Welcome back to our blog! Many of us living with multiple sclerosis or any other type of chronic disease have a story. My name is Tamara Kahn and this is my story.
My MS journey likely began when I was a pre teen (our MS Journey). I was officially diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 30 in 1998 after my second daughter was born. My identical twin sister had been diagnosed with MS three years before me. With identical twins the risk of the second twin being diagnosed is higher.
As I reflect back on my early twenties there were signs and symptoms of MS. My mother had died in 1992 after a long battle with cancer. A week after her death my fiancé now husband and I flew out from Atlanta, Georgia to California for a new job interview. He was a California boy who was finishing his medical residency in Radiology and I was a Florida girl excited to start our new lives together in California. After a few days of interviews we took a break and went to the Sonoma wine country in Northern California. Towards the end of a beautiful long walk I had to stop as my legs were burning, tingling and felt heavy. I was in so much pain I couldn’t take another step. (I had not had that feeling since I was in high school.) My fiancé with his witty humor just told me I was just out of shape. Although, I was a model of good health and fitness. A quick rest did the trick and I was able to complete the walk. Looking back this, most likely represented symptoms of MS.
I was at my best on my 30th birthday. I vividly remember thinking to myself how blessed I was in life. I had a happy marriage with two beautiful daughters ages 16 months and one month. One afternoon I had both my girls in each arm walking down my stairs from the second floor. My left arm felt very weak . I did everything in my power not to drop the babies. When my husband came home from work I told him about my weakness in my arms. He said I was having twin sympathy pains. I agreed with him. (My twin sister, Terry, had already been diagnosed with MS.) My husband, who is a Radiologist, suggested I get a MRI. I had my MRI and walked into my husbands Radiology reading room waiting to hear good news. As soon as I walked in and glanced at him I knew our lives were going to be forever changed. He confirmed that my brain MRI showed signs consistent with multiple sclerosis.
I was fortunate enough to live near Stanford University Hospital. I scheduled an appointment with a MS neurologist. After many tests including an EEG and spinal tap I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. MS! Wait a minute! I am in the prime of my life. How could this be?
When I was first diagnosed with MS I did not know much about the disease. Classically MS is a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
It took some time for me to accept that both my twin and I were now faced with a chronic disease. MS has thoroughly changed everything about my life. It is definitely not a disease for “sissys” or the “weak of heart.”
Please Follow along with both my sister Terry and me as we continue sharing our story of living with MS. We will continue sharing what daily life is like living with MS. We will explore and share what family life looks like for us. We will also share how it has been for us transitioning through the stages and challenges of MS.