By Jenny Goodwin
Almost four years ago, my world was turned upside down.
On a warm, sunny day in July, I woke up with a numb left side of my face, a feeling I had never experienced before. I was able to talk and move my face, but something just wasn’t right, and I didn’t feel like myself. The tingling extended to my left eye and forehead and radiated down my left arm as well. I knew something was wrong.
After a few days with these symptoms, I decided to go to the emergency room and was turned away not once, but twice, by two different health systems, as they didn’t feel that my symptoms were anything I needed to worry about. Three weeks later, after begging a third emergency department to order me an outpatient MRI, I was diagnosed with MS.
Fast forward six months later, and my world was turned back around when I found Rush.
After a few consults elsewhere, I decided to visit Rush, and I am forever grateful that I did. It’s hard to explain, but my intuition was telling me that I shouldn’t settle with my other options in the area.
'Nothing short of amazing'
I still remember my first appointment with Dr. Michael Ko back in 2017, where he spent close to two hours with my family and me, ensuring all of us that I’d be OK and that I was in good hands — and boy, was he right. He listened to me cry, he answered my questions, and he assured me that I would be able to tackle my MS head on.
Ever since that initial visit with Dr. Ko, my MS journey at Rush has been nothing short of amazing. From the front desk staff, to the infusion nurses, to the physicians, the MS clinic has kept me afloat and has helped keep me as healthy as possible.
The attention to detail and concern has been so noticeable, and I cannot thank the MS Center enough for treating me like royalty and ensuring all of my medical needs are met.
As crazy as this sounds, I actually look forward to my infusions and appointments because the staff has become family. They truly care about every patient that walks through the door. They listen to me when I need a listening ear, they wipe my tears when I get overwhelmed with the unknown of the disease, and they make sure I am as healthy as possible from a disease standpoint.
Care during COVID-19
Even with the most recent COVID-19 crisis, they made it possible for me to get my infusion early, provided protective gear for me to wear during the infusion, made sure I knew what to look out for with the virus as it relates to MS, and ensured I was safe and protected from any disease exposure while being infused.
I am currently on Ocrevus, which is an eight-hour-long infusion given every six months. To date, I have had no side effects from the drug other than fatigue, which is certainly expected with a medication of this strength.
I am feeling wonderful overall, and although my MS is considered mild, I truly feel great despite this diagnosis. I have no noticeable symptoms other than fatigue and am able to do everything I did before diagnosis. In fact, I’m even more active. Of course, some days I don't feel my best thanks to MS, but most days I forget that I even have it.
I have not slowed down one bit, and I credit a lot of this success to Rush and the MS Center. They provide some of the best comprehensive care in the country and I cannot thank them enough for the attention and care they continue to give me and my family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.