Portrait #16 Kelli Robinson Turner

I met (well on Facebook) Kelli through my cousin Christie. I have found so many connections through people I have already known that it helps my heart knowing that my family and friends always have me in their hearts. Kelli is a funny, good hearted person who only deserves the best that life has to give, and she doesn’t allow MS to break her spirit. 

Kelli:   I am 33 years old and was officially diagnosed w/ MS last year. I say officially b/c I was left in limbo for 3 years w/out a positive diagnosis. My first symptom was optic neuritis. My eye dr. sent me to a specialist and he wasn’t too concerned since I had no other symptoms – until he found out my dad had actually had MS. Just to be on the safe side he sent me for an MRI and a lesion was found but at the time it wasn’t enough to say I had MS. I was then referred to a neurologist. After another MRI and an examination all he could say was that he was 80% sure I had MS but couldn’t determine for sure. For 3 years he saw me every 6 months the first year then once a year after. As long as everything was fine he didn’t pursue it. I was relieved that I had no more symptoms but felt like I was in limbo as I never had a definite answer. I always had the questions bouncing around in my head – do I have MS or not? Is this problem I am experiencing a symptom of MS or just a general problem anyone could experience? In January of 2012 I lost feeling in my legs – they were numb and tingly and I had some difficulty walking. Thinking it was MS related I went to my neurologist. He said it wasn’t MS related but didn’t investigate further. I was left in limbo again and this time I had enough. I went to see my family physician and he referred me to a different neurologist. He didn’t think my leg problem was related to MS but at least he didn’t stop there. He sent me for test after test to find an answer. This neurologist didn’t even think I had MS but he continued the tests anyway. After a spinal tap we had an answer – yes I do have MS. By this time I was ready for an answer – to most people this diagnosis is scary…for me it was a relief. I finally had an answer and for once could create a plan b/c I knew for sure what I was dealing with. (I took it so well my Neurologist even asked my sister-in-law who went w/ me if I was going to be okay. LOL) I have relapsing-remitting MS and I am lucky to be fairly symptom free. I started out on Avonex but hated the weekly shot and the side effects that came with it (blankets became my friend to fight the chills – I didn’t travel w/out them!) and this year I was blessed to be able to switch to the new oral medication Tecfidera. MS isn’t a death sentence as people used to think – it’s a diagnosis. It’s an answer to the questions that may be floating around in your head – an explanation to questions you may have. It’s not an ending – it’s a beginning. Once you know you can plan, you can fight, you can live. Don’t ever give up!

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