Nothing about the MonSter is easy, simple, or straightforward, Emma. No two people are the same, but a lot are similar.
I started with a tingling feeling and some numbness in my ankles, which spread up my legs (mostly my left) right up to the armpits. It eased off over a few weeks (see below).
After the onset, I was diagnosed with Transverse Inflammatory Myelitis (Sept 2007). This was changed to MS in April 2008. In between were two MRI scans, an LP, and loads of injections, and tablets. The symptoms had almost entirely vanished within weeks of onset (and I went off to a conference in Prague able to walk well, but a touch slower than in the past). In '08 I went to another conference in the USA, still able to walk slowly - and my colleagues slowed down to my speed.
I had a relapse, called the neuro who had been looking after me and found that he had left the previous week, The MS Nurse sorted out IV steroids for me and a quick session with the new Neuro - who turned the diagnosis back to Transverse Myelitis. Later he turned it back to MS (saying that he did not like to give the bad news all in one go).
Fast forward to '09, and yet another relapse. I was having IV steroids, and a colleague was presenting my conference paper in Washington. Time to retire, I thought, and finished a few months later (and I was already part time). By now, I can still walk OK, but I needed a stick for stability.
The next relapse was in Oct 2010. Oral steroids this time - and while I did recover, it was only to the point where I really do need a stick to walk any distance at all.
Now that is one person’s experience. In my local GP surgery, one of the nurses has MS. In her words “On good days I drive my own manual shift car. On bad days I take my husband’s automatic. If it is really really bad I stay at home”. That is another person’s view.
Steroids tend to make the recovery faster, but have side effects and you really do not want them too often. The rough guide is al least six months apart. How effective they are may well depend in just where your particular problem is. TIM (before the diagnosis is changed) is usually in the spinal column, and there may be no brain lesions at all.
The big thing about a diagnosis of MS is that if you drive, you absolutely MUST tell the DVLA and your insurance company quickly. The only practical effect is that you may get a 3-year driving licence, but you would have to be really, really, bad before any Neuro will say that you are not OK to drive.
Just do not let MS beat you …