– Samuel Johnson
My story starts when I was 34 years old, it was 1999. I woke up in my Dallas home one morning with an unusual numbness that started with my left toe and went all the way up to my left cheek (on my face). The entire left side of my body was numb and tingling. “Hmmm, I’ve got to get new pillows,” I thought. The numbness and tingling didn’t go away for a few days. As frightening as this numbness was, I did what every normal person would do: I ignored it. The last thing I needed was to talk to my doctor about pillows!
Not the smartest move because the tingling didn’t go away and I was getting a little concerned. So I did what every normal person would do, I ignored it some more. Wow, this feeling wasn’t going away and thanks to the numbness, I was running into things and appearing more clumsy than normal.
I finally agreed to see a neurologist who took an MRI of my brain and spine. When I got back to my hospital room Laura was waiting for me. I was reconnected to the steroid IV when the neurologist came back in and told me that they reviewed the findings with other doctors and concluded that there was something abnormal in my brain. My loving wife looked at the doctor and simply burst out laughing! “I could have told you that, you didn’t need a MRI for that kind of information.” I am surrounded by comedians.
Humor has always been part of our life. Laughter is the core of our family’s strength. Trust me, laughter would be the thread that keeps our family stitched together.
The neurologist looked at Laura amused and said to both of us, “No, really, there are some ‘incidental’ findings that clearly indicate an issue that is causing the numbness. We will continue the steroid treatment and see what happens.” He walked out and said while leaving, “I’ll send another colleague that specializes in MS.” He was gone, Laura and I just looked at each other incredulously. “What did he say?” I asked, “MS?!”
Laura was relieved that it wasn’t more serious because it could have been. Nonetheless, we were both concerned and rightly so. Multiple Sclerosis is serious, right? Doesn’t Jerry Lewis have telethons for MS? Obviously I didn’t know the first thing about MS. That was all about to change.