It was March 2017 when Erin Truax began to notice she was feeling different. Her brain felt fuzzy. She couldn’t focus. She was dropping things, breaking her iPhone twice.
A high-energy communications professional, Truax dismissed it.
Then one lazy Sunday a few weeks later, she was sitting on the couch watching television when her right hand went numb. She bit it and felt nothing. Fifteen minutes later, some feeling returned.
The next morning, Truax was in the office by 6 a.m. to get ready for a particularly busy week. But three fingers on her right hand refused to type.
By noon, her patience was running thin. Assuming it was carpal tunnel or a pinched nerve, she went to see her doctor, who immediately sent her to St. Michael’s emergency department.
It was there she met the neurologist who would become her specialist – and her lifeline.
“It was her keen eye and years of experience that identified something was different between my two hands,” says Truax, 39. “When I wiggled my fingers, my right hand was much slower – and it still is today.”
A month later, after a thorough set of medical tests, Truax got the diagnosis. Multiple sclerosis.
Her mother, a nurse, was sitting by her side. They both began to cry.
“My first question between sobs, was: Will I be able to have kids?” (The answer is yes) Truax had many, many more questions. Her neurologist answered every single one of them. “Even the silly ones,” says Truax. “She understood this was the rest of my life.”
The next few months were hard. Truax felt hopeless.
But when in November 2017 St. Michael’s announced the BARLO MS Centre, Truax said she felt her first spark of hope: “My spirits were lifted. I thought, ‘Someone cares.’”
More than a year has passed now and Truax is coming to terms with the disease. She has learned to nap when her body tells her to slow down. She has a “just in case I can’t” list, which includes learning to ski and play tennis. She really wants to drive a racecar.
And when the BARLO MS Centre opens in 2020, we will continue to do everything we can to make her wish list come true.