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MS? Doctors don't agree

  I am 47 yo white female.  
  My symptoms over the years have included the following:
  Grand mal seizures since 5 yr of age precipitated by sudden unexpected pain, gradually lessened over the years, one about every 4-5 yrs now.
  Migrating leg skin pain w/diarrhea and weight loss (~1976) (stress?)
  Brief dizziness a lot over the years
  Spacy or out of body feeling a lot over the years
  Funny ear ringing sensation that is not really ringing but more of a high-pitched tone that only lasts a second then mostly deaf in that ear, hearing gradually coming back after about 10-15 seconds
  Feeling that my hands are not connected to my body a lot over the years but not so much now as used to
  Diagnosed sciatica long ago (>10 yr. but could that be wrong?  Lots of incidents over the years)
  Thigh tingling along with 4-6 hour migraine and vomiting (~1991-2)  Only one migraine but thigh tingling continued several weeks, left leg top of thigh about 5" in diameter.  Dr at time noted possible MS in file
  Low concentration and problem thinking of the right word (last couple yrs)
  (diagnosed adult ADD 2 yr ago...ritalin seemed to help energy level but not so much lack of concentration)  (age problem?)
  Constant neck stiffness past 8 yrs occasionally lots worse resulting in severe headache, occasionally better, about 50/50
  Facial shingles (~1993)
  More recently:
  2/98 Right eye dilating for no apparent reason and vertigo turned severe with vomiting.  Could only sit perfectly straight, no tilt or lying down tolerated
  Have experienced these symptoms since then but but not as severe and not reported to doctor since she "dismissed" me (see below).
  Since about 2/98 jaw tightness which seems to be steadily getting worse.  Thought I had pinpointed it to the ritalin but ceased that in Feb.  Tight jaw came back so then thought it was caffeine specifically chocolate.  Now only decaf coffee (I know it has a little caffeine) and no chocolate.  Jaw got better but now seems to be getting worse again.  Can get to the point that my whole head hurts including teeth and makes me want to scream.
  Dim vision especially if wearing contacts.  Like there is not enough light being let in.
  Past 2-1/2 weeks: right inside knee started with skin pain in area about 5" in diameter.  Gradually the skin pain has dissipated but the pain seems to have seeped into the joint.  Worse in the afternoon and after standing a lot.
  2/98  MRI performed which showed several lesions
  3/98  LP performed which my neuro said was perfectly normal.  She also told me, "We tested for all the bad stuff.  Go home and don't worry."  Dismissed; next!!
  3/98  Neuro-ophthalmologist examined me and his opinion that I do indeed have MS.  No evidence of optic neuritis.
  1/98  Mother died after suffering 3 yrs with auto-immune hepatitis.  Any connection?
  Could my brain lesions have been caused by the shingles?
  Do my symptoms (albeit not all that severe except the vertigo) seem consistent with MS?
  Should I get a second opinion?
  Do  you know anything about the MS Clinic at University of NM?  I am going there next summer and could go while I am there.
  Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
  Would you please email me direct in addition to posting on the Internet?
Thanks for your questions.  Let me try to answer them one by one:
1. Even though MS is considered an auto-immune process where there is directed
     lesion against the myelin (fatty covering) of nerve fibers of the
     Central Nervous System (but, not against peripheral nerves), there has
     been no clear correlation to other described auto-immune diseases.
2. Shingles is caused by the Herpes Zoster/Varicella virus.  Although
     encephalitis, that is, inflammatory lesions of the brain, is possible
     the distribution of the lesions are usually different from those associated
     with MS.  A proper reading of your MRI scan by a neurologist or
     neuroradiologist should clarify the issue.
3. MS can present with numerous symptoms, but certain patterns are more
     frequent than others.  For instance, relapsing/remitting cycles, that
     is, moderately/severely symptomatic period interspaced with totally
     symptom-free periods, are usually more common than a continuously
     progressive pattern, although the latter will occur with a small
     percentage of patients.  Usually, MS symptoms are worsened with
     exposure to heat (warm weather, hot shower, etc.).
4. I do not know the medical staff at the MS Center at the Univ. of NM,
     but it is a well-considered tertiary care center.  It is possible
     for CSF values to be normal in MS patients, but it is less likely
     that they are absolutely normal if you are heavily symptomatic.
5. It is part of general policy of this Forum to not send a personal e-mail
     reply even if it is just a copy of the posted reply.  Sorry.
I hope this information is helpful.
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only.
Please consult your doctor regarding diagnostic and treatment options.

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