Overall, he said my exam was “the same to slightly better” than last.
He referred to my “several episodes” this year. (December, February, May…) Most folks call them flares or exacerbations, but I like the sound of “episodes.” It sounds more like something with a beginning and especially, an end. I’ve developed a lot of anxiety over the seemingly endless barrage of symptoms that aren’t clearing up. But if I look at the “episodes” instead of the daily icks, I haven’t had any since starting the Avonex. It might be working! I hadn’t even noticed.
He didn’t say it in so many words, but I should have called/gone in when my left leg when numb (that was the May episode). He gave me orders: if anything like that happens again, anything, I have to call and probably go in for steroids. Blah, but understandable.
Dr. W said he’d looked at my MRIs and still supports the MS diagnosis. No news there. He asked if I’d seen the films (no) and wanted to (YES!). I’m intrigued by any kind of body imaging.
We walked down the hall to the lightboxes (what are those called) and he slipped some of the films into the clips. Brain, brain, cervical spine, etc… He was pointing out the basic anatomy and the lesions, but I’d read so much about it — and the spots were so clear and classically positioned — I could tell what-was-what and that it was MS without any help. I had some along the ventricles in my brain, and the big one on my spinal cord. They look like ghosts, these filmy white patches. I felt less crazy – no wonder I don’t feel so hot!
He’s happy I’m trying Paxil for my (understandable, perfectly natural, reactive) anxiety. I wish the doctors would quit saying how perfectly understandable and natural my anxiety is. It makes me suspicious – what do they know that I don’t? Is this worse than I’ve been led to believe? (See? Anxiety.)
Twice during our visit, Dr. W made a speech about “if the Avonex doesn’t work well enough, and it might not in people with aggressive disease courses, there are lots of other things we can try.” (From what he said, this year has been pretty aggressive, but it could slow down any minute.) He was reassuring and wanted me to know that I wasn’t alone or outgunned, even if it felt a little daunting. Since I’m only 2 1/2 months into treatment, I’m going to keep trying the Avonex until it proves that it does or doesn’t work.
I don’t have to go back until February for a six-month check, unless I have another episode.
Bottom line? I appreciated his perspective. It did make me feel more hopeful. I loved seeing my MRIs, finally.