Initial testing process time length?

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shane12
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/13/2009 11:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all. Dive right in...
I started displaying weird symptoms last November (woke up one morning with numbness down my entire left side, I am fairly young and healthy and stroke has been discounted). With out getting into symptoms, after some research I am concerned that it could be MS. I've got an appointment next week with a neurologist (they sent me to a neurosurgeon first who went, "I dunno." and re-referred me, anyway).

I'm trying to get an idea of what I can expect both in testing and time scale (I've had and been trying to ignore this thing for almost a year now, and now I'm anxious to find out one way or another). I'm guessing the neurologist will take my history (have a lot of it written down at this point) and all the "push here", "don't let me pull" stuff (which I always seem to do OK on). Then I'm guessing schedule an MRI? Then what? What are the odds of getting a yes/no in... a few weeks? A month? Two months? <sigh> longer?

If it matters I'm in the U.S.A. and have decent insurance.

P.S. Thanks for all the posts. Just found this forum tonight and reading other people's stories helps.

Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3539
   Posted 8/14/2009 8:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Shane,
 
I am sorry you find yourself here.  We have other members who are in limbo.  You are very welcome here.  You have asked THE question.  Unfortunately there is no answer.  It is diferent for everyone.  For some it is a few weeks and for others it is long years.
 
 
This site talks at length about the diagnostic process for most with MS.  The short of it is; MS is a disease of exclusion.  You must have everything else ruled out first.  It starts with a neuro exam and then if you have irregular reflexes, responses and symptoms you may get an MRI.  If that shows lesions then you may get a lumbar puncture, evoked potentials and more MRIs.  If your brain shows lesions, most docs will then order a cervical and thorasic spine MRI.  It is rare (but it does happen) that you will have lesion only on your spine.  They are much more common on your brain. 
 
MS for everyone is different making it hard to diagnose and treat. I truly hope you do not have MS and that you find relief soon.  Good luck and keep us posted. 
Gretchen  ~  diagnosed with MS July 2006
 
I have no lesions on my soul and so I will live with no limits.


shane12
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/17/2009 8:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the link, etc.

Ugh, I'm not sure what's going to happen next. I actually had an MRI about 5 years ago for an (I'm guessing) unrelated tinnitus issue. Never found anything tinnitus-wise, but the scan noted "Some unusual frontal lobe activity". To this day I have no idea what that means, and the doctor didn't really give me a good explanation (The frontal lobe is supposed to be where telepathy manifests from, so I was hopeful, but no luck wink ) Anyway... I'm going back to the same doc, so I'm wondering if he can do a comparison MRI ("Gosh, that wasn't there before.") or something.

Symptoms-wise things started about a year ago now. I just woke up one morning with numbness (maybe "tingling" would be better description, not sure) on my left side (foot, leg, arm, face). I also started having bad pain in my knees (at first I thought I was just "getting old", but looking at it objectively I'm thirty-three, only slightly over-weight and fairly active, so that's kinda dumb in retrospect).

So after a round of GP I wound up going to a Chiropractor, which really seemed to be helping until recently when things have gotten much worse. The numbness is now around my left face, chin and into the right (this is in the last couple days). I'm starting to have ache-y type pains in my forearms (mostly left) and weakness in my left leg (I now walk with a slight limp). One other odd thing I've noticed is that the last couple times the numbness subsided, when it came back it preceded (by a day or two) by pain in my left foot (around the arch). I have no idea if this means anything, but there it is.

One thing that throws me off is this (advice, experiences please): While I have these symptoms I can still "do stuff". I helped a friend put up a fence this weekend. I so sports during lunch twice a week at work. I go out and do things on weekends (not clubbing or anything, but still...) But at the same time climbing the stairs (and going back down them) of my friend's third-floor apartment is an ordeal because of my knees/leg-weakness. Sitting for long times can be hard too, and driving is difficult because my left knee/leg aches after awhile (can't exactly go out and buy a better fitting card).

Guess I'm just kinda throwing stuff out there randomly, but that seems like kind of the way MS works, so that really makes me worry. I'd love someone to say "Dude, you're just cherry-picking symptoms." that would be relief, but at the same time this "thing", whatever it is, isn't getting better (the opposite, in fact) and I'm definitely getting frustrated with it and want to find some answers. The real frustration is that last summer is when I really started getting more active (the sports, etc.) and started to seriously lose weight, and then this thing hit out of nowhere and I can't "get over it". Anyone experience a similar situation?

Sorry to be so long-winded, thanks for the help as always.

Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3539
   Posted 8/18/2009 9:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Shane your worries are not unwarranted.  You have many many symptoms that are very MS - ish.  You are NOT cherry picking.  The tinnitus may actually also be related.  I would definitetly get another MRI.  You don't have to go to the same doc.  It is more important to go to the same MRI lab.  They can compare your MRIs.  That is how my MRIs work.  They automatically look for things that weren't there before.
 
I would keep after this aggressively.  You are too young to be feeling this way.  Good luck and let us know how you are.
Gretchen  ~  diagnosed with MS July 2006
 
I have no lesions on my soul and so I will live with no limits.


Motown John
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 475
   Posted 8/19/2009 8:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Wednesday a.m.
 
Dear Shane:
 
May I suggest you call your state MS Society for a refferral to a MS specialist neuro in your area?
 
The responses you recieved from last doc....well...
 
 
Great luck.....John
DX'ed June 21st, 1987
 


shane12
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 8/19/2009 4:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Well good news/bad news.

Had my visit with the neurologist today. I was actually seen by another doctor at the practice (since it had been so long since I'd seen the first one, I wasn't considered "his patient" anymore I guess). And the new doc seems pretty nice/good. Did the usual work-up and noticed some weakness on my left side. Ordered an MRI which I'm getting in less than a week, which seems like a REALLY good turn around. He did say that he's "looking for" MS (ruled out other stuff: stroke, cancer, etc.) which is a +/- thing. Closer to a diagnosis, but not exactly the one I'd like... He gave me the whole "could just be stress", "manifests in weird ways" speech, but that seems pretty standard early in the process (God knows I want it to "just be stress"), and he wasn't... "condescending" about it or anything. He just was trying to list all the possibilities this early on (if you know what I'm trying to say).

One thing that freaked me out was that, while they didn't have my old MRI (it had been longer than I thought since I was there evidently), they had the notes. And what I'd been told was "unusual frontal lobe activity" back in the day was noted as "lesions on the brain" in the records. Hearing a doc say you have/had lesions on your brain is a pretty gut-wrenching thing, esp. when it was awhile ago and you never realized...

Threw a little hissy-fit at work and kicked a chair. Luckily it was in my office and no one was around. Now I just feel tired and... itchy and twitchy and stressed. But I need to get some cleaning done for company this weekend, so I'm trying to focus on getting stuff done (and wrapping this up).

Thanks for all the help again, everyone.
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