Friday, April 29, 2005

Pinched Nerve or Multiple Sclerosis

In the Summer of 2001, I was having a strange feeling when I bent my neck forward. I thought it was a pinched nerve. Because when I bent my neck forward, like to rub my neck or something, when I moved it more to the left I would feel this electric shock sensation. It went down my left side into my left arm where I would feel the tingling and numbness in my middle three fingers.
It also went down my left leg, into my foot. There I felt weird stuff going on, like I could feel my blood circulating in my heal... so strange.
Also, there were times when I would feel such a strange tightness in my neck that if I gave into it, I felt like my head would fall off. Such a funny way to describe it, but that's the best I can. I know, I sound like I'm a 4 year old complaining of a pain. "My head would fall off?"

Anyway, I went to the doctor and told him I thought I had a pinched nerve and told him everything that was going on and he said, "Well, it could be a pinched nerve or it could be MS." Then he told me a little about MS and said, "You're not going to get scared on me, are you? I didn't tell you for you to get all worried." I, very bravely said, "Oh no!" And snickered like I was totally fine. All the while I was feeling like, "Oh my GOD!! It's Annette Funicello! I'm not going to be okay!!!"

I really had no idea what MS was. But I went back to work, crying the whole way, and then I got on the Internet. No, I did not look at BLOGS, I went to the National MS Society web site. I recommend that for everyone!! Don't go to emotionally charged sites to find out if you have something wrong with you. Look at facts only to start!!! When you're ready, like I am now, you can go to the emotional side!

I read about the symptoms, these are the ones that made me start!!
  • Blurred vision in one or both eyes, usually not at the same time.
  • Numbness in hands and feet.
  • Unusual fatigue.
  • L'Hermites sign, the electrical shock sensation.

I was sitting at my desk going, "oh my GOD! I have had all of this." Two years before, in 1999, I had blurred vision in my right eye. I went all the way to a Retinal Specialist who couldn't explain what it was from or why, but he said, "It will go away." Not sure how he could be so sure, but he was right. It went away. As soon as he said it would. So I didn't think anything more about it.

I had the numbness and the tightness in my neck and went to a horrible doctor who said I was stressed and needed stress management. But she still sent me to a horrible neurologist who said I needed stress management. I then got pregnant and everything went away. So, of course, I didn't think anything more about it.

My daughter was born in August of 2001, I was so tired I felt like a horrible mother. Turns out, that was more than likely MS. So after looking back at all my past symptoms, I called my doctor and went back to see him. We talked and he sent me to an MRI - I won't go into that experience because I don't want to scare anyone, but by all means, try for the "Open" or larger tube ones... the original ones are just awful.

I was afraid to go because in 1995 I had jaw surgery and I have 7 screws in my jaw. I thought the MRI was going to rip my jaw off!! I'm laughing as I write this!! But man, did I do research on what's in my jaw... they're titaneum and those aren't pulled out by MRI's. Thank GOD!!

Anyway, after a successful read from an MRI, I went to a neurologist... this all took from September to November 15, the day my Neuro told me I had MS. I sat in the exam room and started crying. Then I called my husband on the phone and said, "Don't call my mother." He thought I said, "Call my mother!" I then spent the rest of the day "dealing" with this news and taking care of everyone else. It was very appropriate.

It was a really long weekend... I found out for sure on a Friday. My step-kids were over that weekend, my Mom came into town, I was not alone, but I sure needed to be. I ended up taking care of everyone else and at the same time having mini breakdowns in my head.

Such an extreme in what that diagnosis could have been, either pinched nerve or ms. Who would have compared the two? That's just crazy!! :-) All in all if my doctor was Alex Trebec I would have responded with, "I'll take pinched nerve for $1000, Alex!"

But alas, he said MS, my neuro said MS and now I say, "I have MS." And I'm doing pretty darn good!


Amy F said...

Hi. I have been reading a lot about MS lately and came across your blog. It is very interesting to me because I am experiencing very similar symptoms and things. I am scheduled for an MRI tomorrow morning and am quite nervous. My mother was diagnosed with MS about 5 years ago. She is doing extremely well, so that, I think, helps me now.

I admire your humor and should I be diagnosed after tomorrow, I do hope to take the same approach.

Mike B. said...

I did the same thing as Amy...I was doing a little research and came across your blog. I have had symptoms for about 18 months and I saw three neurologists, and still have no idea what is going on.

I finally went to see a very good doctor in New York (I live in Atlanta) and got a good workup, so he wants to do further tests because he sees SOMETHING is wrong.

Hopefully, when the smoke clears, I'll have a definite diagnosis. If it IS MS, then I'll also be taking your approach.

Dee said...

I have been dealing with symptoms for five years. I show signs of ms but the can't tell me for sure. I have had one mri 5yrs ago and now waiting for another. I live in Canada(Saskatchewan) so the wait is long. I can't stand living with the pain some days and not knowing what it is. Half my face feels like there is a million pins and needles on it(not all the time), my legs feel weak and painful. My arm feels heavy. Tingling in my neck that lasts for days. I can go on and ya sometimes you feel like a little kid complaining. I just want to know what is going on with my body then I can start dealing with it. I wish it went as fast as you finding out.

Anonymous said...

Get in tough with this lady...if you guys haven't come across this link already.

She got over MS and is real.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the typo and little around is a straight one.

a t x buddy at