In the beginning…was the beginning

It all started in December, when I got a really achy spot in the middle of my back. It was accompanied by some surface numbness on my right leg, from the waist down. After about 3 weeks, the sore spot in my back went away, but the numbness didn’t.

I assumed it was a pinched nerve or I’d slept on it wrong, or something like that. By the end of February, though, I figured something must be *really* pinched to be numb so long, and it had spread a little up to my chest and back. I got an appointment with my primary care doc, who couldn’t tell me much. She wanted to do a nerve conduction study, but my insurance denied it, so she referred me to a nice neurologist.

I showed up at that appointment and got a thorough going-over. Lots of reflex checks and “can you feel this?” kind of stuff. After about half an hour, he said I could put my shoes back on. I expected him to say that I had (a) a pinched nerve and I was just lucky it wasn’t hurting or (b) it was all in my head. (Me and doctors – generally not a match made in heaven.)

Instead, he handed me two tissues and said that, based on his experience and my exam that day, there was a 50/50 chance that I had either transverse myelitis (TM) or MS!

I had never heard of the first and knew nothing about the second. He explained that the TM was like MS, but it was a one-time attack, not chronic. Ok…. So, he wanted to do MRIs and maybe an LP (lumbar puncture aka spinal tap) to confirm one or the other. He did prep me for the possibility that all tests could be negative for MS at this point. We can’t know if this is a first or only flare-up, so we may fall back on the “wait and see” approach. (It can take years for some people to get a definite diagnosis of MS, so I’m kind of hoping for quick-and-relatively-painless.)

I decided yesterday that this whole situation is a lot like puberty.  It’s come on a lot faster, but it’s just as strange.  Unfortunately, it comes with none of the confidence-inspiring platitudes about me turning into a beautiful young woman — the best I can hope for is to come out as me, and that is a humbling prospect.

We stopped by Wal-Mart on the way home after dinner so I could get a pill sorter. I prefer it to having to look at all the bottles (gabapentin, allegra,vitamins…) so often. It’s more like candy this way…maybe I’ll trade up for a larger one and sneak in some M&Ms!

Neuro’s office called today on my way home. My blood tests were all normal, ruling out B12 deficiency, lupus, thyroid stuff, and more.  No surprises – these were the same results I had two weeks ago from my primary care appointment labs.

The search for answers continues!

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