My first attack was about nineteen years ago when I lived in Maryland. I was working at the Bethesda Marriott and that’s where I started to notice some tightness in both of my legs. This tightness was irritating but not debilitating so I really didn’t pay it much thought. As the weeks went by the tightness started moving its way up into my lower back and causing my sciatic nerve to hurt. Again, I ignored it thinking that what ever it was it would just go away which in fact is exactly what happened about a month and a half later after a few more symptoms. After sticking around in my back for a few weeks my MS was on the move again this time causing my arms to be a bit weak and my fingers to tingle if and when I raised my hands above my head. Each time my disease would move upwards, like from my legs into my back, and then my back to my arms, the discomfort in the lower area would fade away.
The last stop for this first attack was in both of my eyes. Every time that I would go to lay down at night and right after I would close my eyes it was like having a built in strobe light flashing behind my eyelids. And this was when I really started to become a little concerned. I guess it took the thought of not knowing what this was along with my fear that I could lose my eyesight to bring me to the reality that I should go and see a Doctor. And so I made an appointment.
By the time that my appointment rolled around most all of my symptoms and discomfort had gone away with perhaps just a minimal amount of residual after effects still present so my concern was fading along with the symptoms. The Doctor gave me a pretty complete looking over and asked a number of questions but even he didn’t seem all that concerned much to my relief. In the end he told me that he really wasn’t sure what was wrong but that perhaps I had just pinched a nerve and since it seemed like it was going away he was pretty confident that this experience was over. And he was right, for the next six or seven years I didn’t have any symptoms that were like what had happened previously accept that on occasion when I moved my head in a certain way I would get this little electrical kind of tingle that would run down my right leg and be gone in a second.
Looking back on all of this now I don’t know if I was blessed in not knowing that eventually I would be diagnosed with MS or not. You see this was back in the late eighties or perhaps around nineteen ninety when this all occurred and there wasn’t really a whole lot they could have done for me even if they had the proper diagnosis. And sometimes I even wonder if perhaps my Doctor may have had an idea of what it was but decided against telling me, but I guess I’ll never know?
What I do know is that six or seven years later it all came back with a vengeance, and the real nightmare was about to begin!