Saturday we went to Eli’s game and the weather has been really kinda crazy. One week it will be 50 degrees out for the high and the next it will be in the 80’s! It was pretty hot out on Saturday and there was no shade on the football field. We sorta just baked out there. After Eli’s game we took the family to lunch (as has become tradition). Jared chose Olive Garden this time. We were about 3/4 of the way through our meal and Jared started feeling really sick. His eyes became hazy and dilated and he was feeling very hot and started sweating, it was ‘not’ hot in the restaurant. He tried to pick up his drink and his grip wasn’t as firm as he thought and his glass slipped from his hand.
I told him to go out to the car and turn on the a/c and lay back until the kids could finish up and I could pay the bill. I told him to make sure he took his cell and to call me if he felt he needed something sooner. I watched him walk out of the restaurant and he was really unstable…I knew then.
We got home and he seemed to be getting paler and I sent him to bed. It’s happening again…
He pretty much slept the rest of the day. Sometimes he can ‘reset’ by sleeping and in the morning he’ll feel better. Not this time…
Sunday he woke up and he felt worse. His symptoms hadn’t improved and now he had a migraine. His muscles felt weak and he couldn’t walk at a normal pace and he had to hold everything with both hands. When talking to him he was very slow to respond and he just couldn’t focus with his eyes for any length of time.
I called our good friends the Campbells and asked Dave if he could come over to give Jared a blessing. He was so happy to help and called another one of our friends, the McKees, to help. The blessing was such a comfort and more specific than any other healing blessing Jared has ever received. It surprised me at how specific it was actually. Every thought and concern I had on my mind seemed to be addressed. It was a confirmation to our family of how much the Lord is aware of us. He knows each one of us and he loves us. The Spirit was so strong I couldn’t hold back the tears. I was overwhelmed…
Jared and I don’t have any family close by that are members or that hold the priesthood. It can be hard at times to ask members from the Ward to come into our home and give blessings to us and or help Jared give a blessing to our children. I’m so incredibly grateful and thankful however, that we have made close friends that feel like family and they are willing to help out anytime anywhere. Words cannot express my gratitude for their friendship and love.
Again, Jared slept almost the entire day on Sunday as well. Pain/weakness in his left arm seemed to become more prevalent, especially by the evening.
Monday he seemed to finally be improving but not to the point of being able to go in to work. I called the Neurologist and the earliest they said they could get him in was ‘next’ Monday. I said that wasn’t going to work and asked to speak to someone else. He transferred me to the nurse. I explained the entire weekend and his symptoms and she agreed he needed to be seen right away. (Sometimes you have to be pushy.)
I took Jared in at 2:30pm. His last Dr. left to have a baby so he has a new doctor, Dr. Chang. He’s pretty young..but he seems to know his stuff. He’s a resident still so he has to report to an attending, which is like getting two doctors for the price of one. He took Jared’s full history, ran him through a ton of physical tests..stand, sit, push, pull. Checked his vision..up, down, left, right, and peered into his eyes with that light thing for forever! He thought and thought, drank his what looked to be like chocolate milk through a straw (neurologists are a weird bunch of people), and finally confirmed what we had already assumed. Jared had had an M.S. exacerbation over the weekend.
He said he feels the Copaxone he’s been taking has been handling his M.S. pretty well. It’s been 3 1/2 years since his last episode that put him in the hospital. Until this weekend he’s been pretty much symptom free. He told him to continue to take the Copaxone. He also said he can’t confirm until they do an MRI that it was indeed an exacerbation, but from the tests he put him through and seeing that his left arm is markedly weaker than his right, and that he is having pain in the muscle, it sounds as though it was. He also said that M.S. patients often suffer from heat intolerance and it can be a trigger for bringing on an exacerbation/relapse. He told Jared to stay out of the heat as much as possible. (But…we live in AZ!! sigh…)They are going to set up an appt. for the MRI as soon as possible and in the meantime, they are putting him on a steroid burst (Dexamethasone) for 3 days.
He said the thinking and treatment for M.S. patients has changed recently. It used to be that they would have to admit you to the hospital and run an I.V. of steroids for about an hour when a patient would have an episode. Now they write a prescription you can fill at the pharmacy and you can take pills at home. It’s a LOT of pills though, 25 per day for 3 days! yikes! However, Jared was thrilled to not have to get an I.V. The steroids are used to fight the swelling of the nervous system. M.S. is an auto immune disease so this helps to sort of calm everything down.
They also gave him an RX for Nexium since the steroids tend to upset your stomach pretty bad. They had to be very sure he didn’t suffer from ulcers or they wouldn’t have been able to give him the Dexamethasone. The doctor also wrote a prescription for Relpax. It’s for migraines. None of the other migraine meds have ever worked for Jared..but he wants him to try several different ones and hopefully they will land on one that will do the trick. It’s better than the alternative which has been being laid up in bed for a day or two suffering.
I really felt the Lord was watching over us this weekend. He sent so many of our family and friends as His hands to help us. We had so many people tell us they were praying for us. We had tons of phone calls and messages asking what they could do to help. We had meals show up and treats. We feel surrounded by love!
The last time Jared had a major relapse I felt so alone and isolated. We didn’t know what was going on or what to do about it and it was so severe he didn’t even know who I was. NOTHING can prepare you for when you walk into your husband’s hospital room and ask him to tell you your name and he can’t…nothing…
This time was still scary, it was a minor exacerbation, but still unnerving. However, what made it so much more bearable was, we were surrounded by so many that showed us their concern and compassion.
Nothing will ever take the fear away when he has a relapse. Everytime it happens I wonder…is this the one? The one that takes the man I’ve known for over half my life away from me? The one that disables him and he no longer can walk, talk, or play with our children? This disease gives you false hope at times. You don’t see it. You look at Jared and unless you knew he had M.S. you would think he was a normal enough guy. But it hides, and then out of nowhere it strikes and turns your life upside down and you are scrambling trying to get your bearings and on your feet again. There is no cure for M.S. and it can be terrifying and consuming to think and wonder when and what it will do next…..
We do feel extremely blessed. We have a loving family and such an amazing Ward that are ready and willing to help whenever they get a call. It brings tremendous comfort to us and we are forever grateful!