I was in college when I had my first major/obvious exacerbation. I’d had some symptoms prior but I’d brushed them off as nothing. This first exacerbation was about six years before I was diagnosed, and the result of testing was my doctor telling me we’d ruled out everything *but* MS, and she strongly suspected that’s what was wrong, but I couldn’t afford an MRI or further testing at the time. I recovered, and she told me I may just never have an attack again, and to hope for the best.
I graduated, moved, and was working in my field part-time while looking for full-time work in the field when my life went sideways. A lot of things went really wrong at the same time, my stress levels hit an all-time high, and about the point where I thought it was over and I could “get back to it”, I had an attack. Then another, then… a prolonged period a ridiculous amount of testing. MRIs. A lumbar puncture to confirm, then a month-long recovery from the LP. MS went from being “suspected” to “confirmed”. I was put on Tecfidera, changed neurologists, switched to Gilenya, had breakthrough activity, then switched to Ocrevus (currently).
My degree and work I was pursuing were in a field that could easily lead to “crunch”, 100-hour weeks. Layoffs, high stress, high burnout. I knew that well in advance before I started pursuing my degree, and I wanted it. At the time I “knew” I could handle it. […]