Forum

Could this be MS?

Hello…I’m a fit and healthy 47 year old woman, recently divorced after a horrible marriage and now in a stable, loving relationship for the first time in my life. I am passionate about cycling and was doing on average 600km a month. I was taken unwell whilst out cycling, climbing a steep hill in May this year. I had been having some breathing difficulties for a few weeks and my GP had tried various things such as steroids, inhalers and antihistamines but nothing helped. So I went to A&E and was diagnosed with multiple pulmonary emboli in both lungs. I then had further tests and it was discovered that I had a paralysed vocal cord on the right side. This coupled with the fact that I had no DVT, led them to believe that I must have a tumour somewhere that was pressing on the nerve and causing the vocal cord paralysis. So I was hospitalised and had every test they could think of doing on every part of my body (except my head, which they decided to ignore despite the fact that I had several severe migraines during the week I was in there) and they found nothing. So I came home and got back to normal, started cycling again and felt ok for a couple of months. Then out of the blue about 6 weeks ago I was hit by a terrible fatigue. I stopped cycling but was struggling to get out of bed. I hurt all over as though I had done a tough workout but I hadn’t done anything. I had been waking in the night for a few months with a totally dead leg and I had to hit it to bring it back round and it started happening every night sometimes more than once. I noticed other things too like a crawling sensation all over my body that went up and down a few times and it was always as I was falling asleep almost like a shiver but I wasn’t cold. I also noticed I couldn’t slice the bread or open the jam sometimes in the mornings and I have been getting a lot more headaches and constantly have a stiff neck. I kept feeling as though something was crawling on my leg but when I looked there was nothing there. I had had a problem with my left hand the year before and it became claw like and had no strength and I couldn’t feel the two smallest fingers or use the hand to hold anything. It lasted a few weeks but cleared up when I had a high dose of steroids for a few days. Since I have had the fatigue, twice I have had eye pain in different eyes that has resulted in the eyeball being bloodshot and a bruise appearing on the skin around the eye. I have been losing my balance quite a bit and feeling a bit dizzy every time I stand up for quite a while. I have thick phlegm in the back of my throat which will not clear and I sometimes choke when I am eating and drinking. My doctor now thinks that I may have MS although he said I’m a bit too old (?) and I have a brain MRI booked for 13/12. I had a CT scan yesterday which was all clear, so no tumours, which was part of my follow up after the PEs and VC paralysis, which was rechecked in September and it was still 100% paralysed. This morning I fell over trying to lift my leg over the dog barrier which has been there forever but it’s the third time I have fallen over it in the last couple of months. So that’s my story, all rather mystifying but I’d love to hear your thoughts, particularly if anyone has had similar experiences.

You’re not too old, I’m afraid, although it is fair to say that most people are diagnosed younger. That is wonderful news that the CT scan is clear, and I am sorry that you have been having such an alarming and unpleasant time recently. Let’s hope that the symptoms that your GP is worried about turn out not to be a neurological disease at work. At any rate, even if it does turn out to be MS, that isn’t generally life-threatening, and you’ve already dealt with worse. Fingers crossed that you don’t get to join our club!

Alison