I’m a 39 year old woman. Active and healthy…or so I thought.
When I was in my early teens I began having horrible hot flashes. Ex: Standing for a couple of minutes when suddenly a cold sweat hits me and the room spins…thought I was having fainting spells though never lost consciousness. As time went on I would have sudden stabbing pains through my right eyeball or mid back or thigh…just random stabbing pains that were very quick but breathtaking.
In my 20’s I began having random bouts of numbness in my knees or toes…sometimes a patch on my thigh or my hip. I also began having random bouts of aching like I’d imagine arthritis to be like (I do not have arthritis). I also noticed strange burning sensations…if I ran my hand over a part of my arm or leg there’d be a patch that felt burned…as if I was running my hand over a sunburn. Also in my 20’s I began to more and more have sudden vertigo…ex: sitting at a stop light when suddenly the whole world spins around me so fast I have to close my eyes and drop my head onto the headrest till it is over. This happens 1-2x a month, I’d say.
Important side note: I was physical abused as a child (punched, kicked) then was attacked 3 different times as an adult. One of those times (at age 25) I was slammed onto cement and cracked a vertebrae…couldn’t move for 2 weeks without screaming in pain.
Ok, back to the lifelong symptoms. So in my late 20’s I began to have severe back pain “flare ups” as I call them. Once or twice a year I’d get so I couldn’t bend over or get up from sitting position without excruciating pain. It would usually last for 2-4 weeks then I would be fine…the random numbness, vertigo, etc would come and go. I also began having random ringing in my ears like a high pitched whistle inside my ears that would go on for a good minute then stop.
I always thought it was my back injury, overworked…I could find reasons for all of it and let it go.
In fall of 2009 I got up one morning in agony with my back. This debilitating pain lingered for 3 months. During that time I had an xray done and the doctor said perhaps there is a wedge deformity in my spine, likely from the injury and I should see a specialist for MRIs. I put off going to the specialist and two months later I was down with my back again. That one lasted nearly 6 months. One day I was sitting talking with my husband (feet on the floor normally) and when I got up to walk my right foot dragged. I thought maybe my foot somehow went to sleep but it felt a little different, almost dead though there was some pins and needles as I worked it. I developed an intolerance for the heat and hot flashes,but at my age my gyno said it is likely peri-menopause. I began having more pins and needles and more of the electric shock pain (usually down my right arm or down my right leg), stabbing pains under my ribs and in my lower abdomen…
By late summer 2010 I had to see the specialist. He did a series of tests and determined me to be functioning well neurologically but had MRIs of my head, neck and back (head to tail) done. There are glilial(?) lesions at frontal lobe, nearly every disc in my back is bulging to varying degrees, 2 discs showed rupture (mid back and neck)…there were a lot of things going on there but the main thing was clear diagnosis of schermann’s disease which causes the vertebrae to develop abnormal shapes while growing which can lead to easy injury…all can lead to a lot of my symptoms. However, my spine specialist insisted it is MS. I was very annoyed with that…why would he say that? I realize the lesions on my brain might make him think that but I’d been hit in the head so much I figure it is scarring, right?
At any rate, it is now a year later and I am in more pain than ever before in my life. It has already gone on relentlessly for 5 months and is only getting worse. Typing this now is taking much longer than it should because it hurts so bad to type. I have days I can’t lift my arm to brush my teeth or wash my hair. Driving or signing my name is nearly impossible. I don’t sleep at night because of the pain (right arm, right side of neck/head mostly…it never stops hurting).
I go to physical therapy once per week but it’s not doing anything to help. I tried neurontin but had the most god awful side effects after only 3 days on the stuff I simply couldn’t tolerate it…I’d rather be in pain. And besides, it only eased the pain for 3-4 hours after taking a dose then bam! The pain was back with a vengeance. Nothing helps and I’m at wits end. Some days all I can do is cry…the pain is maddening. And I used to be very active, happy, motivated, productive…no more. I’ve even had to go to part time at my job.
Is it possible I could have MS on top of everything else? I’m seeing the specialist again…for the umpteenth time on 10/4…I’m thinking I’ll let him go ahead and do whatever other tests he needs to do to rule out MS. I’m miserable.