13 October 2009

MS Story -- Years 0 - 14

Since the first thing I do when I stumble across a new MS blog is go looking for their MS back story, it only seems fair that I reciprocate by putting up my own. Here it is.

In fall of 1988, I noticed that my vision in one eye was kind of not-right, like I was looking through a piece of unevenly smoked glass. Not bad, just curious. Since I hadn't had my eyes checked in forever I went to see an opthalmologist. Dr. Mordis. No shit. Med school must've been hell for this guy. Anyway, I got the usual routine, and something I've since learned is a visual field test. He says I've got optic neuritis, which means "something wrong with the optic nerve." They don't know what causes it, he says, but it usually goes away on its own. Good enough for me. It did, so I didn't give it another thought.

For seven years.

In 1995 we arrived in Seattle after driving from Lansing, Michigan. I walked the dogs, grabbed a book, and headed for the hotel hot tub, but after a few minutes I was having trouble seeing the print. Weird. It was just like that time I had optic neuritis. After I got out and cooled off it went away, so I didn't give it another thought. (Yeah, I know. I know now. I didn't know then.)

In fall of 1996, I went to an oral surgeon to have some wisdom teeth removed. The pre-op questionnaire asked about history of neurological weirdness, so I checked optic neuritis. The surgeon asked when it had last occurred. I told him I had it right then. Since it was barely noticeable and would go away on its own, I hadn't thought to do anything about it. He suggested I have it checked out. In the hope that a neurologist would provide me with an excuse not to yank my wisdom teeth, I made an appointment.

I also, finally, googled "optic neuritis." Imagine my amazement, confusion, and dismay to find it generally buried in a discussion of multiple sclerosis. WTF?

I remember going home and working on Tuffy's halloween costume. Aladdin was big that year, and she dressed up as Jasmine. It was grab-the-insulin cute.

What with appointments with a neurologist, an ophthalmologist, scheduling an MRI, and back to the neurologist again, it was spring of 1997 before I finally got a diagnosis. The neurologist said it was "a textbook case of MS", whatever that is. And he saw no reason not to have the wisdom teeth out.

And that was pretty much it, up to the spring of 2002. Two incidents that I hesitate to call exacerbations, because they were barely noticeable. No disease-modifying drugs -- I don't think they were even in clinical trials at the beginning of the story. The first 14 years were a piece of cake. If the first 10 years is predictive of the course your MS will take, I'm lookin' good.

1 comment:

  1. OK, my usual stupid way of reading other blog's posts, I start at beginning and go down. You think I'd learn by now. Soooo, I'll skip back to where I started, at the end so to speak.