Follow-Up MS Neurology Appointment

Monday was a busy day for me. I woke up feeling still slightly foggy and with a nice headache that felt like it could’ve turned into a migraine. I had received an Intro doTERRA kit from Ange of Hol:Fit which has a peppermint essential oil in it. I’ve read that this is great for easing headache symptoms so I put some on my temples and along my hairline. I smelled like peppermint for the rest of the day but it worked!

I visited my neurologist, Dr. Baskind, at his office on Monday afternoon. Alas, there was no bow this time. He had a senior resident with him so I got to tell the quick story of how I was diagnosed and explain that my symptoms have dissipated. The feeling has returned to the entire right side of my body except for my hand (which is still a bit pin & needly). As I write this post it’s almost completely gone so I’m hoping my symptoms are cleared by the end of the week. I pulled out the extensive blood work my Naturopath had done so he could take a look and then my notebook with questions. I’m going to write them down in case a recently diagnosed MS patient ever comes across this blog post and is curious about what to ask.

1. How many MS patients do you currently treat? Do you specialize in MS or are you a general neurologist? He is treating around 60 patients and is a general neurologist. He even said he’d be willing to refer me to the MS clinic at St. Mike’s where they have specialists.

2. What type of MS do I have? I started my research on the MS Society of Canada webpage. I have the earliest form which is called Clinically Isolated Syndrome as I’ve only had one attack. Based on my MRIs and the number of lesions I fit the McDonald Criteria.

3. I asked how did he rule out other neuro disorders? The MS Society page also explains that your doctor should rule out NMO, ADEM, Lyme disease, CFS & Lupus. He explained that my symptoms & MRI scans are indicative of MS only. He did say I could receive a spinal tap but I said no I’m ok I’ve already accepted my diagnosis. I will go to the MS Clinic for a second opinion because I believe that’s smart but I really don’t want a needle in my spine.

3. Are these symptoms I experienced over the past week normal for being on the steroid treatments? Being tired, shortness of breath, and having a foggy brain are all side effects of the treatment and nothing was out of the ordinary.

4. Where are the lesions on my brain? What am I at risk for? He showed me where my lesions are. The majority of them are on the corpus callosum. This is a thick band of nerve fibres that divide the left and the right brain. He told me it’s a pretty useless part of the brain. Although I’ve now read that this part of the brain transfers motor, sensory, and cognitive information between the brain hemispheres. Currently, these lesions are asymptomatic. I asked what type of symptoms should I be wary of in the future and he said it’s hard to tell.

MS Brain Scan
Not my brain. But how MS lesions look like on an MRI scan.

4. What type of MS am I at risk for moving forward? There are four types of MS. Relapse-remitting (RRMS), secondary-progressive (SPMS) and primary-progressive (PPMS) and progressive-relapsing (PRMS). I’ve decided I’m never going to get these types and will live with MS for the rest of my life. A doctor can’t be sure of what you’re at risk for moving forward but I was told I don’t have risk factors. I was told that risk factors for developing more severe cases usually present themselves in males, those with unhealthy lifestyles and other races. I haven’t done enough research on this but I believe that based on my healthy lifestyle and how I’m going to treat this holistically I won’t have to worry about it progressing.

5. What activities can I do? Yes I know I asked about fitness even before treatment. My exact words were… “Can I jump off a 10-foot wall?” My neurologist paused and asked me why this was important? “Oh, I’m an Obstacle Course Racer!” I was so worried about impact activities but I don’t have problems with my spine it’s with my central nervous system so I’ve been cleared for all crazy activities and of course must just listen to my body. I went for my first run since the beginning of October and though it was short and sweet and hard, it was glorious. Just look at my smile!

First Run with MS

6. What treatment are you recommending moving forward? There are so many options from IV treatment, to self-injectables to oral pills. This is all going to be impacted by my health insurance and my research of clinical studies and to be honest side effects so onwards I go into the world of conventional medicine.

I also had the chance to discuss with a Registered Holistic Nutritionist what I can do in my meal plan weekly but this post is getting long so I’ll post that tomorrow.

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