Juan Carlos is 50 years old and was diagnosed with MS in 2009.
What were the first symptoms you noticed?
My left side — my arm, leg, and foot — was numb. Everything started when I had a very bad car accident in December 2008. After the accident, the doctor sent me to a neurologist and then an MS specialist. I was diagnosed in May of 2009.
What are other symptoms that have you experienced over time?
I’ve had all kinds of symptoms. Some of them come and go. I have cognitive issues, including memory loss, brain fog, and trouble with word finding. My vision is sometimes blurry or double, especially when I’m tired. I can’t walk long distances because I get tired, and I need to sit for a while before I can walk again. My hands tremble. Fatigue is around me all time. I have bad lower back pain, and I can’t spend time standing or too much time sitting. The doctors don’t know if all those issues came from the accident or MS because the symptoms are similar.
What is something you’ve learned while living with MS?
At some points in my life, I thought nobody cared about me. Now I know that life can be the same and I’m living in different ways. It’s life – the sun comes up in the morning. At KADEP, I have many friends that care about me, and all the people that help us are wonderful.
What is your favorite MS coping mechanism?
I love going to KADEP and I really liked to go to the pool for hydrotherapy. Because of COVID, I’ve stayed in my apartment a lot throughout the past two years, and I almost never went out because I didn’t want to risk being infected. I got more depressed, and some days it is very hard. As soon as I get to KADEP everything is okay. And I very much enjoy reading and playing games.
How has MS impacted your life?
My life changed 360 degrees. It changed totally. People that I used to know, little by little, just start to drift apart because it is difficult for me to go out to socialize. The first years of MS, it was really hard. I don’t work anymore because of my MS and I miss my job. Everything is harder because I don’t have money to visit my kids. It’s been very challenging not being able to work and not having the same kind of resources that I once had to be able to travel to visit family and do things I enjoy.
What gives you hope?
I hope that someday I can go to Mexico to stay and live there. I can’t do that right now because of my treatments and infusions, but I hope that one day I’ll be able to.