So, I was told that I had to see a neurologist and started calling them. Some had appointments as soon as a month away! Inside of me, I little voice was wailing, "But I am demyelinating!" One physician said that they would not take me unless I was referred by my primary care physician, so I had to make a quick appointment to see him. I went over to the hospital to get a CD with my MRI images. I uploaded them on my computer and could see scattered white dots in my brain. I read the radiologist report and it said that there were several focal lesions in the periventricular areas. I googled that phrase and found that this was where the lesions show up for MS.
Now, I love my physician. He draws little pictures to illustrate concepts for me and will spend as much time as he needs with me. Last time I saw him, back in March, before all this started, I told him that I was feeling exhausted and dizzy. He said I worked too hard (which I do) and that my blood pressure was probably too low (which it is). But it might also be that those were the early manifestations of what is going on with me now.
But, getting an appointment at the office was difficult, but the nurse took pity on me and made an appointment for me with one of other physicians in the practice, swayed by the wobble in my voice, most likely. So, another two weeks into it, I got an appointment with someone who I had never seen.
MRI in hand, I presented my laundry list of weird neurological symptoms, feeling like a chump. After a quick exam (I was so dizzy that when he told me to put out my tongue, I gagged)), he wrote an order for a stat neurological consult. He also told me that I might be having migraines and maybe it was just stress. He told me to take a baby aspirin a day. Why, I wasn't sure.
I just looked at him.
It is not migraines and I am not just under stress. I have been under more stress and never felt this. If it was migraines, would I have lesions in my brain? Wouldn't I have a headache?
By the next week at work, I could barely walk a straight line. I noticed that my vision in my right eye was blurring periodically. I looked up the symptoms of MS on the Internet and found that a common, but serious symptom was blurred vision, and that was one that you should get treatment for right away. I did not like the other symptoms, but the blurred vision freaked me out more than a little, I would say.
I started dropping things that I was holding in my left hand. I dropped my lovely (expensive) mineral powder and it exploded all over the bathroom. I looked at my husband, as if it was his fault and said, "I'm not cleaning that up." I dropped a full cup of coffee. I would think that I was holding something and it would just fall to the floor.
I started to feel like I was getting a new weird symptom per day.
I finally told the psychiatrist on my unit, because I needed a suggestion for a good neurologist. I hesitated to tell him, because we have been good friends for the last six years and I knew he would worry. Which he did. But he went to the consultant at the hospital and found someone that he thought was the best neurologist around. So I called and made an appointment with him.
Three weeks in the future.
My daughter kept looking at me woefully, looking like a Precious Moments figure. She would ask me if I was okay and I would say, "Yes, I'm fine!"
This, but sad. I finally told her to knock it off, because she was depressing me. I would let her know if I was dying and that she should clean up the cat barf if she really wanted to help me out.
Back to the whole physician thing. The next week, I finally spoke to the other psychiatrist on my team. It was a Wednesday morning and I was so off balance that I could not walk down the hall at work. I would have to stop once or twice on a trip and bend over, trying to keep from throwing up. I could not stand up straight. Speaking was really difficult. When I did speak, the wrong words came out. I lost my car keys that morning and my husband found them, right next to the computer.
I felt like crap, to be honest. I noticed that my left leg was going numb -- it felt heavy and I was stumbling. I had told my sister that I did not need a cane, and I was starting to think that I had been premature.
Of all of the things that were happening to me, the hardest thing for me to handle was that my thinking had slowed down. It was like trying to think through molasses. It was an effort. I may not be the smartest person around, but my mind is quick. It was no longer quick. It stuttered and staggered and swayed around. I had to grope for thoughts.
So, on that Wednesday morning, I felt like crap. I had groups to run and individual sessions to do, and I felt like crying. I was worried because I couldn't see clearly out of one eye. So, I went up to Dr. G (psychiatrist number two) and said, in a casual way, "So, do you have a neurologist who is a close, personal friend?" He said that yes, in fact he did. The upshot of that conversation was that his neurologist friend would see me that afternoon. It was more than an hour drive away, but I gladly took it. Armed with my lab tests and the CD of my MRI images, my leg numb, dizzy and inarticulate, off I went to see a real neurologist.