Last reply 9 months ago
Worried I might have MS

Hi folks,
I just found this community through MS Australia as I am worried about some symptoms that have been creeping up on me. To be honest, an MS diagnosis would be a welcome relief at this point, as my mind has been going to Alzheimers, ALS or brain tumour. (Dr Google has a lot to answer for.)
I am a 50 year old woman with a healthy diet and reasonably fit for my age. For the last year or so, I have noticed some slurring of my speech. It started with difficulty with ‘th’ sounds. I thought I was just stressed and tired due to my work – I worked in a very high pressure, emotionally exhausting environment, as well as being a sole parent of kids who do a lot of stuff. Never enough hours in the day. I quit my job a few months ago and am now in a much happier place, work wise, but my speech has become somewhat worse. I have difficulty with complex sound groupings (ironically, ‘multiple sclerosis’ is very tricky to pronounce). My speech is better some days than others, and much worse when I’m tired. I tend to start the day well, but it deteriorates. It feels like my tongue and to a lesser extent, my lips, won’t do as they’re told. I am better when I rehearse what I am about to say, and I’m still fluent when I sing. I also frequently lose my train of thought half way through a sentence. I can pick it up pretty quickly, but I do tend to speak with long pauses. (It could be that I’m just easily distractible.) Struggling to find the right word is common (although perhaps no more so than for friends my age). I’ve also noticed that my handwriting is appalling. It has been pretty bad for many years, as I’m always making notes in a hurry, but now it’s bad even when I deliberately slow down to write properly. It’s like my brain is thinking too fast for my hand and I stumble over myself. I have no tingling sensations or numbness in my body (I recall a few months of numbness in a half of my big toe about 10 years but that’s about it.) I get up all night to pee – up to about three times, although this has recently reduced to about once. I am also having hot flushes, both day and night, despite being a couple of years past menopause. (I did get them during menopause, but they tapered off over a year ago, only to return with a vengeance recently.) My short term memory is not great (although friends around the same age seem to have similar issues). I experienced pretty severe cognitive fog during menopause (kind of walking around in a confused daze) but I feel OK at the moment. In fact, reasonably sharp. I have also had a low level depression for quite a while, but I think it’s reactive – self-consciousness about my slurred speech. Having said that though, even those closest to me say they haven’t noticed my speech. I think I am learning to mask it well. I’m not sure, but I might have become a bit clumsy. Very occasionally, I will spill tea down the front of me because I didn’t quite make it to my mouth. Or I will bump into something I wasn’t expecting to be there. But only very occasionally, and I probably wouldn’t even notice if I wasn’t looking for symptoms.
Needless to say, I intend to see my doctor shortly and get a neurologist referral, because there’s something going on that’s not right.
Thanks for reading, and I would really appreciate comments from anyone who might have experienced a similar constellation of symptoms.

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stumbler
9 months ago

Hi @coolblue and welcome.

It is a worrying time for you, not helped by Dr Google offering all kind of diagnoses. Inordinate stress/worry are responsible for all manner of ills, so these negative, unproductive emotions are best avoided, if you can.

The symptoms you mention all present in MS, hence your appearance here. But, they also feature in various other conditions from a simple vitamin deficiency forwards.

So, make a short, concise list of all your symptoms, with a timeline, if possible. This should prove invaluable to a Doctor/Neuro.

Arrange the Doctor’s appointment to get things moving. Then, do what you can to relax yourself. A bit of pampering springs to mind.

Let us know how you get on.


vixen
9 months ago

Hello @coolblue and welcome. Yes definitely, the best thing you can do is to get a neuro referralas soon as possible, and go with your list of symptoms. Hopefully you will be dispatched off for an MRI pronto. I so understand how you feel. As @stumbler says, it could be MS as it could be other things. Whatever it is, you will be able to face it with your clearly rational approach! Please don’t delay, and do let us know how you get on xx


edmontonalberta
9 months ago

@coolblue

The joys of getting older are much better than the alternative…

Google Search is your friend; it is also your worst enemy. Follow stumbler’s advice.

Gord


aabreu
9 months ago

Those symptoms look very familiar to me.
I’ve had on and off issues with speech. Swallowing. Numbness is a constant companion.
I see nothing wrong with Dr. Google. It prepared me for my first visit with the neuro. I already knew what I had. So when the doctor told me I had MS, it just confirmed my suspicions. Since then Dr. Google put power in my hands to direct my treatment decisions. Information is power.

You need an MRI of the brain and spine with and without gadolinium. That is the first thing a Neurologist wants to see. You primary care physician can write you a prescription for that. No need to wait months for a Neurologist to order it.
If your doctor sees something, they may be able to pull strings to get you a Neurologist appt sooner. That is what happened with me. The doctor saw my MRI and got me into the Neurologist the next day literally.
Another thing, not all Neurologists are MS specialist. It makes a difference. They tend to be more open minded about the various treatment options. If you do get diagnosed with this thing, I recommend finding a specialist.

God speed.


cameron
9 months ago

I was told during the diagnosis process that my symptoms could be caused by 16 conditions! It did turn out to be MS, unfortunately, but 14 years on I’ve pretty much stayed the same, thanks to the meds. By far the worst of it all was the pre-diagnosis time – what you’re going through at the moment. It’s because you (i.e. we) are not in control and we’re at the mercy of our demons and Dr Google. If it is an MS diagnosis, you’ll very quickly get the support you need to start taking back that control – it’s a question of hanging on till the neuro’s appointment. Big hugs, x

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