Jamaica mother with MS aims to inspire others

Lisa Ray, a single mother in Jamaica with multiple sclerosis, has been through many hurdles over the past eight years, but she refused to let them stop her from living a full life.

In 2008, the former Wall Street broker and comedy promoter noticed she was displaying slurred speech, and suffered from dizziness and problems with balance. After doing independent research, she self-diagnosed herself with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain to the body, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Ray’s primary care physician dismissed her symptoms as not being serious enough to be a result of the degenerative disease.

via Jamaica mother with MS aims to inspire others • TimesLedger

My story is similar to this article about Lisa Ray but her story is much worse than mine.

Starting around 2003 or 2004 I started getting a tingly feeling and burning sensation in my right foot. It wasn’t constant it was more off than on. I went to my doctor and he order an MRI of my lower spine. Results of the MRI he said were I had arthritis build up on my spine around a nerve and it was pinching it. He told me there was nothing you could do at the time.

About  2005 or 2006 the feeling had gotten worse. A return visit to the doctor resulted in a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I was given a prescription for Lyrica which after short time I found did not do anything. I called the doctor and was told there was nothing they could do for me, it would have to get worse.

In the summer of 2007 I had the same feeling that was in my right foot was now beginning in my left foot. The tingling in my right foot had I moved up into my right calf muscle. I also had an overwhelming stiffness in my lower back and shoulders as if I had worked out day before. My doctor referred me to a neurologist at that point and he said I needed to have an MRI performed on my entire spine and neck. When the results of the MRI came in the neurologist told me I had a mass on my spine.  He did not know what it was but assumed it was either a collapsed disc or a ruptured disc and that I needed surgery. After they would not schedule my surgery I went to another neurology clinic and they scheduled me to see a surgeon. The neurosurgeon said after looking at my records he couldn’t understand what the neurologist wanted him to operate on. After performing a bunch of physical tests on me he told me that he believed I had multiple sclerosis. He referred me to another neurologist and told them to look at MS for my condition. That neurologist did a brain MRI that revealed a problem. He then ordered a series of blood tests to be performed which came back negative. The next step was a spinal tap and on January 8th 2008 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Today thanks to Copaxone the medication I take I don’t have the tingling or burning sensation in my feet. The stiffness is generally controlled most days as well. My walk and balance are off however and I need a walker to get around. I have tremors as well along with speech issues and swallowing issues caused by multiple sclerosis.

My advice to anyone with MS is learn to adapt and then move on.

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