Monday, June 27, 2005

Visit with Dr. Dorar / Diagnosis talk

Current Meds:
1. Prednisone (12 tablets {60mg} in morning for 2 weeks then 4 tablets {20mg})
2. Citalopram 10mg once daily
3. Lorazepam 1mg at bedtime

Current Symptoms
Physical: fatigue - mild in mornings and late evening
Sensory: Optic neuritis in left eye/ blurry vision in right
Psychological (memory/mood): none
Medication side effect?: anxiety, rapid pulse, aggitated, blurry vision

I've never had a family doctor call me to make an appointment at MY convenience before. I thought, must be something interesting. It turns out he was just wanted to let me know that he knows everything and is updated to my situation. He said to call him anytime about any concerns and let me know when he'd be on vacation.

I raised a few concerns with him there, for example steroid use and heart disease (which runs in my family). I was also worried about how much excercise is too much while I'm on the Prednisone. He suggested that because my weight is ideal that walking and keeping tabs on my diet was all that was really necessary and advised against any strenuous activity. That upsets me, I love running and pooring sweat, I love Judo and pounding the mat... blood, sweat and tears. He said that after we curb this acute attack things can return to normal perhaps. So now I'm doing my "favorite" activity: waiting. But it is good to know that Dorar is there for me, he made a nice gesture today.

My last post may be misleading in that my diagnosis seemed quick and easy. I assure you it was not. I'd like to provide a little information on how it is diagnosed.

There is no test for MS. Diagnosing MS has been compared to fitting together a jigsaw puzzle. To diagnos a person with MS a physician has to be sure that two different areas of the white matter in the central nervous system have sustained damage that is not explained by other illnesses. Furthermore, the attacks must have occured at different times in the progression of the illness. A diagnosis is based on several things: a detalied medical history, including past and present symptoms; a neurological examination, a painless procedure where your neuologist checks your coordination, eye movements, reflexes and balance, etc.; an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan; Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) sample obtained from a lumbar puncture (spinal tap); and evoked potentials using small electric shocks and electrodes measure your reaction times to images and sensations.

All that in consideration, I've been experiencing symptoms for about 5 years now; only with my new diagnosis have my symptoms made any sense to me.

The first thing I can think of that happened to me, MS related, was just before I entered university. I was upstairs talking on the phone and my leg felt like it was going asleep. I tried to get up and stretch it out but it got worse. Then the feeling spread to my arm and then my face. I began to feel very wierd and I started to panic. The tingling turned to numbness and I struggled to get down the stairs. I tried to speak but the left side of my face so useless to me and I was slurring all my words. I somehow made it down the stairs, hung up the phone and collapsed on the kicthen floor yelling to my brother to call 911. When he realized I was serious he did just that.

The parametics had showen up after I've had two such attacks... I was feeling much better and was tempted to blame it on stress and let them go. One of them was quite concerned for me and told me I should go to the hospital. I resisted... until I had another attack in front of him and he carted me up to the ambulance and I was off for my 3 night stay at the grand "she-la" of hospitals. Days later and many, many tests later, 'nothing' was the word of the day. To add insult to injury, some of the staff at the hospital thought I was faking it and treated me like I was wasting tax dollars. My pain was real, my numbness was real. I thought I was having seizures. I really didn't know what to make of any of it. I cried myself to sleep everynight in the hospital, unable to leave the bed on my own to go to the bathroom.

Almost as suddenly as the symptoms appeared they seemed to vanish. I had some residual effects from the numbness as it seemed my nerves in my left side were what I would call "dull." I was unable to play my guitar for 3 months though I persisted and fought through the numbness. For a year or two, when ever stress mounted, I would feel some slight tingling in my left side of my face, my left hand and left leg. But self-talk and positive thinking seemed to control that. I was well on my way to believing that what I was experiancing was simple anxeity and stress related happenings. Oh, glorious hindsight!

Ever since my diagnosis I have been looking back at every tingle, shock, weakness, pain, unusual feeling in a different light--the light of reason. It is truely great when all the wheels spin and the gears don't click anymore when I shift my thinking. No more second guessing myself, no more beating myself up over "nothing," no more worries: I can act without impunity or doubt. Moving forward!


At 1:00 PM, Blogger Celeste said...

You are surrounded by good spirits who will help you be strong and well. It is so wonderful to see you use your talent to reach out to those around you rather than hide away in fear and solitdue. Your determination is the strength that will enable you to pass the barrier of negative thoughts in order to create positive ones and to be successful in healing yourself. Your inner stength's partner is patience. Patience teaches you not to push too hard but rather to wait and appreciate the game of life instead, knowing that nothing remains the same, and everything will change at some point. You are a beautiful soul. Much love and peace...Celeste

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Iain Dughlais said...

Thank you so much. Beauty attracts beauty, the evidence is clear. Patience is a virtue I'm learning slowly, but I am learning it. Thank you.


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