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Suspicious Combonation of Symptoms

Uncertain if this is the appropriate community to post this but per the advise of another participant on this forum, I elected this page first. I'm a mother, 44 years old, and have experienced suspicious symptoms for nearly 6 years. First onset was in 2007, three months of vertigo, fatigue, excessive tiredness though obtained sufficient sleep, slurred speech, numbness and tingling in left arm and leg. Additionally, flu-like symptoms and overall tiredness mirroring the same as nauseousness. After an evaluation from an ENT, he immediately stressed his concern of MS, and ordered an MRI (brain and cervical spine). I immediately scheduled an appointment with a neurologist and walked the MRI films in with me. The neurologist confirmed no "significant" findings on the MRI of which I remained suspicious considering my debilitating symptoms. Shortly after, and with symptoms persisting, I located another neurologist to review the findings and evaluate me further. He ordered additional tests such as, evoked potentials, nerve conduction studies, and a skin grating test along with an MRI of my thoracic and concurred that no findings suggestive of MS were present but indicated he was suspicious of my symptoms. Again, this was all conducted in 2007. Third time is a charm right? Visited with a third Neurologist nearing the end of 2007, who is an MS Specialist. After a thorough examination and reviewing my MRIs, and all other testing, she indicated no presence of MS, but also quickly stated that she saw a lesion, but in her words, "it is in the wrong place and not the correct shape for MS."

Regardless of feeling horrible, I had to grit my teeth with hope and prayers that this suspicious undetermined episode would pass....... and it did after three months. In 2012, these suspicious symptoms recurred representative of what I experienced in 2007. They nearly mirrored with the exception that new symptoms such as muscle cramping especially in my two middle toes on both feet, hip soreness / left leg and arm weakness, and blurred vision this time. And here we go again, sought medical care with a neurologist in a different state this time around and had an MRI of the brain accompanied by the cervical spine, an LP (ouch...never again thank you very much), but no nerve conduction studies or evoked potentials this time around. The findings were inconclusive with the exception of a bulging disc and a diagnosis of degenerative disc disease (C2 C3-C4-C5-C6). A biking accident in my youth was the culprit in which I landed a few broken bones in which I have some arthritis which I expected later in life with these types of fractures.

In current day, and approximately three months ago, I began to feel quite oddly again. Vertigo, blurred vision, muscle stiffness and pain in neck on both sides, shoulder pain this time around, mild slurred speech, unexplained fatigue, numbness and tingling in both hands and bottom of feet but mostly felt in left hand and foot, left eyelid twitching, mild facial numbness primarily focused on left side. Every morning I wake up hoping these symptoms subside but they are very apparent every morning and remain.

My question is this... Has anyone experienced a combination of both MS and Disc disease? My PCP suggested I see a spinal surgeon and an internist, but I'm more of the thought that a neurologist would be better suited in this area of symptoms. When I conveyed this chronological history since 2007 to my physician, he did not comment on anything other than sharing a large neurology group for setting up an appointment if I so choose. The earliest I can be seen is august 3rd. I've contacted 4 independent neurology practices, and not one can see me before that date. I've relocated out of state 4 times in the last 5 years but have all results from each physician. Very frustrating, even with my name on a cancellation list, I must remain idle with suspicions.

Thoughts or shared experiences on this issue? If this is not the appropriate forum for this question please do not hesitate to inform me. I'm new at this and just attempting to locate others who may be of the same position.
75 Responses
1831849 tn?1383231992
Hi SC -

Many of us can confirm that having MS does not give you a pass on other health issues. You asked about the combo of MS and spinal issues. Your's appear in your cervical spine, mine were in my lumbar spine.

During the 20+ years I've had MS I have had a ruptured disk at L3 and spinal stenosis at L4-L5. Fortunately the ruptured disk broke on its own and in so doing relieved the nerve impingement. The stenosis required surgical intervention. Neither had anything to do with my MS :-)

The dissemination in time component of the MS diagnosis is what the contrast helps with. In the presence of contrast lesions that are currently active, or have been active in the last 30-40 days will light up. If you have an MRI in which some lesions light up and others do not, you have proof of dissemination in time.

Another way to prove this is to have repeat MRIs, at least 40 days apart. If there are additional lesions in the second MRI you have proof of dissemination in time.

You have had a series of MRI over an extended period of time. The only lesion observed was not likely caused by demyelination. You have also been examined by multiple neurologist and had most of the typical MS testing. There does not seem to be any evidence of MS. It may be time to try looking down another path for the cause of your symptoms.

Kyle
Avatar universal
Correction: Approx. 8 years ago regarding the first onset of symptoms. Did not calculate correctly.
987762 tn?1331031553
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hi and welcome,

It's often very quiet over the weekend and I don't want you to think you're being ignored by anyone...... unfortunately i've run out of steam and need a granny lol but i'll get back to your post, when my vision gets back on board!

Cheers........JJ
987762 tn?1331031553
COMMUNITY LEADER
oops typo should read 'granny nap' lol i so need one
5112396 tn?1378021583
Yes, it's possible to have a combination of MS and disc disease. Unfortunately, having MS doesn't give us a pass on having other health issues.

A wait until early August is no-doubt frustrating, but it's actually very good going compared to average neurology wait-times. And it's good that you were proactive about getting on the cancellation list.

With regard to one of the neurologists commenting on your lesion's shape and location, the "classic" finding for demyelinating lesions is ovoid and in the periventricular area. From their comment, I would imagine it wasn't either. That's not to say there aren't exceptions, just that I think that's what they were getting at.

The tricky thing is, and what is likely leading to a lot of your experience, your symptoms are all non-specific. Many different things can cause what you've experienced. There are a few things that have neurologists looking at MS fairly quickly, but they generally have to do with the eyes (optic neuritis or internuclear opthalmoplegia, for example). In the absence of any positive test results, it will always come down to 'wait and see'.

It does seem possible that a lot of what you mention *could* be related to your neck issues. I would likely at least consult the spinal surgeon. It never hurts to get a perspective from a different specialty if you're getting nowhere with neurology. In the mean time, have you been offered any symptomatic relief? I think most of us here can relate to how unfun a bout of vertigo can be!
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comments. No worries at all on not responding right away. I get it.... life keeps us busy in addition to not feeling well.

To: immisceo, very cogent and response and it makes sense on many levels. The "wait and see" game seems to be common as I'm discovering. My only confusion and what has piqued my alert are the new symptoms. Especially my left leg feeling like a log, fatigued, and overall muscle soreness though I've not engaged in any exercise lately due to not feeling well.

My neck could certainly be causing some of the other lingering issues. Therein again, when I research symptoms of DDD, the symptoms are without correlation to the ones I have now. You are correct, it is "unfun" having this vertigo as every step requires focus. Not sure if I'm enjoying the newly blurred vision either. Par for the course is the irritating numbness and tingling that doesn't seem to let up. Regarding the neurology appointment, tomorrow I will declare my presence at another office housed with MS specialists to see if I can get in sooner. It's frustrating in that this will require two visits as repeat tests must be ordered for further evaluation. Hence....... the same waiting game adventure.
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