My Multiple Sclerosis Story
By Chris Dunbar
First, I would like to say thank you for wanting to know about my MS story and what having this disease can do if you let it take control over your body.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November of 2015 after a spinal tap was performed on me due to the many symptoms I was having. It all started about a month before that with me just sitting at my desk in my office. I had what I thought was an out of body experience which caused my whole right side of my body to start shaking. This only would occur on my right side and would last for about a minute or two. I looked around to see if anyone else saw this happen. No one did, so I politely ignored it and kept on with my day. Now please understand that this would go on for about 3 months before it started to get a little more serious. On this particular morning, I was driving to the office just like any normal day when all of a sudden I had another shaking experience on the right side of my body, but was able to pull over avoiding a potential car accident during this whole time I was shaking. I can say it was a very scary situation.
I sat there for a minute or two on the side of a major California highway and said a prayer to ask God what’s going on with my body. That’s when I decided for the first time that I needed to see a doctor and find out what’s going on. I walked into the ER and gave them a description of what I’ve been experiencing. They immediately checked me into doctor’s care and ran every test you can think of. Once my MRI came back, they noticed spots on my brain which would later be called lesions. So I stayed in the hospital for about a week until I became angry and annoyed because they couldn’t find what was wrong with me. I asked the doctor to release me, but I ended up leaving without his consent.
Maybe a month or so after that I started having problems with my vision, something that seemed to be like double vision. Now this is getting serious, so I go check myself back into the hospital. After explaining what was going on to my neurologist she immediately said, “I think you might have MS.” I didn’t even know or understand what that meant so I politely blew that off. She set me up with another MRI and spinal tap the following day. I got MRI results back and had more lesions on my brain than the first MRI showed. Now she told me things were getting worse and I needed to get this spinal tap to see what was really going on in my brain. The spinal tap took place at 8am the next morning. By that evening I was back in the ER because my body would not stop shaking. It almost felt like the spinal tap triggered my MS symptoms inside me and I literally lost all functions of my body.
I ended up being hospitalized for 8 months after that day. I couldn’t stop having seizures, muscle spasms and speech and vision problems. It was one of the worst times of my life. Not being able to be in control of your body and being dependent on everyone to do everything for you. They finally got in contact with a neurologist who specialized in multiple sclerosis and once he walked into my room he basically saved my life. He knew exactly what medication to put me on and how to treat my MS. Within a couple of months I was up walking with assistance of course and trying to get myself back to my new normal.
I knew I was going to never be the same again but once I got released, I told myself that I will try to get back into some type of shape. I was the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life (290lbs), very uncomfortable with myself and hated what I saw in the mirror. I started eating healthy and understanding I had to learn what I could and could not eat by having this disease. With me being a registered dietitian and nutritionist it wasn’t hard for me because I really understand how food is processed in the body, so all I had to learn was how to live with MS.
I started going back to the gym daily and started training myself again. Even had a couple of relapses while I was in the gym but I didn’t let that stop me. I started back working out on February 2, 2017 and told a few people that I was going to compete again with this disease and no one believed me. I stepped onstage on August 19, 2017 and won my first competition while having MS and history had been made. I went on to do a TV show, a podcast and have been an ambassador for Multiple Sclerosis. Letting everyone know that you might not be able to get rid of this disease but you can beat it. That’s all I’ve been doing since and people really look up to me for support, motivation and I appreciate every bit of it. Below is a link to one of my TV shows I’ve done, so please check it out and enjoy!