Monday, May 12

Kerry Galcik, Columnist, THIS IS MY 1ST COLUMN! I look forward to writing as a new columnist!

Hi! My name is Kerry Galcik and this is my story...In February of 2004, I noticed a strange sensation that was progressing from my feet up my legs and eventually leading to my chest. Everything was going numb! By the time it progressed to my chest, I felt like there was a rubber band wrapped around my diaphragm and it was getting tighter with every breath. I was immediately hospitalized and went through an MRI, spinal tap, blood work, breathing test, a VEG and others that I can no longer remember. They started me on high dose IV steroids.

As I lay in the hospital bed that first night, I was terrified.
They were considering putting me on a ventilator if things kept progressing.

As I laid there struggling with each breath, I began to pray...God, please help me breath, please keep me off a ventilator and let the doctors figure out what is wrong with me...As I prayed, a peaceful warmth wrapped around me and each breath I took became a little less of a struggle. By morning, I was able to keep from having a ventilator. The question was now...what was wrong with me? I went home after 5 days in the hospital with no answer. After months of rehab, I went from a wheelchair and walker to a cane. I still use the wheelchair or electric scooter in order to go out for any long distance. 

In August of 2004, after seeing two doctors and having more tests, it was determined that I have Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. I have several lesions on my spinal cord and now in my brain. There are relapsing remitting and progressive forms of this disease. I started with RR and quickly progressed to the next phase. 

There is no cure for MS. There are medications that have been developed that help to slow down the progression.

I started with Avonex but continued to progress. The doctor then tried Rebif. I had several bouts of optic neuritis and chemo was added to try to stop the progression. Finally after a year and a half of this regimen, I decided to try the new drug, Tysabri. Eventually I ended up on Copaxone, then back to Rebif.

In June of this year, I am excited to say that I am now taking the drug Tecfidera! 

Through all the pain, frustration and disability, I have continued to keep God at the front of it all. Without Him, I would never have the ability to fight like I have. This disease is nothing like what people think. Every person with MS is different. They can have no visible signs of disability but suffer with incredible pain. They can be in a wheel chair or blind from the first attack. There is no rhyme or reason.