9 Months of Hell

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The past 9 months of my life have been hell. I’m not talking about the “oh this thing is bad for a second” kind of bad but a bad that lasts for a long time if not a lifetime. If you have wondered where I have been or why I haven’t been as active online it’s because of this.

Back in April the interior part of my right eye started to twitch. I don’t know whether it was the leg press injury I suffered in March that caused my right leg to feel weaker, me putting my legs over my head after doing sit-ups, or going to a chiropractor about my leg. Whatever it was, I wasn’t ready for what was about to come. I saw a neurologist about it and he had me get an MRI. The nurse called and said the white spots on my brain could signify MS. Multiple sclerosis. Something I’d never thought I’d have to deal with in my life. I called my wife and my family to tell them the news. It was very emotional. I had to drive to the hospital where I got my MRI and take the disk into the neurologist for the official word. My expectations were low after the nurse mentioned MS. The neurologist said that the spots were too small and not in the right pattern to be MS. After getting an additional cervical spine and thoracic spine MRI and saw no degeneration, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. After seeing an optometrist about the twitch and he gave me a new prescription and it calmed down. I was happy and felt like I could get back to normal life. While my eye kept twitching every once in a while into July, things were relatively good. I was able to do normal things like work out and play basketball outside. Things were about to change though.

My body took another turn in July when it started to pulse during my work day and my stress and anxiety about the situation started to go up. I got a deep tissue massage to help stress, anxiety, and loosen muscles up in my body. It felt great, but symptoms were still there. During vacation at the end of July I noticed floaters starting to appear in the upper part of my eye. I started stretching everyday which helped loosen the super tight muscles in my body and allow me to eat more than a little bit of food per meal. I would start waking up pulsing in the middle of the night though despite the stretching. It scared the shit out of me. My stress and anxiety got to a point where the temperature in my body felt super hot and I went into the ER. The neurologist there gave me a quick test and he sent me home after I passed. I felt better after that although I would still wake up at times with pulsing in my head but the floaters in my right eye were getting worse and it was maddening.

In August, I continued to deal with the pulsing and eye floaters. We moved into our house in the middle of the month which was exciting to have a place where we could have space to go outside and get fresh air. However, I ended up back in the ER again after a panic attack not long after that. I had lost 15 pounds since April. They performed another MRI on my head and spine and saw that things hadn’t changed, which was great news and relieved some of the worry.

By September, the pulsing was strong and the floaters in my eyes were everywhere, causing more stress and anxiety. We went to a friend’s wedding in upstate New York where we hung out with friends, but I was exhausted and the dancing motion made me feel disoriented and in a fog. We drove the 7 hours back and I was back in the ER that night expecting the worst after I couldn’t regulate my body temperature and my brain felt like it was attacking my body, shutting down my arms and legs. The ruling: my MRI hadn’t changed yet again. At that point I realized I needed to learn how to control my stress and anxiety. However, I ended up back in the ER again late in the month after running and running and running because the pulsing wouldn’t go away and I couldn’t sit down. I spiraled and went to the ER to get some medicine to calm me down. I needed to get treatment, but I was always the type to stay away from medication.

By October, I had an appointment with yet another neurologist and a GI doctor. The neurologist prescribed me a low dose antidepressant after meeting with him and telling him my symptoms. However, I had another panic attack backstage after helping my brother and our colleague give a presentation in New York City. I was ready for another ER trip, but thanks to friends and family there, I was able to get calm again. I slept horribly and couldn’t calm my body down. I started taking the antidepressant after that, which greatly helped my sleep for the first month or so of taking it. The GI doctor had me get ultrasounds of my gut. Aside from minor stuff there, everything looked normal overall. I got better at controlling my anxiety and I was able to sleep at night finally with minor pulsing after finding a good position to sleep in.

By November, I learned to accept the floaters and went into the holiday with a relaxed motive of resting and enjoying it with the people I care about. I felt like I finally got my symptoms under control by early December and that I would be fine living my life with some differences. However, digestion issues made me call up my GI doctor again and we scheduled a colonoscopy and endoscopy for January. We enjoyed Christmas as best as we could but New Years Eve had me feeling pressure and tingling in my head that I did not want to feel. It was a miserable night unfortunately and we went into the new year on a bad note.

Yesterday I had my colonoscopy and endoscopy and found out that I have a hiatal hernia. Not the worst news in the world, but I know there is more going on neurologically that feels like blood keeps rushing to my head but it’s not going down. The nerves in my body feel like they are weakening as a hot bowl of soup isn’t nearly as hot as it used to be. The pulsing got worse the night of my colonoscopy prep and the tingling in my head continues during most times of the day. The floaters in my eyes are everywhere still but motion in my eyes and the viscosity of my right eye seems to be getting worse as it is wavery when I brush my teeth with an electric toothbrush and motion jumps when I watch TV. I head in tomorrow to my neurologist to see if I can get additional imaging and try to get an answer for what is going on with my nerves. I am hoping for the best and trying to stay positive.

The past 9 months have been exhausting and maddening. There have been a few times where I have felt like everything was heading in the right direction and that my body was finally healing. However, things have always tended to sink back down into a bad area. There have been plenty of tears, too much yelling, and too much focus on the future. I learned to meditate, went to multiple massages, went to a float spa, received acupuncture, went to chiropractors and attempted yoga but none of these fully relieved my symptoms. I’ve been to neurologists, optometrists, neuro ophthalmologists, and GI doctors about this. The common answer is “I don’t know” which is tough to hear. It has been a hell of a thing to deal with. I can’t lift weights because the pulsing in my body gets stronger because the blood rushes to my head. My body seems to want to heal itself, but the pulsing is stopping it from building muscle in my body. Everything is pushing up and I want it to stop so I can heal.

While the symptoms I feel are terrible and frustrating as all, I feel worse for my wife who has stood strong next to me during this aggravating time in our lives. While we moved into a house, the excitement that comes with that has been blundered by my issues and attitude. My family has been supportive and I couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who has reached out or helped in one way or another.

I go into tomorrow not knowing what it bears. I just want to be around for a while. I don’t want to go blind. I want to explore the world with my wife and take more adventures. I want to see my nieces grow up. I want to have our own family. I want to be happy and healthy just like I want everyone else to be happy. While I tear up writing this, I gotta believe. Miracles can happen. I need to remember this. I am hoping for one. I love you all.