After my run in with blindness I had, as I told you, already decided that the doctor's warning about MS had nothing to do with me. I took the steroids and I saw the optic-neurologist as promised and after a few weeks of rocking the pirate look with a patch over my left eye, things settled down to being "normal". I went back to my old ways of burning the candle hard at both ends and didn't allow myself the luxury of noticing that the mornings after had become harder and harder to contend with and that my energy levels just weren't where I was used to them being.
The next big stop on this journey came when I woke up to extreme tingling in my ring and pinkie fingers on my left hand. This was accompanied by an insanely sensitive upper quarter of my face- again on the left hand side. The closest description I've been able to conjure up in trying to explain the feeling that ensued on my face at that time was that it felt as if my skin was off and all of my nerves were trying to protect the other innards of my face. It was EXCRUCIATING! It hurt to blink.
Again it was off to the family doctor for me... I wasn't as surprised this time as she pulled out the old safety pin and started pricking me all over asking me to alert her when I felt a difference. This was hard because this time, it felt different almost everywhere. Finally the doctor threw away the safety pin in the yellow sharps disposable box. She took a moment and then went on to explain to me that the two fingers I was complaining about and the quadrant of my face that was experiencing what I had decided to equate to "none existing flesh eating disease", shared a nerve path. This connection and simultaneous irritation made her think there was something happening within my nervous system. Further more because of the good old optic neuritis I'd already experienced she'd decided to refer me to the MS Clinic.
"CRAP!" I knew this wasn't going to end well.
So here's what I knew about MS at this point; commercials from the society with sad fathers in wheelchairs having their faces washed by their kids with a warm face cloth... This didn't explain a whole lot for me and it certainly didn't make me feel better. Now please keep in mind that this was before the day to day availability of Google. I felt like all I could do was sit and wait, at least at this point I could see. (Champion thinking, that's me!)
Mom came with me for my appointment at the MS Clinic. We sat in the waiting room a little relieved that the doctor was running late because it gave us time to de-brief and read every single pamphlet in they had that explained what exactly MS was. And then they called me into "the" room. The nerdy looking neurologist walked into the room about 15 minutes later, he looked like the spitting image of Robin Williams in the movie "Awakenings". This doctor gave me the needle point run down that I had begun to get used to, he also made me walk in a straight line, put my legs together and my arms out and close my eyes, amongst a series of other tricks of the trade.
He told me that he was preliminarily diagnosing me with MS. I had an MRI booked to confirm his hunch. At this point he started to explain to my Mom and I what MS was and what it looked like for me and my future. He told me it was an auto-immune disease that affected the central nervous system. He told me that he couldn't predict conclusively how this was going to affect my life long term. He also went on to tell me the "good news"; turns out that I had relapsing remitting MS... The neuro went on to explain that there were people out there that had one or two "relapses or attacks" with MS and then went into remission for the rest of their life... WELL THIS WAS OBVIOUSLY GOING TO BE ME!!!