Hi to all!
Early February 2013 during a trip in Asia I started to feel brief episodes of unsteadiness and loss of balance. After a couple weeks, this sensation of “feeling drunk” or “floating” was no longer temporary as I was feeling it constantly. I went to see an ENT specialist thinking it could be a problem with my middle ear but he found nothing.
After Asia I traveled to Europe in May (4 months later) where I started to feel pain in my arm and leg muscles. It was the kind of pain you’d feel after doing an intense physical workout like weight lifting. This pain would come and go; sometimes I’d feel it just in my left forearm, an hour later it would travel to both my legs then disappear, constantly changing. This lasted for three weeks and hasn’t been back since, thank god!
After researching my symptoms online, I found multiple sclerosis could be one of causes to my troubles. For this reason, I took an appointment in Paris with a neurologist and got an MRI of my brain (See MRI images attached). Unfortunately, the results were not as I had hoped and the images showed anomalies (lesions). The doctor didn’t have much to say without doing additional tests. On the report, he concluded by saying “These lesions are not very specific because of their number (4) and the absence of any lesion on the posterior fossa.”
I’m back in Canada now and I need to follow up by doing more tests: MRIs + lumbar puncture etc… I’m worried that the health care system in Canada won’t properly take care of me. Its 2-3 months to get an appointment with a neurologist! WHAT! It was 1 week in France! The waiting time for an MRI in public hospitals is 8 months minimum or you need to pay 700$. So I just signed up for a personal health insurance but I had to lie on the form about my symptoms otherwise they would have excluded any expenses related to my condition. I hope they don’t find out I had these symptoms before signing up! It’s when you really need help that it’s the hardest to get! That’s crazy!
The good news is that my symptoms currently are very minimal as I just feel minor unsteadiness. Some days I feel totally fine! I’ve learnt to live with my tinnitus which started 4 years ago and I could learn to live with my current condition if it doesn’t get worst but I might just be in remission waiting for a relapse. I just spent more than a year travelling the world, I’m getting married next year, we bought a house and are thinking of having children soon, I have so much to do and so many projects on my mind and I’m only 32. This is a seriously debilitating illness; 60% of people can no longer walk 20 years after onset.
The neurologist in France mentioned that he had seen these types of lesions just disappear. I’m an optimistic person and I want to think this is possible. I’m also realistic and my symptoms and initial MRI do point towards MS. What else could it be? Is there any other disease that could be responsible? I’m slowly preparing myself for a diagnostic of MS and I’m scared that it stops me from living a “normal” life.
I read a lot of information about multiple sclerosis and lots of people are living well with this disease. You need to exercise, eat well, get plenty of rest; the recipe for healthy living. Some medicines exist to delay relapses but they are not without side effects and cost quite a bit of money. To help with remyelination which can improve some of the symptoms and if you have 20-30k $ lying around, you can go to a stem cell clinic in Central America or Germany (like Jack Osbourne). Also, I believe within the next 5-10 years, we’ll find an actual cure for MS or at least it’ll become easier and cheaper to get stem cell treatment in USA and Canada. 1 to 3 people for every 1000 people will have MS and 2/3 of these people are women so you are pretty special if you get this.
-Have you heard of brain lesions just disappearing? I hope I’m not being too optimistic.
-Are you familiar reading MRIs? Do you have an opinion on the MRIs I’ve attached?
-Have you been diagnosed with MS and you are living well with it? Do you have a secret trick to manage?
-Just in case, I’ve taken a complementary health insurance and a 20 year life insurance so if I get bad news and something happens to me, my loved ones and I can get some extra help. These will be a LOT harder to get after a diagnostic. Has anyone else done this after feeling symptoms? I have NOT yet seen any doctors in Canada about my symptoms.
Once my health insurance approves me I’ll go see a general practitioner to get a prescription for a neurologist who’ll prescribe additional tests and we’ll take it from there. I’ll update this post with my results.
Thanks to all for your support!
MRI IMAGE: http://i44.tinypic.com/2utiujp.jpg