One morning in 2018, Marti Hines woke up to something she never could have imagined. She discovered that the left side of her body was completely paralyzed.
A few weeks prior, she noticed tingling in her extremities, however, she didn’t give it too much thought because she thought it was a result of traveling.
At the time, she was 35 and on a family vacation.
“When I woke up paralyzed, I felt a sharp pain and then the paralysis set in and I was terrified. We weren’t sure what was wrong with me. The emergency room doctors initially thought that I perhaps had a stroke, but cognitively I didn’t have any other symptoms that normally happen when someone has a stroke and so there was just a lot of fear and urgency on the emergency room doctors, which really played a part in my mental state because I just didn’t know what was going on and I was really scared,” Hines recalls.
Hines didn’t officially learn what was going on with her until she was transferred to a larger hospital to take an MRI.
“A nurse came in to tell me that I was being admitted to the hospital because it looked like I was presenting with signs of having MS (multiple sclerosis),” Hines adds.
Although Hines recovered from the paralysis, she was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
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A place of denial and isolation
Hearing the words MS come out of the nurse’s mouth confused Hines. Although she had heard of the disease, which impacts the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, she didn’t really know what it meant.
“Like everyone in this day and age, I went to try to research on the internet myself and I was even more terrified by what I found when I Googled. It was just a really traumatic and scary time for me with just so much confusion and denial because I had never been in the hospital before and I didn’t think that anything was wrong with me. It was really hard for me to accept that this was something that was even happening to me,” the 39-year-old shares.
The diagnosis began to take a toll on Hines’ emotional and mental health.
“I just didn’t feel like I had these symptoms. I had never been seriously sick before and to find out that I now have this disease that, worst case scenario, I’ve seen so many people losing their ability to walk, their ability to see speak,” Hines adds. “It was so terrifying and also very isolating because you know MS wasn’t something that was largely known, at least around my friends and family and so I just didn’t