In early 2003, I was thought to have MS. Given my age and symptoms, which included long bouts of numbness and literally dragging my feet–despite my training–during a marathon, I presented as a classic case. However, the weekly injections prescribed to me did nothing for me; in fact, they made me much worse. In late 2003, I was suddenly paralyzed, blinded and hospitalized for my severe symptoms. After eight weeks in another hospital, my doctors at the time told me there was nothing more they could do for me. I took a lesson from the animals I cared for in my many years practicing veterinary medicine, who couldn’t understand those words, and I fought on despite the belief of those doctors. Once I got out of the hospital, I went straight to the top–of the Hill, that is–and sought out care at the OHSU MS Center with Dr. Dennis Bourdette.
Going to OHSU made all the difference in my care and quality of life. Soon after he took me on as a patient, Dr. Bourdette diagnosed me with a rare autoimmune disease known as neuromyelitis optica (NMO), also known as Devic’s Syndrome, or as some call it, “the evil twin of MS.” As I struggle daily with everything from balance and mobility to pain and fatigue, I know that I am in good hands at the MS Center. Dr. Rebecca Spain and Dr. Bourdette have given me personalized and compassionate care and I have even taken to calling OHSU “The OHSU Spa.”
By supporting the OHSU MS Center, you are supporting a place that is at the leading edge of its field and a place where the next generation of doctors and researchers are trained. More than that, however, it’s a place that takes care of its patients and never gives up on them. I look at my experience with NMO as a chance to seize the opportunity that life has handed me and try new things–like learning the harmonica and photography or going on long swims rather than long runs. I invite you to seize this opportunity and support the OHSU MS Center with a gift today! Thank you!