I just found this group while searching for information on the use of Solu-medrol for which I have been scheduled for a three-day treatment beginning Monday by my neurologist. After doing a good bit of reading, I think I have a pretty good idea of the possible benefits and side effects, so my questions are not related the that specifically.
My frustration comes from the massive amounts of testing and the time it takes to determine the cause of my symptoms, the most disturbing being the numbness that I have in my body from hip level downward. It started over a year ago with numbness in my big toes, then my feet, then calves, and now to the point where it's definitely uncomfortable all of the time up to and including my pelvic and rectal regions, eually on both sides. :( My gait and balance are definitely off... I fell in the store a couple of days ago when bending down to look at a product on the bottom shelf, and I have great difficulty walking and my family physician labelled that "claudication".
Over the past year I have had 7 MRI's including brain, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spines. Lesions found in my brain and cervical region. The brain's were non-reactive, but the cervical were. I have been tested for all sorts of heavy metal poisoning, Lyme Disease, and have had EMG's all negative. My neurologist was leaning toward a diagnosis of MS until the Lumbar Puncture ruled that and any masses (tumor) out. But yet, she has referred me to Vanderbilt University Hospital's MS Clinic for evaluation, but that appointment can't be had until February. In the meantime, she has ordered the Solu-medrol to begin Monday, to see if that gives me any relief.
A little about my medical history that isn't all that pretty. I am 57 year old woman with a history of osteoarthritis in the spine. In 1997, I had surgery called a spinal laminectomy on vertebra C-3 thru C-7 to relieve pain and disability due to spinal stenosis. It was successful, but I have suffered a lifetime of pain and dysfunction in my neck, but not nearly as bad before the surgery. The MRI's showed a compression fracture at T-3 that I've probably had for years, and it is always painful. I have a bulging disc in my sacrum that causes intermittent nerve pain on the right side and down my leg. I have had rectal cancer in 2011 with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation "down there". I have been cancer-free for almost 3 years. I have been to a vascular surgeon this past week, who tends to think that the lower body dis-comfort is more likely due to radiation injury to the nerves around the rectum and pelvis, but because he's been asked to completely rule out a vascular issue, he has scheduled me for arterial ultrasounds. The earliest they can do that is on Dec. 5th which is a full month away.
So, as you can see, I'm a mess and very uncomfortable. I've been trying to get help for this for months and it's greatly frustrating that it is taking so long. I certainly do not WANT a diagnosis of MS, but what I do want is a diagnosis of "something" and a course of treatment for improvement, or at best, to not have symptoms get any worse than they are. I'm wondering if an MS diagnosis can be missed on Lumbar Puncture? Also, does it always take this long and barrage of tests to get answers? Also, in light of my symptoms, is solu-medrol likely to be helpful without a definitive diagnosis?
Thanking you all for any help.