I have mentioned that I am diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) casually on here and usually in reference to how I’m dealing with or treating it. I just realized however that I hadn’t posted anything about my story of diagnosis, which happened in 2001, haven’t posted it here at least. I’ll start with my stroke story.
It started in 1999 when I was a freshman at Parsons School of Design in NYC and living my dream of making it to a top design school. I had spent the summer prior living in NYC and taking a “Design Marketing” intensive as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to apply to the Design Marketing or Communication Design programs they offered (I decided on Communication Design). I had been in school for a few weeks, just when the pressure was really starting to build in what is referred to as the “Foundation Year” of the Parsons BFA programs, when I went to school, to my drawing class on October 1 and noticed on my way up the subway steps at the Union Square station I was stumbling. I was also bumping into walls on the way to class and realized something was definitely not right. I recall that I was friends with the security guard on duty and mentioned to him what was going on “just in case” things got more serious.
I had not noticed that it was my left side getting weaker and weaker.
I went to class, noticing only that I couldn’t stand up from the drawing horse as I usually did.
After class I casually went to the clinic, asking classmates to watch my stuff, assuring my friends I’d be right back.
I had no idea what I was dealing with which I soon learned.
Walking into the clinic I remember awkwardly trying to explain that I was tripping a lot, leading me to bump into things. I was soon seen by the doctor who right away asked me to stand at the wall furthest from him (I think it was only about 8 feet that I ended up walking) and to walk towards him. I remember watching his face as he watched me walk, it was like I could see the blood draining from his face.
I started getting nervous.
He asked me to sit down as he grabbed a large book, kind of a medical white pages of sorts and started frantically flipping through the pages.
Next thing I remember he told me I had to go see a particular doctor. I remember casually looking at the address and commenting that it would be easy to get to by subway to which he replied, “No, you need to get there as soon as possible, do not take the subway, take a cab.”.
That doctor, upon seeing me uttered the word “multiple sclerosis” and it was the first time I heard the word. He rushed me from his office to the ER a few blocks away at NYC Medical Center where his partner, and the doctor who I ended up seeing for years and eventually diagnosed me with MS was on duty. I was sent to get an MRI, I remember awkwardly wondering if I was dying and then realizing it was my cousins son’s birthday and calling them to say happy birthday. I was thinking it might be the last opportunity I had to do so. A friend of mine thankfully came and sat with me as I was going through all of this. Soon after the MRI I was then being told I had a stroke and we should call my parents.
This was in 1999.
Other articles I have written that touch on this subject can be found here:
Treatment of a Stroke vs. MS