My First Step

Taking the first step is the hardest. It’s always the hardest, no matter what you do – a job, a relationship, a commitment. This has involved too many first steps and first times.

I have always been “nervy”, high spirited, a stress bunny. I have always fallen. My senior year of college with so many first steps approaching, I spent on the ground of the quad, looking up. It wasn’t my shoes, it was my fear causing me to tumble. Of course, now the doctors say that it was the seeds of my condition manifesting itself. Not true, just a facile diagnosis. Fast forward decades and within the period of a month my father died suddenly and unexpectedly; I undertook financial care of my mother who was subsequently diagnosed with dementia; my then live-in boyfriend, now husband was arrested at my mother’s house and jailed, and they found a lump in my breast that was biopsied the day before Christmas Eve. Stress? I think that’s where it all really took root and started. The only way they would allow me back in the office to work is if I agreed to counseling. The counselor said “Any time you are upset you let your feet out from under you.” Eureka! And during that period I once again was falling. The breast lump was later determined to have been the result of bruising in a fall.

The job ended and so did the dental insurance. A tooth fell out that had had root canal and I had an open hole in my mouth, 2nd doorway in.

So we were walking along the boardwalk a little over ten years ago and I started to stumble and be unable to walk. Husband said my motorcycle boots were the wrong thing to wear. NOT! I have walked blocks and blocks in 3 – 4 inch heels.

Over the next few years, these incidents started coming closer and closer together. I am a person who regularly walked a 15 – 17 minute mile.

First step – I went to my husband’s physician’s assistant. She bears an uncanny resemblance in voice and manner to “The Nanny”. In 15 minutes, she said you have Multiple Sclerosis. I went into the parking lot and had hysterics. Many doctors and many firsts after that – first MRI, first (and only) spinal tap, first neurologist, the diagnosis was confirmed. Or like my husband said to one doctor when you don’t know what to call it this is what you call it. She said he was right.

First step – nutritionist with a ridiculous diet and weird views, a no go

I asked all the doctors if there was anything I could do and that I was open to alternate solutions. One doctor told me to live a good life!

First step – acupuncture. It initially helped a bit. Then I felt like a pin cushion.

And the other first steps – first leg brace, first cane. Yuck.

And gradually realizing that even though I said at the beginning this would not define me or confine me, I woke up one morning and it had.

Through a series of serendipitous events, I found a book The MS Recovery Diet and this led me to the Swank diet. The only way I think I can do this is to blog. So, this is the first step.

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