Jennifer Digmann: My MS Diagnosis Story

  • I always wore cute shoes. At least I thought they were. Some people, namely my opinionated family, would heartily disagree.


    But then my cute shoes started making my feet feel numb. Or so I thought. Certainly, it had to be the shoes. For confirmation of my belief, I saw my family doctor about my aggravating, tingly feet.


    "Well of course I believe it could be those shoes, Jennifer. You spend too much time walking and working in those impractical, unsupportive things," my doctor said.


    She went on saying, "Buy some practical shoes with some arch support and the tingling will go away I bet."

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    Sure enough, new shoes purchased and a few weeks later my numb feet were history.


    Later, as I was wrapping up my senior year in college, back in the olden days when students wrote long-hand exams in blue books, my right hand started to feel like it was asleep.


    Strange, I thought, and back to the doctor I went.


    "You're just under lots of stress, studying hard and writing a lot." Once again, she thought after graduation my numbness would disappear.


    And sure enough, shortly after graduating, it did. I found a job and moved into my first "grown-up" apartment. Life was good!


    Or so I thought.


    Until one day while I was working, I struggled to walk down the office stairs. I was having trouble controlling my feet and legs; I was walking with a gait much like Frankenstein's.


    Strange, I thought and chalked it up to needing more sleep. But within the week, I started seeing double and that couldn't be ignored. So after a frightening 100-mile drive to my parents' house, back to the doctor I went.


    But this visit was different. This time she couldn't explain away these symptoms. In fact, she sent me straight to an ophthalmologist. He quickly examined me and said, "It may be a brain tumor, or it could be MS."


    So on the very next day, I met my neurologist. And I was relieved to discover that there was no tumor. Instead I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Strange relief settled in, after all, I naively thought, "It's just MS."


    That was nearly fourteen years ago. While I'm still very thankful I didn't have a tumor, I realize now there is no such thing as "just MS."


Published On: April 07, 2011