A New Start

2 years ago I had an attack of never-ending nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, and hiccups. Doctors could not figure out what was triggering this and why it wouldn’t go away for months. I went on with life as normal, until December 2022.

Finally, a diagnosis

I had another vomiting/reflux attack but this time it was accompanied by what an ER doctor thought was “vertigo”. I showed up at the ER with dizziness and distorted vision. Sadly, I was sent home. I showed up again at the ER a couple of days later and was hospitalized for a week. Thankfully, a knowledgeable attending neurologist had a feeling I had NMO. I had several MRI, CT scans, and a spinal tap. The spinal tap confirmed I tested positive for Aquaporin-4 antibodies. I was told I had NMO.

Living with NMO

I was so confused. The doctor told me I should Google it. I’ll never forget that… not that she owed me anything, but to tell a young woman to google her new rare disease was tough to swallow. Thank God the love of my life was my side the entire time. He did all the research for me, and educated me in the softest way possible. After a week of a high dose steroid, I was sent home. A week later, I saw a highly recommended neurologist who has many NMO patients. Today, I am struggling with my vision in my right eye, fatigue, muscle weakness, mind/body disconnect, and back pain.

"NMO was a gift"

I’m now growing and lovingly grieving the old Gaby. The old Gaby that was “healthy” but never present. The Gaby that was always thinking about the next thing I had to do next. The stressed, overworked Gaby. As weird as it sounds, NMO was a gift from God. Yes, my life has slowed down significantly. But that’s what I love. I wake up every day actually here. I can feel deeper than I ever felt before. I have a deep gratitude for life that I never had before. I appreciate every single moment and feel God with me always.

I know this happened to me for a reason, and accepting my disease and embracing my new life has made a difference.

I will not give up. I will keep pushing forward and love every single moment of my new life.

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