MS & Transgender
Gepubliceerd: 2 mei 2016
My name is Alex McEwin, I live in Canada where we have one of the largest number of people diagnosed with MS, and I am a transgender teenager. Why am I telling you this? Because I'm in hoping that I'm not alone and there are more trans MS patients like me who this will reach. More teenagers with MS who, like me, are scared and just trying to figure out life as it is without also figuring out what life is with MS.
Transgender Alex McEwin from Canada is diagnosed with MS
I was officially given the diagnosis of MS very recently, March 21st, to be specific. But when I was first admitted into the hospital for my symptoms, that's not the diagnosis they gave me.
Now I'm melancholic, but appreciative.
Wednesday March 2nd is when my whole world turned upside down without me realizing it. I'd woken up to find out that the left half of my body was totally numb. My mom was sick with the flu and said we'd get it checked out if it got worse. The next day my whole body was numb, and I was weak in the arms. It wasn't until Friday when I spent all day in bed unable to move much and too nautious to eat that we'd decided it was time to get it checked out. We got into emerge after supper and I immediately threw up the only thing I'd eaten all day.
We didn't get in to see a doctor for a few hours, when we did she ordered a CT scan, but the machine was broken so we spent all night waiting for it to be fixed, in the end it came clean anyways and she sent us home but said to come back if anything changed because she was concerned about the symptoms I was presenting.
To nobody's suprise, at 4am I woke up because I was too nautious from now being randomly dizzy just lying down, and I was vomiting bile. A lot of it. My mom had to physically carry me into the car to get back to emerge because I literally could not move myself. A lot of what happened next is foggier to me because I'm experiencing memory loss but also because I literally slept most of this time away to cope with the extreme stress on my body.
Nevertheless, they gave us a diagnosis of ADEM
I was transferred to a hospital in a larger city the next day because my city hospital doesn't have any neurologists. It was upon entering there that they'd promised an MRI, and they were quick about it. I pretty much got the mri the next day once I'd been admitted, and they even had results for us. Lesions were present, but what they weren't telling us at this time was that there were some older lesions on the scan. Nevertheless, they gave us a diagnosis of ADEM (similar to MS but presents more in young children and is a single occurrence flare up, only has rare tendencies to repeat). Thankfully the treatment for both remains the same: steroid therapy. However, for ADEM they were a bit too optomistic and were having me on a tapering dose that went down every day.
I was sent home on Monday of the March break, but on Friday I woke up with double vision. This of course terrified us all and we called the hospitals on call neurologist who told us to come back. We did and on Sunday I got a new MRI scan to see what was happening. For a while everything was tense as we were waiting to find out what the answer was.
The next day was intense. We were officially told it was MS, which was hard to process. The thing about believing it was ADEM originally is that I had a chance to return back to what my life was like before I got sick. Which, while I would love to, don't get me wrong, I realize now that I wouldn't change this.
I was angry because being on steroids makes me feel more intense rage, but also because I had felt robbed of the last stretch of my childhood I had left. I'm becoming an adult next month. I also felt betrayed by my own body. Simply catching a cold one day led to scars in my brain that will be there forever.
So I have a goal: to be capable of living semi-independantly within a year.
But now I see it differently. A month ago, yes I was mad. Now I'm melancholic, but appreciative. This has allowed me to take time to reconsider my post secondary options for next year and really think about my life, it has given me a more loose gestural style of drawing thanks to the change in my fine motor skills, and best of all? Being on steroids gave me a small taste of what being on testosterone will be like. I'm now no longer afraid to move forward with my transition.
I'll be finished treatment for this flare up in two weeks, and then I get to see the MS clinic to talk about a long term goal. It is there that I hope to learn more about how I can effectively become more independent with MS, because I use a walker, wheelchair and shower chair right now due to fatigue and often need people around me to ensure I'm okay. The fact is I'm going to be an adult, and I do still intend to attend post secondary when I've gotten more healed from this lesion, so I have a goal: to be capable of living semi-independantly within a year.
Thank you for reading ♡
Alex is on Twitter: ParadoxHorde