted. Because I chose to have fun.

Let's keep that happy and feel good attitude even if we are sick.

Life continues even if you have disability or maintenance.

If you can't completely heal right now, you don't have to wait for that.

You can still do things you love and enjoy while you are at the process of it.

Life shouldn't stop just because you're under recovery.

But just take it small steps

at a time.

Never exceed your limits.

You know how bad your body will suffer if you over do things.

Keep everything in moderation.


Life Goes On.

I'm still happy and blessed for everything.

With that, I thank the Lord and Everyone.

Keep me in your prayers.

And I'll pray for all of you in return.


Life is still good.

No worries. No fears. No more regrets.

Just living the life I deserve and What I dream of.

Being a writer whose writings would reach different parts of the world.

Those writings that would also inspire and make impact to the lives of the readers.

It was only a childhood dream, now has become a reality.

What more could I ask for?

I just continue to strive and thrive to make a difference.

Be remembered for the things they learned from my poems.

I'm more than contented with that.


Life is great and filled with abundance.

Until then,


Your Fighting Warrior,

Gianella.




© 2022 Gianella Labrador

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