Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Well, what a day of ups and downs!
Mom accompanied me on my trip to UBC for my day of appointments at the MS Clinic. Thank goodness, I don’t think I could have handled going through it all on my own.
In the morning we met with Dr Rachel and Dr Traboulsee, my neurologist. Refreshingly, they were pleasant, personable and relaxed when meeting with me. We performed more tests: reflexes, eye movement, peripheral vision, temperature sensation, vibration sensation (c’mon big toes – cooperate), balance and so on. With my MRI images on screen, Dr Traboulsee pointed out the white matter lesions in my brain and explained what there were and how they would ultimately effect me. He also pointed out that we don’t have imaging of my spine or legs, and that these images should be requested in my next year’s MRI. Interesting.
He also explained that having optic neuritis doesn’t immediately indicate that I have MS. He said that it could be a one-off, the beginning of relapsing-remitting MS or the beginning of progressive MS. My odds, apparently, are 80% that MS will develop and 20% that it won’t. I’m clinging to the 20% life preserver with all my strength.
Dr Traboulsee also recommended that I go on a five day intravenous treatment to bring back as much of my vision as possible. In response to my comment that I had been told that it was too late to begin steroid treatment he said “Can you see as well as you did before this episode? If you can’t then it is not too late to try.”
From the meeting with Dr Rachel and Dr Traboulsee we met with Leila, who tried to explain and encourage me to participate in a clinic trial for minocycline, a medication that it is hoped will prevent MS from settling in fully. The trial is available to patients in my situation that haven’t had the second MS episode yet. 50/50 chance of receiving the medication and MRI images every three months. Very enticing. Those are two pretty big carrots to be dangling in from of a possible MS patient.
Then we met with nurse Cecelia to set up the IV treatment at a hospital closer to home. She also wanted to clarify how much vitamin D Dr Traboulsee had recommended.
Okay, time for a break. Let’s go look for some lunch. Enticed by Cecelia’s mention of burritos, we went searching in the “village” a block away. Eventually, we found the restaurant, and it was worth the hunt!! Yummy! Spicy meat, fresh cilantro salsa, freshly made guacamole. Let me say it again – Yummy!
Then back to reality – popped into the lap at UBC to have my blood drawn and tested for neuromyelitis optica, also known as Devic’s Disease. I’m hoping that this isn’t what happening with my sight. It’s a dreadful disease.
Ahem, sorry to go off on a tangent. Back up my series of appointments. I’d been dreading meeting with Dr Anderson, feeling that he’s be his usual cold-fish unpersonable self. But today he was all affability and friendliness. Performed the following tests: colour plates, gradient (black to light grey), distance, visual eye exam, etc. He said without any hesitation that I’m able to drive again and confirmed our follow-up appointment at St Paul’s Hospital in the autumn. If I could have done back-flips down the hallway I would have. I was so happy to have my driving freedom back!
After our long day at UBC Mom convinced me to begin my steroid treatment that had been arranged at Delta Hospital. Ick. Really, this was the last thing I felt like doing. I was absolutely exhausted. However, no time like the present, so off we went. Afterwards, we dropped off my prescription for some sleeping pills and picked up a quick dinner salad from Subway. After dinner Mom and I popped up to pick up the prescription.
After a couple of quick phone calls I collapsed into bed.