Part 1 - My MS Journey
The Diagnosis

My journey began almost four years ago after a routine hysterectomy. I awoke from the surgery with absolutely no pain in my abdomen but with the worst headache that was thought to be from the anesthesia. Twenty-three hours after the surgery, I was sent home.

The next week was a blur, literally. I had extreme vertigo and double vision. I called the doctor several times and was finally prescribed a medicine for vertigo. I couldn’t articulate how bad I felt, and my symptoms were being blamed on anesthesia still being in my system. I slept a lot due to the medication, only to wake up feeling very unwell.

When I had my follow up appointment the next week, my double vision had progressed to a fixed non-responsive pupil in my right eye. My gynecologist was noticeably concerned and arranged an emergency appointment with an ophthalmologist.

After a very lengthy examination, we were given very grim news. “I need to stress the seriousness of your condition.” The doctor said. He then took my hand and said “I’m afraid you either have a brain tumor or an aneurysm pressing on your third optic nerve. I have arranged for you to have a stat MRI/MRA with contrast. You will need to stay and wait on your results. There is a possibility you will not be leaving the the hospital. You could possibly be having surgery as early as the morning, depending on the results.” My husband’s face was as white as his uniform shirt while I immediately turned red. Tears began to fall as I thought of my three children. The doctor asked if he could have prayer with us before we left for the hospital. I would later learn that he called his staff together for additional prayer after we left.

I don’t remember being fearful of the MRI. I prayed and sang (silently in my head) through the process and had a peace that no matter what the outcome, we would all be fine. Still as we waited for the phone call from the doctor after it was over, the nerves were there. Would you believe we missed his call because our ringer was silenced? I called back, heart pounding. “Mrs. Woods, we got a pretty good report. You are not in imminent danger. You do not have a brain tumor or an aneurysm. You can sleep well tonight. Unfortunately, I do have to tell you I’m pretty sure you have Multiple Sclerosis.”

I was told that I would be receiving a phone call from a neurologist that would be ordering further tests. My husband and I left the hospital holding each other a little tighter. We celebrated with a steak dinner. It was the best steak I had ever had, as I felt like I had a new lease on life. We still had more questions than answers, and I still was seeing two of everything, but the future looked a little more promising than it had earlier.


My husband looked at me and smiled as we were heading home to our babies. He said “Wouldn’t you know it?!? I took you to the hospital to rid you of PMS and you traded it in for MS.” We laughed, and I looked at him and said “Is it odd that I said Hallelujah, he thinks I have Multiple Sclerosis?!? “ He said “Considering our possibilities, this was our best case scenario; but we will not accept anything until all of the tests are completed.

If it is Multiple Sclerosis, we will walk through it together.”

“Perspective is everything when you are experiencing the challenges of life. ~ Joni Eareckson Tada


Click here for Part 2 of Karen's Journey

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