What it’s like to get IVSM treatment

I do not cry wolf. In fact, I’m the type who will try to fight the wolf alone then only when it has half eaten my arm will I contemplate if perhaps I should have asked for help. That is how I am with this disease. Stubborn, relentless and unapologetic about it. It’s not the best strategy but it works for me.

2 weeks ago I had to finally admit defeat when I found myself in the ER and was prescribed 3 days of IVSM (intravenous solumedrol). Truthfully I’d been struggling for weeks before, noticing fatigue, weakness and then excruciating back pain. I first visited my family doctor, desperately hoping it was all in my head, but the moment he saw me he calmly said, “I think this time we can’t ride this out.” It was upsetting because I’ve been holding stable for several years now. In a lot of ways, I’ve been carrying on like the disease doesn’t exist in my life. I felt defeated, overwhelmed and angry. When I finally made my way to the ER it was dirtier and sicker than I remembered. I was uncomfortable with the fuss everyone made. My first dose was administered in the ER and then I was sent home, where a home care nurse would visit and administer the 2nd and 3rd doses. I managed that 1st dose alright. It instantly made me feel sick but it also started to relieve the back pain. And then this is where I really struggled.

I had to take a forced break from work. In my head I was trying to tough it out and carry on but my body just gave up. I barely remember the days that followed, living in my bed with my supportive husband raising our daughter alone and bringing me meals. I refused to tell friends and family my condition. Some found out and each time I felt like I let them down.

My daughter is almost 4 now. She’s intuitive and knew “Mommy is really sick”. She spilled the dirt to everyone she ran into, obviously really concerned. The home nurse had to put in the IV. I didn’t want her to worry so I let her watch and made it very matter of fact. I hate needles and hate IVs more but as a parent my first concern is how she feels. The moment tested my strength because I didn’t want her to see how tough this really was. Afterwards we wore matching mesh armbands, mine to cover the IV plug, hers as a fashion statement.




I’m not at 100% yet but I’m doing my best to pretend I am. Last week I returned to the hospital for a 2.5 hour MRI. This disease has so many ugly moments and for me this was one of those. I tell myself that unfortunately not every day can be a good day but instead I’m focusing on those things I’m so grateful for – my family, the medical care, and that it’s been a decent run between flares.


  1. crystal

    I can totally relate to this post. Most because I fight this disease in much the same way. I was forces to go to the ER recently by husband who was very concerned and adamant that I seek treatment for what I insisted was a pinched nerve in my back. Well it wasn’t and I was admitted for 5 days f IVSM. So fight on!

    Comment by crystal on May 8, 2016 at 3:39 pm

  2. Jenna

    Thanks for sharing your story, Crystal. I actually had quite a few folks angry at me after I wrote this post because I didn’t let them know it had happened. But truthfully, I find it devastating to admit I need the treatment or any help at all; Having more people around me than necessary makes it much more challenging to manage my feelings.

    I hope you’re in a good place with your recovery. Thanks for reading!


    Comment by Jenna on May 9, 2016 at 6:55 pm

  3. Amy Wendell

    I am getting ISVM the next 3 days. I have optic neuritis. I am extremely nervous of what happens after, for example side effects and did it help with ON? I have appointment with MS specialist next month for official diagnoses! Please say prayers for me! Thank you! Anything would help! TIA!

    Comment by Amy Wendell on May 19, 2016 at 2:47 am

Leave A Comment!