Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stroke vs MS....Umm Just Not Sure!

Okay so I spent three days(2  1/2) in the hospital. In those three days I was told three different things. They were, "you suffered a minor stroke," your MS is progressing." and "we are not sure which of these is the reason you are sick." I will admit I was a little upset. i mean it was fine that they admitted they were not sure what was wrong but four doctors with three diagnosis was ridiculous to me. The bottom line was I had lost feeling in my left side and the pain was just as bad as the numbness. That makes sense to anyone that has MS.

I had actually been doing pretty well. I had started exercising everyday, My diet was good. I felt pretty good. Then on last Wednesday afternoon I started feeling really clumsy. My leg had a mind of its own and my hand was asleep for hours. I had felt this before but this time seemed different. I took my shoes off, and watched my toes curl up by themselves. I hadn't seen that before. I told my son he better take me to the ER.

When we got there my blood pressure was 180/124!!! They were sure I was having a stroke. I was given aspirin and blood thinner and rushed to CAT SCAN. After that things slowed down a little, My back was killing me but just in the left flank area and up under my left breast. I have dealt with muscle spasms in my neck and back before so I knew what that feeling was. The first doctor was 100 percent sure that I had suffered a stroke mainly due to my blood pressure. He told me that they would be admitting me. The next doctor came in and informed me that he was an internal medicine physician. He said that the CAT SCAN wasn't good enough and that I needed an MRI. I would be scheduled for that in the morning. He explained MS to me, lol. I listened to him. I mean I am no expert but I think I am pretty clear on what MS is. Then he told me he was 80 percent sure that it was the MS that was causing the problems. I was admitted.

The next morning was a bit much. There was a terrible winter storm here in Kansas City. I missed it. My husband had made it to the hospital late Wednesday night after arriving back in town from work. So he missed it too. He actually was snowed in with me at the hospital, poor thing. Anyway, after the MRI of the brain, neck, and back I still had no answers. The doctor that had said stroke the day before had contacted a neurologist to come and see me after the test. The neurologist said, "Your MRI is confusing. There are many spots, and they could be MS activity or the one that is isolated could be a stroke." I just sat there wondering if coming to the hospital may have been a bad idea.I know I needed to be there but now I was numb, in pain and confused!

There were a lot of labs done and a lot of physical Therapy visits. A different doctor came in Thursday evening and he was 88 percent sure I had suffered a mild stroke. More aspirin, more blood thinner, more lab work. I asked this doctor how it could be a stroke since my face and my speech were not involved and he replied, "That's the one percent."  I just shook my head and my husband asked, "Okay since nobody can pinpoint this, what are the chances it will happen again?" The nurse said, "If it is MS it will happen again." Then she walked out. I buried my face in the pillow and screamed! 

Would you believe that when I left that hospital Friday night, I knew no more than when I went in. The last doctor I saw was concerned about the scleroderma and perhaps it was in my lungs and heart. I had chest x-rays and an echo cardiogram done. They both were okay. There was some cloudiness on the chest x-ray but it had been there before. So I asked "Can I go home?" They said "yes," but told me to follow up here and there and everywhere. I had to schedule PT and get prescriptions, and a new cane and I was gone with the wind!

I am pretty sure that whatever it was may come back. I just want to be proactive in keeping it at bay. The discharge papers said,"neurological episode with history of multiple sclerosis and some stroke activity." Who came up with that? Anyway I am feeling better. I am using my Dragon Speech to dictate this post. I am still numb on the left side but I am doing all I can to use my hand and arm. I just know from past experience that 
I have to continue to fight. I have too.

So I will just keep paying attention to my symptoms. I never ignore anything. Because in the end, even if the doctors aren't sure of what is wrong, at least I got there in time to get help. No matter how small you may feel a symptom is, please do not hesitate to talk to someone if it is new or worse or seems to bother you more than usual. We are patients but we are also responsible for ourselves and our bodies. It can be confusing and even terrifying at times when we don't know exactly what is going on. But it can be a complete mess when the doctors' don't know. 


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