So was I a shining beacon of health before my MS diagnosis? Did I just wake up one day and Bam! Hello MS?
The short answer is no.
The long answer? Here we go…
So yes, I did have symptoms that could have been MS related before my diagnosis. Quite a few actually.
October, 2010– Dizziness
November, 2010– Fatigue
May, 2013– Numbness of upper limb
March, 2014– Irritable Bladder
January, 2015– Urinary Symptoms
May, 2015– Urinary Symptoms
October, 2015– Vertigo
November, 2015– Light headedness
December, 2015– Light headedness
April, 2016– Relapsing and Remitting Multiple Sclerosis
So it looks like I’ve been having on/off MS symptoms since 2010?!
A whole 6 years before my diagnosis!
Now I can’t remember all the way back to 2010, but I was only 17, still in college. A spritely, happy go lucky student. I do know that it takes a lot for me to go to the doctor, so I can guess whatever dizziness and fatigue I was having must have been pretty bad!
This didn’t really stick around for long, maybe a few months at the most.
I then had a good three years, no major medical issues to report.
A busy three years for me. In that time I had finished college, started my first job and developed a somewhat active social life.
And then I woke up one morning with a sort of pins and needles in my left arm. I thought I must have slept on it funny, and assumed it would just get better in a few hours.
But it didn’t get better, it got worse.
By day 5, I was completely unable to use my left arm. This caused a world of problems for me. I was a bassist in a local band at the time, so I would consider my left arm a fairly important part of my body. I had to cancel a number of shows and practices; my left arm was just dead weight. After numerous visits to the doctor, it was suggested I might have carpal tunnel syndrome.
Electro therapy tests proved this to be false, but they did show a slowing of nerve signals from my brain to my arm (suspicious!).
After about a month it just disappeared. I forgot about it and moved on with my life.
A year later, the bladder problems started.
I remember these well. This was a symptom that I’m really glad went away.
It felt like I had a full bladder all the time.
I could have literally relieved myself minutes before, and I still felt like I needed to rush off to the bathroom. It was one of the most uncomfortable feelings I’ve ever experienced. I tried everything to try and rid myself of this, visited the doctors numerous times, tried all sorts of medications, and drank gallons of cranberry juice.
About a week later, it just went away by itself. I just forgot about it and moved on with my life.
But it came back.
About a year later, I was revisited by bladder discomfort. The symptoms were exactly the same. More hours wasted on Google trying to find an answer, but still nothing. And then it went away again. No problems!
Third times the charm!
About 3 months later, exactly the same. This time I’d had enough. I needed to know what was wrong with me! Water tests, blood tests, loads of doctor/hospital visits. Everything came back negative. I was basically told that there was nothing physically wrong with me (oh, how wrong they were). I gave up on my chase to find a cure, and just learnt to live with it.
But as always, it did go away. It lasted longer this time, about 6 months, but it did go .I remember being so relieved (literally). I thought I was going to be stuck with it forever.
The final nail in the coffin was the ‘odd’ feeling I started to experience at the end of 2015. I use the word ‘odd’ because there really is no other way to describe it. A sort of total light-headedness. It felt like I was floating about, not really 100% aware of what was going on around me. I felt a little unsafe in my own body. I’d walk into things (or people), my vision would randomly get dark, and my hand eye co-ordination dropped to pretty much nothing.
I wasn’t sure that I felt ill… I just felt ‘weird’
This was the final piece of the MS jigsaw. This is when I was sent to have my first MRI, and things moved swiftly on from there right up to my diagnosis in 2016.
I still can’t be sure that all of these symptoms were because of MS, they all seemed so unrelated. There are hundreds of other things that they could have been…
I guess that this is why it takes so long to diagnose.