For many years now (at least 10) I have suffered from ill health and have often wondered why I have so many apparently unrelated symptoms. They include the following: burning feet and legs at night, painful left leg, numerous falls, burning pain round thumb (quite recent), mild electrical sort of buzz in fingers,crawling feeling and numbness in right thigh (quite recent), sharp pain in eyes, blurred vision, deterioration in sight to point where can only read enlarged font Kindle and have to increase size of font on computer to at least 150%, chronic back pain (for 15 to 20 years), fingers going into spasm, spasms in right arm and leg, coughing fits and swallowing difficulties (endoscopy last year was clear), bladder problems, numbness and tingling in both hands (nerve conductivity tests showed ‘very severe’ carpal tunnel syndrome but operations on both hands have failed to correct it), general itching and deep itch in two particular areas, chronic fatigue, severe pain in big toe (this may be gout), hot sweats (long past menopause), cold shivers, sleep issues.
Blimey! Even I hadn’t realised how long the list was until I came to write it down.
As I say many of these have gone on for years, varying in degrees of severity. I did go through a particularly rough patch about 5 years ago and then again last year. Then in September I had two or three episodes of my right leg giving way, almost as though it’s strings had been cut. My left leg held me up and prevented me from falling as I grasped onto something. This distinguished it from many previous occasions when I had fallen completely for no apparent reason.
On October 1st my leg gave way about three times in succession and I rang 111, they sent a paramedic, he called an ambulance and I was admitted to the Stroke Unit that night, where I remained for the next seven and a half weeks.
I was treated as a Stroke patient right from the start but there were anomalies. I had none of the warning signs from the F.A.S.T advertising. My face didn’t fall either then or later, I could raise both arms for the first few days and only gradually lost the use of my right arm, and my speech only started slurring after a few days (and only lasted about a week before recovering rapidly.) The thing is with a stroke (the clue is in the name!) you are usually struck down suddenly from the start. With me it happened gradually over a week to ten days. The first night I walked to the toilet but gradually lost all mobility in my right side. I seemed to lose a little more each day - mobility, speech, ability to swallow (naso-gastric tube for a fortnight), bladder control. And throughout I had a recurring sharp pain in my left eye.
As you will have guessed I am querying whether I’ve had a stroke at all or whether I’ve got MS. Or possibly both? The hospital where I was admitted, though not particularly small, has no Neurology department and of the three consultants on the Stroke Unit only one is listed as a Neurologist and his specialisms do not include MS. There is a big Neurology dept at my nearest city hospital about 30 miles away. All my hesitant attempts to discuss the possibility of MS have been dismissed out of hand and one doctor at least has said I definitely haven’t got it, although what I have read suggests it is difficult to be so certain.
So what do you think? Could I have MS or am I kidding myself? Would it be acceptable to ask my GP to refer me to the MS Neurologist? And would they be prepared to arrange ambulance transport for 30 miles away (I am now in a wheelchair).
I already feel better by getting this off my chest!