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Updated on August 18, 2016
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Barb has lived with Multiple Sclerosis since she was a teenager when very little information on the devastating disease was available.

How Did You Respond When Your Doctor Told You That You Had Multiple Sclerosis?

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Process of Patience In Illness

It was a typically quiet day at the office and I refilled my coffee cup as usual. But I wasn't feeling that great. Of course with winter in Alaska, you could never tell. There was always some bug or flu virus of sorts going around. It was Fur Rondy February in Alaska and 30 degrees below zero outside. Could be a recipe for getting sick. Who knows.

As the day went on I was feeling worse by the moment, quite certain that I must have caught something. No matter, I'll just nip whatever it is in the bud with one of those nighttime cold medicines when I get home, I told myself.

When at home I took the medicine as directed and put myself and my seven-year old to bed early.

At about 3AM, I awoke to go to the bathroom. I was dizzy as a fast merry go round bouncing from one hallway wall to the other as I attempted to maneuver my way to the bathroom and back again to my bedroom.

In the morning it was slow moving getting my son ready for school and then getting myself ready for work too but I was determined.

I wasn’t about to give in to a cold, the flu or the like. But I wasn’t to have my way no matter how stubborn I was. In the next few days it was a hard lesson in stubbornness and I wasn’t the only one involved. My coworkers became more than a little concerned regardless of my show of courage. Watching me bounce from wall to wall down the long hallway at the office was probably a sight to behold. It was the best that I could muster up. The dizziness had stepped up in increasing degree to the point that it was just plain irresponsibility on their part to let me continue. So upon readying to leave to go home one day, a coworker and friend put out her hand for the car keys. Whatever was going on, I was done with that round.

The next morning a friend came to take me to see the doctor. It was awkward not being able to do much in the way to help myself. I could only allow myself to be helped.

Still stumbling over myself the nurse just put me into a wheelchair. What follows is locked in memory as both discouraging and insulting. After the typical long wait, the doctor came in and asked a few questions. One of things I told him was that I was continually dizzy all the time, all the time. He told me when my doctor would be back and wrote me a prescription for what they routinely give patients for dizziness and vertigo. Many months later when I had opportunity to read my medical file, the doctor had wriiten, "patient claims to be continually dizzy all the time." It hurt that he didn't believe me. Why in the world would I make up something like that. I had my share of hard knocks in life but I had been enjoying the life given to me. Despite losing my husband several months before, I had a son I loved, a great job with an awesome team to work with and good friends I was most grateful for.

I went home and got into bed. It was the safest place for me. And the bathroom? It was crawl baby crawl. No more bouncing business. If someone happened to be there checking on me, I’d get some help.

A girlfriend started doing all my shopping and cleaning. We joked that my bank wouldn’t know who I was anymore after I got well. Her older daughter began spending the night so she could walk my son to school in the mornings and back home in the afternoons. She also did the cooking; mostly just reheating what her mother cooked for both our families.

This process went on for a few months. The dizziness continued with the bed spinning (in my head about every 30 minutes) and I lived on crackers and ginger ale just to keep the nasty tasting bile in check. But I mostly stayed in bed. I was just too weak to do much else. Even the music that had been such a vital part of my life, I was unable to tolerate. A friend had recently given me a piano as a gift, but the sound of it was painful and nauseating. Pitifully, I begged the kids not to play it. Soon they came and took it away.


Sometime during the fuzziness and frustration of it all, a friend called. He suggested I try Apitherapy or Bee Venom Therapy for layperson clarity. He proceeded to tell me about the "Bee Lady" in Maryland and how it changed her life. I have to tell you that I was most indignant with him. I just about cried on the phone at the thought of what I thought was a ludicrous suggestion. But my very dear friend and avid beekeeper on the side was undaunted by my manner and took it in stride as he continued to tell me how it all worked and the miraculous medical changes he had seen. He was sure it could pull me out of the current Multiple Sclerosis relapse I was in. We chatted some more and I promised to think about it.

I did ponder it for a bit and then forgot about it. It was a lot to take in right then, being dizzy, nauseous and weak from malnutrition most of the time.


I had given up going to the doctor's office. I went back and forth from my primary doctor to the neurologist. Whatever they typically used for cases like mine wasn't working on me. It agravated my symptoms even more. I Could have told them myself that typical medicine didn't work for me but they were of a different school of thought and what did I know anyway right?. It was frustrating. So I didn't go back.

A nurse called one day. I'll never forget it. It made me laugh and made me thankful to her for a lifetime. According to her, even after I had ceased going in to have the doctors check me out, my situation still had them in a medical quandary.They were scratching their heads because they didn't know what to do with me. Medical and pharmacology school hadn't prepared them for patients like me whose systems didn't respond well to standard pharmaceutical. The nurse's kind suggestion to me was for me to make myself an appointment to be seen at a holistic or naturopathy clinic.



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    • Babbyii profile image

      Barb Johnson 9 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      It was necessary.

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      Jeni D. 9 years ago

      This made me tear up :( you are a brave woman momma!

    • profile image

      Jeni D. 9 years ago

      This made me tear up :( you are a brave woman momma!