Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sorta Just Snuck Up On Me

The patient struggled to the table. "This has been progressing for a few months and is getting worse. It just sort of snuck up on me, a little more each day, week.

I've had tingling over my body in different place. I'm numb here, here, here and here (pointing). I can't seem to keep my balance on uneven surfaces and have been falling a bunch. My legs and arms feel so weak and my vision is getting worse, almost daily. I've been seeing double and it's very blurry."

"How old? I'm 48 doc. I'm very active; at least I was. I drive a tuck for work and love to hike and bike with my wife and kids."


"Lets get a MRI and see you back. I have an idea what this is all about, but I want to be sure."


"I'll want to run a few more tests but I'm sorry, it is what I thought. You have M.S., Multiple Sclerosis. I'm afraid you may not be driving anymore and while we have some treatments that will help control the episodes you have been having, this may get worse over time."


And that's how it is. One day young, active, hiking and biking...the next, struggling to get up from a chair or climb stairs.  And the presentation, signs and symptoms are as varied as the stories with many different nerve maladies affects:

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). Symptoms vary, because the location and severity of each attack can be different. It usually happens in "episodes", period of time with symptoms and many patients can be kept in remission with various therapies, medications etc. Episodes can last for days, weeks, months....or forever.

For me, after my neurology rotation, it will always be the "just sorta snuck on me" disease.