Hi everyone. I’ve been a lurker over here for a few weeks now. But wanted to say hi, as I have my first neurologist appointment this Wednesday. I have had a horrible year so far What started with a headache that wouldn’t go away in March has now progressed through what felt like vertigo, and is now the most hideous oscillopsia (bouncing vision). Its something that is troubling me almost all of the time. I have had to stop driving and am currently off work (I’m a computer user) at my doctors recommendation. I have also have like a brain fog. I forget things, loose my words in my sentences, and look generally quite vacant at times. Since the summer holidays I have also had burning and pins and needles in my hands and feet, episodes of a completely numb finger without reason, and only the other day what felt like a lightening bolt down my arm. When I walk I feel like I am walking through treacle (not helped by my bouncing vision at all) and like I’m walking like a 90 year old. I feel like I’m on such a scary downward spiral just now. Ages ago I stumbled across the fact that my symptoms point towards MS, although I know they can also point to other things. Does anyone have any thoughts as to what to expect in my appointment? How long do the tests all take? Sorry for the ramble x
Your neurology appointment should take the form initially of a conversation with the neurologist about what’s brought you there, ie your symptoms. The neuro will also ask about your general health, what illnesses etc you’ve had through life and could include diagnoses of close family members.
You’d then expect a physical examination, this would test reflexes, sensory reactions, things like pin pricks and whether you can tell which way s/he’s bending your toes. It also includes balance, eye movements, touching his/her hand then your nose and a whole variety of other neurological tests. (Really quite odd and mystifying tests!)
Once the neurologist has an idea of whether you have some neurological deficits, s/he will know what further tests to refer you for (assuming they are warranted). They could include MRI, nerve conduction studies, a tilt test, Evoked Potentials, lumbar puncture, neurological psychology, plus blood tests.
As you’ve already become aware of, although many of your symptoms could suggest MS as a possibility, the neurologist will be looking at you as a blank canvass. They’ll first establish is there is a neurological problem, then consider what that problem would be.
Many of the symptoms of MS also occur in other diagnoses.
In terms of how long all the testing takes, it’s a ‘piece of string’ question I’m afraid. It will depend on your local hospital, precisely what tests the neurologist wants and the urgency with which s/he wants them done.
It is a nerve wracking and scary time, just having the symptoms you do is worrying enough, without fearing diagnoses that could be far reaching and alter your life.
But, do keep coming on here and letting us know how your appointment goes, what tests you are going to have and how you’re feeling.
It’s always difficult to follow Sue, when she answers someone, as she is so thorough.
As she says, it’s difficult to say how long the tests will take but you always have the option to take the private route as it’s a lot quicker. Once you have got a diagnosis, or at any other time, you can then be referred back to the NHS, often with the same neurologist.
Whatever you decide, you can always come into the Forum if you want to ask about anything else that you think of.
Oh you old flatterer you.
Much as I hate to gainsay someone who’s just said nice things about me, The problem with taking the private route is the cost of the tests. An MRI is at least several hundred pounds, an LP probably just as much, even blood tests cost a lot.
Better to see how long the NHS route is going to take. Having the neurologist appointment this week is a good start.