Living with multiple sclerosis can be tough. What do you have that's worth fighting for?

Worth Fighting For – MSAA Reblog

Posted on Posted in Blog

**Originally posted by Matt Cavallo on MSAA Conversations on 4-20-2015 at http://blog.mymsaa.org/worth-fighting-for/**

Never Give Up

Photo Citation: Wash, B. (2011, December 11). Never Never Give Up, art show 2011, MBW. Retrieved June 3, 2015, from https://flic.kr/p/b4vjd8

There was a touching moment at my last neurology appointment. You see, I have been with my same neurologist since moving to Arizona in 2009. Throughout the years, he has been by my side through good and bad times. This time was different. He seemed less like my neurologist and more like he was proud of me.

In 2010, I was suffering from severe spinal stenosis due to a bone fragment that had chipped from my C6 vertebra. I required emergency neck surgery or faced the risk of being quadriplegic. After surgery, I fell into a state of depression. Relapse after MS relapse building to a surgical climax, I just felt like my quality of life was never going to be what it was before having MS.

I was ready to give up on myself. Not only that, but I was ready to give up on my MS treatment, as well. And I did. I was required to stop my treatment prior to surgery. Post-surgery, I didn’t want to restart my treatment. I had had enough. I was sick of feeling like a science experiment or a pin cushion. It seemed like even though I was on a treatment that another debilitating relapse could strike at any moment.

One month passed post-surgery and I was feeling OK. A little tired, but OK. Then a second month passed with no treatment. Now, unbeknownst to me, I started to forget simple tasks around the home and office. A third month passed and I was dragging my left leg, had blurry vision in my right eye and couldn’t follow simple instructions. However, due to the brain fog I was in, I convinced myself that nothing was wrong.

That’s when my neurologist stepped in. I didn’t tell him anything, but you see I worked for a neuroscience clinic that was associated with his practice. One of the nurses called him and he made a special trip down to the neuroscience clinic to check on me at work one day. As a result of his visit, I found myself in an MRI followed by the news that my brain and spine were blossoming with active lesions. He ordered me a round of solu-medrol and a follow up with him the next week.

During that follow up, he wanted to know why I was acting the way I was. Why was I going against medical advice? I told him I was done fighting and that I had already been through too much. He spent the rest of the appointment helping me decide that I was worth fighting for. That my multiple sclerosis would have periods of relapse followed by periods of remission and that I needed to use the available tools to fight it with all I could. And I did.

Good Times: Last week, I walked into his office feeling like Norm on Cheers. I got to visit with old coworkers and acquaintances and catch up with old friends. Then, it was time for the appointment and this appointment felt a little different. He did his protocol tests and talked to me about lab results from a recent blood draw. Then he took the conversation in a different direction.

“Matt,” he said, “How are your travels? I worry some time that your life on the road is going to wear you down.”

“You know me,” I responded. “I want to use my story to go make a difference in the world.”

“When I think back to when I first saw you, to where you have come, despite the challenges.” He paused. “I’m just…I’m proud of you.”

Given where we have been and reflecting back on the past five years together, the good and the bad, I was speechless. This is a revered neurologist, that has been practicing MS in Phoenix since 1978 and he is proud of me.

At first, I was speechless then I responded, “Remember when you told me I was worth fighting for? Well, I believed you.”

I believe that all of you who are reading this are also worth fighting for. The question is, do you believe it too?

9 thoughts on “Worth Fighting For – MSAA Reblog

  1. Your story is helpful I just got the news a month ago and it does not feel at this moment that there will be any good days I hope and pray that I can find a doctor as good as yours

    1. Hi Helena, thank you for sharing. Being diagnosed is overwhelming at first and it doesn’t feel like you will ever be the same again. Then, over time, it becomes your new normal. I’ve had MS for 10 years this month and I am living the life I always dreamed of. Find the right MS specialist, learn as much as you can and keep fighting. You are worth it!

  2. Thanks Matt. I was diagnosed a year ago January and just turned 56. The diagnosis turned my world upside down, but even more was my husband leaving when I went on SSDI. I’m now going back to work because I know I’m stronger than MS and I thank my husband now for leaving and making me realize what a sad person he must be. I’ll be fine because I believe in myself.

    1. Thank you for sharing! It is awesome that you are going back to work despite the challenges of MS. Keep up the great work. Believing in yourself is definitely worth fighting for!

  3. Thanks Matt I just received the news one month ago… As soon as I found your blog I really like it. It’s very inspiring! Can you share your Dr’s name?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Claudia,

      Thank you for the compliments. I’m glad you like the blog. My doctor’s name is Dr. Hendin from Phoenix Neurological. If you live in the Phoenix area, I would highly recommend him.

      Take care,

      Matt

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