It's A Mess: A Start

I'm trying to find a beginning point to start this narrative -- form a nice, straight timeline, but I'm having a difficult time choosing a scene to start the story. I could start at the summer before my senior year when I had double vision for a week, or I could tell you about the time when the left side of my body went numb, but both seemed like insignificant moments: they never lasted; these moments faded away like a first heart break or the disappointment of an average test score. 

Maybe the alarms in your head are going off, "That's not normal!" But it felt normal -- like symptoms from a bad migraine or a pinched nerve from sports. Oh trust me, I did the whole WebMD, and I bothered my dad (an ER doctor). I either had a brain tumor,  MS, or a migraine. When you're 17 years old, which one is more likely? 

When I came home for Christmas break my sophomore year of college, and the numbness trickled back into the left side of my body, I casually mentioned it to my dad. He told me we'd keep an eye on it. I wasn't particularly concerned, but when we went to Mary Poppins on Christmas, I couldn't focus my eyes on the screen. When I woke up the next day, it was like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope. My dad scheduled a time for me to come into his ER. 

The snug embrace of the screeching MRI machine managed to lull me to sleep. My thoughts were far louder. After an hour, the hospital tech applauded me for holding perfectly still. They began to wheel me back upstairs in a wheelchair. I insisted that was quite unnecessary -- I could just walk. It didn't matter, they were going to push me anyway. 

The air in the room was light while I was waiting for results with my parents. I expected them to say, "There's nothing there! You're just crazy." I was fine with that result. 

The moment my doctor opened the door to my room, all of the air rushed out past her. My throat contracted, as though recognizing that the air in the room had changed suddenly. The downturned lines in my doctor's face spelled everything out before her lips could part. "The results came back, and it looks like a classic case of multiple sclerosis." Her words entered my ears slow and garbled. Air rushed back into the room with every word. This time, it was hot. It stung my eyes and flustered my cheeks. I felt nauseous. I managed to spit out, "I'm only 19," but the rest of the words couldn't organize themselves into a coherent sentence. 

In just one diagnosis, I grew up. I gained empathy for situations I never thought I would understand. My priorities changed. My world went black, then exploded into colors I didn't know existed. I really was looking through a kaleidoscope, but I needed a microscope to find myself in this mess. 

So here we are now, summer of 2019 -- the story of treatment, recovery, and self-discovery. 


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