Saturday, October 20, 2007

Full Circle

More than 20 years ago I was having issues with my arms. They would fall so sound asleep at night that to touch them felt like touching someone else. I was more than a little annoyed by it and eventually a girlfriend convinced me to see her doctor. THAT was a mistake! I spent 10 minutes telling him about my tingling and numbness during the day and the problems I had with my arms at night.

He looked me straight in the eye and without having even asked me to say "Ah" he delivered the staggering diagnosis. "You have MS and eventually you will end up in a wheelchair. There is nothing that can be done."

I left his office in tears and went straight to see my mother who worked in the Medical Records department of the hospital. She got me an appointment with a well respected neurologist who quelled my fears by doing a thorough neurological exam and concluding that my problem was carpal tunnel syndrome.

I went back to work and told my boss that I could no longer type constantly and I was assigned different duties. I never gave MS another thought and my arm issues resolved.

Now, fast forward 20 years. I have been having issues with my left hand for the past week. My thumb, index finger and middle finger are all tingly and numb. It's not a constant thing, however, like most symptoms are when I'm having an MS flare. For instance, when I go to bed and get a good night's sleep, I awake with no numbness or tingling. After spending time at the computer, however, the symptoms return.

Yesterday was my 2 month checkup in the Fingolimod trial and I had an appointment to see the neurologist. We sat down and discussed how things were going and I mentioned the numbness and tingling and that it comes and goes. He did a lot of strange things to my hands and wacked me with his little hammer in quite a few places and said "I'm going to order a nerve conductivity test to verify what I suspect." And I asked "what's that?"...

"Carpal Tunnel Syndrome," he said, to a patient that couldn't have been happier to get such a diagnosis. It means I'm not having a relapse of my MS right now and that's a wonderful thing. It's funny how, after 9 years of dealing with symptoms that mean my MS is getting worse, finding out I have something like Carpal Tunnel is a cause for celebration. It makes me feel like a normal person.

So I've come full circle. First I'm told I have Multiple Sclerosis only to find out it's Carpal Tunnel. Then, years later, I go to my neuro fretting that I'm having an MS flare, only to find out once again...it's Carpal Tunnel.

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