After big bump in life’s road, Osborne back on track
By Kathy W. Hathcock
Jenni Osborne was on track to achieving the goals she had set for herself.
She graduated from Logan County High School in 2001. She took a year off before beginning her studies at Western Kentucky University with a major in journalism.
Her initial goals had been to pursue a fashion related journalism career or possibly working in the country music industry.
It was while she was doing an internship in 2005 in New York City that Osborne began to realize she didn’t quite have the energy level she was accustomed to.
She kept thinking to herself about how she had considered herself to be in good physical shape and couldn’t understand the fatigue she was beginning to feel. She was finding it difficult to stand on her feet for long periods of time. Osborne recalls asking, "Have I really become this lazy?"
During 2006 she described her physical condition as one in which she felt "run ragged."
Her hands kept falling asleep with a continual tingling sensation. She said her legs felt numb. She also noticed a different texture to her hair as well as finding more and more of her hair in the shower or on her brush.
Osborne decided to visit her regular doctor to describe her symptoms. Her initial thought was that maybe she was suffering from an exercise injury, since extensive working out was a big part of her life.
Her doctor told her she needs to see a neurologist. Osborne responded she didn’t have time, it was her senior year at Western and she was on the fast track to finishing her degree.
Osborne had one more class to complete before she could hold that degree in her hand.
The class was Basic Photography. It was in the early part of this course she recalls sitting in class one day and feeling very sick. Her entire body was going numb; she kept telling herself she needed to get up and leave.
Osborne made it through the door of the classroom. Then, the next thing she remembers is is lying on the floor, unable to move, feeling tremendous pain all over her body.
An ambulance was called. Osborne was transported to the hospital where an MRI was run. The test didn’t provide the doctor any explanation for what had happened to her.
The instructor of the class told Osborne she could wait until the fall to take the class if she wanted to do so. Osborne told him no, that she would finish. "Something inside me told me I needed to go ahead and finish this class," Osborne says.
She struggled to complete the class with her mother driving her to shoot the assignments. Then she would be in the photo lab for hours at a time working on getting the pictures ready for the assignments.
It was a wise decision by Osborne to finish that class when she did, since her health kept deteriorating after that for the next two years.
The pain in her legs worsened as well as the numbing sensation. "The cramps in my legs were similar to suffering a charlie horse that would not stop," Osborne said.
There were more MRIs, exhausting amounts of other tests as well as being stuck with endless needles to try to put a name to what had happened to the vibrant 23-year-old.
In January 2007 the doctors did a spinal tap on Osborne. Later it was discovered that the hole where the spinal tap was done had opened up and all the fluids in her body drained out.
"I got up to go to the bathroom and it was like someone had stuck a knife through my head; the pain was that blinding," Osborne recalls. When she lost all of the fluids, she lost the cushioning around her brain. The pain she felt was caused by her brain literally slamming into her skull.
She was immediately given IVs to restore the fluids in her body as well as providing pain medication.
Finally, the doctors gave her a name for what was happening to her, transverse myelitis. Doctors explained it to be a form of MS (multiple scelorisis.)
Transverse myelitis is caused by a virus settling into the spinal cord. Osborne believes she contracted the virus through a cut in her mouth that became infected, resulting in her being hospitalized.
Through different trials with medication, Osborne is now on one that has helped get her illness under control. Even though she is not back to being 100 percent of the person she was, she says life is a lot better.
"I was so out of it for more than two years. Now at least I can now be a person," she says.
Traveling has long been a dream of Osborne’s, and she’s not letting go of those dreams. She traveled to Hawaii in 2007 with the help of a good friend, Madessa Rouse.
This past year she achieved another one of her dreams by traveling to France.
Osborne realizes how quickly something in life can land you on your back. While she is so much healthier, she plans to grab on to every bit of life to the top of her capability.
Mornings are the hardest part of the day. She feels a coldness and soreness in her legs that she must deal with on a daily basis.
Osborne said when she graduated from high school she knew what she wanted to do after graduating from college.
Life changes. Now, she is not sure of what goals to set for herself. She knows she wants to do more photography as well as writing a book one day.
"I have yet to figure out what I can do, if anything, that will contribute something to this world that matters," Osborne says. "Since I got interrupted, I honestly don’t know where I’m supposed to go yet."
All who have been around Jenni Osborne have reason to believe that with her determination, intelligence and perseverance, we will all learn what her role will be in life and that it will affect those around her for the good.