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My Quest for My MS

By Garvis Leak
April 17, 2021

If you have been reading my blogs over the last several months, I mentioned my diagnosis with MS was the result from severe back and neck pain after visiting with my neurosurgeon. Again, a direct punch to the gut.

After my diagnosis, I had to go back to the Dayton VA hospital to receive several MRIs with and without contrast to locate the lesions on my spine and brain. Since it was unclear to my VA neurologist what type of MS I had, I was given the medicine Tecfidera. Please note – Tecfidera is used to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. 

As we know, MS is an uncertain and complicated disease. After taking Tecfidera for about a year, I explained to my neurologist, this medicine was not working for me. I was feeling extremely exhausted, fatigued, muscles hurt, vision and mind was not sharp. You see, I have a mind like an elephant.

After several appointments with my VA neurologist, I requested a second opinion concerning my MS. I was referred to the Cleveland VA, in Cleveland, Ohio. I met with the Cleveland VA neurologist and explained my case. I informed them that I was taking Tecfidera, and I felt it was not helping me. After reviewing my MRIs and checking my VA files, he agreed to evaluate me again.

He informed me, I had primary progressive MS instead of relapsing-remitting MS. Man, I was happy and satisfied with the diagnosis confirmation. The main reason I was happy and satisfied was because my body was telling me: Hey, that medicine you are taking is not working and my mind said – seek a second opinion!

Furthermore, the Cleveland VA neurologist gave me more than medicine – he provided hope! 

So, as of this current blog, I have been receiving Ocrevus every six months, and I am doing better. Each morning I rise, I am grateful, thankful to start my day and press forward.

I was reading an article in Men’s Health Magazine about the late Congressman John Lewis. He talked about “Forging Strength.”

STRENGTH is the will, the desire, and the ability to continue, to press on. Strength comes in different forms. It’s more than physical. There is mental strength that enables us to say we can do it, we must do it, and we will do it. There is spiritual strength that leads us to say a little prayer. Sometimes you might ask for determination. That is spiritual strength.

Yes, you need forging strength to combat MS and voice your opinion. Especially if and when something is not politically correct concerning your MS.

And you know, I have to leave some vital tidbits:

  1. Once you have been diagnosed with MS, find out the best medicine for your MS.
  2. Talk with your neurologist about some of the side effects of the medicine.
  3. If you have been taking your MS medicine and you feel it isn’t working for you, talk to your neurologist. Voice your concerns!
  4. Always have a good and heartfelt conversation with your neurologist about medicine and overall health conditions.
  5. Stay active, eat right and enjoy life to the fullest.

Please remember: MS doesn’t stop me from living my life; because I am the Captain of this ship (my body).


Garvis Leak

Garvis is a lifecoach/financial wellness coach from Dayton, OH. He served 26 years in the Air Force, retiring as a Senior Master Sergeant. Garvis was diagnosis with MS in 2015 after going to a neurosurgeon because of back/leg pain. You can keep with Garvis through his website and Instagram account.

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