Kathy Simpson shares what motivated her to see a doctor about her symptoms.
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Well, as most of us, we ignore what’s happening; we’re in denial. We just think that these are symptoms of aging. I was in my late 40s at the time and I just ignored it. I thought, "Well, it’s, you know, I am just tired, I have had a hard day, I don’t, the kids are young and work is tough," and whatever, but unfortunately, it is a progressive disease and it just got worse and worse and worse. The catalyst to finally going in and addressing it, other than my husband and my kids and my friends all saying, you know, there’s something wrong with you, was one day I was at a dinner party and I choked. I had been having a lot of problems with swallowing, which is very typical when the nerves are affected in your throat, and I was chewing on a very small piece of meat and started blacking out. And the person next to me started doing the Heimlich maneuver and the last thing I remember before blacking out was the doctor who was sitting across the table from me, a friend, picking up a knife to do an emergency tracheotomy. And then I passed out. Fortunately, they were able to revive me and get the meat out. The doctor said that it was such a tiny, tiny little piece of meat that something was definitely going wrong. His guess was cancer. He said, "You know, you’ve got to go in. You’ve got to get that addressed." At the same time, several months before, I started having numbness on the right side of my face. I had had Bell's palsy when I was in my 20s. So I thought, "Oh my gosh, is this Bell's palsy returning?" I had, you know, complete facial paralysis on the right side for a couple of months. So, between the fear of cancer and facial paralysis, I thought, you know what, I’d better go see a neurologist, and I went in and he spent five minutes with me and said, “You have multiple sclerosis.”