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MY UNIQUE WEIRD DISEASE EXPERIENCE: an Essay by MS Warrior – Amir Haziq Hafiz Muhammad

Assalamualaikum and Hello to all of you. I’m a 22-year-old male, and my name is Amir. The day I got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), I was baffled by the disease. I thought it was just some disease that could be fixed with modern medicine. Never in a million years I thought would be experiencing one of the rarest and most acute diseases. Right now, I’m at the Relapsing-remitting MS phase, which makes me kind of anxious about the future ahead.

My experience before being officially diagnosed with MS was that I had four repeated incidents that will become one of the early signs of MS. The first incidence of this dreaded disease occurred around September 2020, when I had a slight Lhermitte. At the time, I thought it must be something related to my other illness, which is dislocated jaw. The next incident, a month later, was when my stomach began to feel a bit numb and heavy. I was then referred to an Orthopedic Department at Hospital Kajang to find a definitive answer to why this was happening.

The third incident came two months after. At the time, I started to feel numbness on my feet, and the intensity of the numbness kept growing day by day. I was then referred to an orthopedic at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), which tried several tests, such as an electric sensor test. The fourth incident was the worst. I could not walk for a few weeks, and I lost my ability to walk properly. My whole body felt numb, and too weak to even move a bit of muscle. It was even harder for me to climb up the stairs since I live in an apartment.

I was then rushed to Hospital Serdang, where I was warded for 5 days and 4 nights. The doctors there were super friendly. They gave me their daily assessment and tests that I’ll be conducting, such as a CT scan, Lumbar Puncture, and mobility test. On the second day I was hospitalized, one of the doctors told me that I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The doctor at the time explained ideally what MS is. Still, I thought it was just a mere disease with a cure available.

However, I was not given any steroids and was left without medication. I felt miserable because it seemed like there was nothing, I could do to fight this predicament. I felt terribly lonesome being hospitalized, since I was hospitalized during the Covid-19 pandemic when the Movement Control Order was imposed by the government, a lockdown period when no visitors were allowed. I soon learned that this MS disease is more prevalent in females than males. Overall, there are around 700 more patients with MS in Malaysia, and more than two-thirds of them are females.

I became worried that I might be disabled one day, that I would not achieve my dream job due to the MS symptoms that would hinder my job performance. However, I’ve been supported by numerous family members and friends. They all gave me emotional and financial support to overcome this disease.

A month after I was officially diagnosed, I recovered from the symptoms fully through extensive psychotherapy sessions done for a whole month. I was also supported by helpful doctors and a neurologist from Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL), who kindly provided me with all information regarding MS that I needed to know as one of their patients. I got to know the other patients’ challenges from MS Society Malaysia. My biggest supporter was my mom – a single mom – who never complained about taking care of me. I have also requested Zakat to help me pay the costs of the medicine required. Still, I didn’t need it since I’ve joined an experiment for better treatment of MS.

So far, I’ve only relapsed once, in October 2021, which was less impactful than the earlier one, which saw me hospitalized at Hospital Serdang. The medicine seems to be working. Instead of feeling numbness on my whole body, I only feel it on the right side of the body. Which is a successful sign that the medicine is working to lessen the impact of the relapse.

So, I’ve realized that I need to overcome the despair of MS and aim for a better future. One of the methods that I’ve found to soothe myself is by exercising. By keeping your body fit, your body will be prepared for sudden relapse that might occur randomly. Besides that, Yoga and being hygienic are beneficial as it keeps our mood in a stable mind and does not confuse imagination with reality. I like to thank my lovely mother for her unconditional support, supporting me throughout the journey.

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