I can’t specifically pinpoint when the strange sensations in my left leg began, but I recall a distinct moment in late January when I felt something was off. To celebrate my 34th birthday, I planned a great getaway with some of my best girlfriends and my poor husband (the only male surrounded by 5 women is never easy). We spent days on the beach in the Caribbean, sipping beers and frozen drinks. We went dancing every night, so much that all of us came back with sore feet. We ate fantastic food. It was one of the best trips, filled with so much fun, joy and love.
One of those days, a few of us began walking the beach, hilariously to the end where the nudist resort began – just for shits and giggles. However, less than halfway through the walk I had to stop due to that sensation in my left foot and leg. I causally commented that it had been happening for a little while, but frankly I didn’t take it seriously whatsoever.
As the early months of 2014 continued, the episodes came more often and they grew more intense. I remember walking down the streets of Manhattan and having to stop until the feeling subsided. My left foot would essentially become numb with the electrical-type sensations traveling all the way up my leg. I recall sitting at my desk while they started to come multiple times a day. It no longer mattered whether I was walking, sitting or laying down.
I know there were a few episodes, but one particular time while working out on an ellipitical machine the sensation wasn’t just isolated to my leg. This time, it traveled all the way up my left side into my face. I honestly thought I had just been working out too hard, but this episode did scare me.
So, by Thursday, April 3rd, I finally saw my primary care physician. Due to a history of multiple sclerosis in my family, my doctor was concerned. She wanted a brain MRI and blood tests. I was devastated by the thought of an MS diagnosis. I had seen what it did to my aunt over all these years. I just couldn’t imagine it.
I went to my parent’s house immediately. I was crying when I first saw my father and explained what my doctor had advised. He was floored, but directed me to keep it from my mother. Obviously, she had also seen what MS had done to her sister and our family. My father did not want her to know anything until something, whatever that something was, could be confirmed. I won’t lie. That was TOUGH.
On Saturday, April 5th, I went in for the blood tests, but didn’t receive any results. Those would take days. The MRI had yet to be scheduled – insurance holdups of course. Needless to say, it was not the best weekend.
And so, Sunday, April 6th, in an attempt to relieve all of the stress, I went to relax and get my nails done. My world would never be the same.
The history of my seizure that day is detailed in my post.
Following my diagnosis, I learned that the episodes had been seizures and clearly, there was no question about the “big daddy” grandmal seizure. However, there had never been any other symptoms I could pinpoint to have led me to even fathom cancer. I never had headaches, blurred vision or issues with my speech.
No one prepares for brain cancer. I can’t imagine anyone even suspects it despite clear symptoms. I never really even knew about brain cancer. No one ever really talked about it. No one publicized the symptoms or what to look out for. (As an aside, these are the reasons I tirelessly work to raise funds and awareness for brain cancer).
I wish I had known the symptoms and more knowledge of this disease. Quite possibly, it could have pushed me into that doctor’s office much earlier.