Saturday, April 30, 2011

More background....

By the time I saw my new neuro for the first time I had weakness in my legs, especially my right leg.  I also continued to have balance difficulties so between the two, my gait was slow.  I also continued to have blurred vision and slight vertigo, pain and tingling in the base of my neck, and numbness in my hands and right arm.  I was scared.  My doc took a lot of time with me, listening, answering questions, and performing various neurological assessments.  I truly felt like I was in good hands.

Doc ordered and MRI and more blood work.  Since my vitamin D level (from my primary visit) was 30, he ordered me a script of vit D.  He explained the benefits of solu-medrol (IV steroids) to this significant attack and suggested I begin a 3-day treatment.  I'll discuss my experience with solu-medrol another day....

So now here I am.  The solu-medrol did help, but not totally relieve, my current attack.  The left-over symptoms seem to be continuing to clear up.  My right hand still has a little bit of numbness, which seems to come and go throughout the day.  I had been getting "hot spots" on my legs and back, which are mostly gone.  A couple days ago I got a new symptom- numbness in the feet.  This is brand new for me and I'm really hoping it begins to clear up soon.  Only time will tell....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

General Backround~

This current "attack" began about the third week in January.  About one week prior I was sick.  No, I mean SICK.  I don't think I have ever been so sick in my life.  I don't know if it was a stomach bug or bad pepperoni on the pizza that I ate, but something really got me.  I was literally on the couch for 2 days.  This current attack began about a week later.

It all began with numbness in my right hand and down my forearm.  My right cheek and lips was also numb.  What's really odd is that the skin on my lips and on my right hand was also very dry, with my lips peeling.  I also had coordination and strength difficulties in my right hand/arm.  This lasted for several weeks and I began feeling tingling and pain at the base of my neck.  If I got too tired my neck really ached, and it only felt better if I sat back and rested it.  Soon after this my right leg got weak until I felt weakness in both legs, making it a chore to walk.  My balance was also off at this time and I nearly fell down the stairs carrying the laundry basket to the basement.  Finally, the ocular neuritis occurred along with vertigo.

It seemed like each day for the end of January to the end of February I woke up worse.  I was really frightened that soon I wouldn't be able to get up at all.

Now, here's the tricky part.  Remember that my MS has been quiet for 18 years.  My last trip to the neurologist for some sensory issues (maybe 15 years ago?) ended with him telling me I was "too good" for any treatment and to call if more symptoms occurred.  Well, things came and went, but nothing that lasted and nothing major.  Tingling here, a bit of blurry vision there.  All manageable.  So, here I am now, in the midst of a major attack, and the neoro office I used to go to no longer exists.  "What?  What about my records? What about my MRI"?  Gone... all of it.  Well what am I supposed to do, now?

I need to find a new neuro.  Where do I begin?  On the internet, of course.  I began Googling the term 'neurologists' and different cities/towns around me.  Some looked like they were 15...they were out.  Some looked 85...also out.  Then I found him.  An MS specialist voted one of the top doctors in the area.  Upon more investigation I found he's very involved in MS research and the best ways to treat MS.  I've found my man.

So I call the office to make an appointment.  I was told that I need a referral from my primary reviewing the MS and that the doctor would then review my info and decide if he would accept me as a patient.  Seriously? I work so hard to find the perfect doctor and he may reject me?  It figures.

So my next call was to my primary doctor.  I asked for them to fill out a referral form so I could get an appt with the neuro.  The nurse who called me back the next day said, "MS"?, there's nothing in your file that says you have MS.  WHAT?  She gave me a hard time because the handful of times I went to see her, mostly for sinus infections, I never talked about the MS.  Well, it wasn't bothering me. When I saw my old doctor in the practice (before she moved to Canada) I talked with her about it.  It was several years ago, but don't you people keep this info?  Apparently not, because my MS was news to her.  Unbelievable.

The nurse made an appointment for me (luckily only 2 days later) for a full physical including blood work.  My primary took my info and the referral was sent.  Now my fingers were crossed that I would be accepted by this MS specialist.  My symptoms continued to worsen each day and to say the least I was terrified.

A couple of days later I got the call.  I was in and they wanted to schedule an appointment.  There was an opening only days away.  Thank God....