Friday, October 23, 2009

Background and stuffz

The first step in testing for a diagnosis is family history. Your doc will pour over your family medical history. Since I plan to bring you fully up to date with my own experiences, this sounds like a good place to start.

My Mumsy is tall and thin with killer movie star legs (which I not so secretly complain about not inheriting). My first experience with a symptom happened with her. She was cutting my hair. My hair is naturally blonde, and I wear it long. I always have (change is a scary place). Well that's not really true... I once had a very stylish mushroom cut I gave myself when I was about 4... Anyway, I'm getting off topic. So she's cutting my hair, and I am standing up straight so she can get the edges. It happened so fast, but my memory of it is like a slow motion scene. My vision started to cloud. The colour was greenish. You know when your outisde on a bright sunny day, or the glare of the light bounces off snow into your eyes, and then everything has a greenish look to it when you go indoors and you can't see very well? That's what I was seeing. But instead of getting better it just filled in until I couldn't see anything at all. I remember my mom saying "Dolly stand up straight" (that's my nickname) and then not being able to hear very well. I thought I heard her shouting "DOLLY!" but it sounded very far away. Then my legs gave out. I hit the ground. I was 9 years old. And so started the testing that would go on into my 20s. Among my many diagnosis were low blood pressure, low blood sugar, epilepsy, and my personal favourite... "I don't know lets do more tests." I am a lucky kid who had my Mom with me for all of this. I couldn't have gone through that testing without her.

Now My Dad's medical history really interested the docs. He had Multiple Sclerosis. His first symptom had happened in his 20s but he never had another symptom besides extreme fatigue until his 40s. Then one night Mom rushed him to the hospital and pretty soon he had a diagnosis. I was still pretty young so this was the first time I had heard of "MS". My Dad looked fine to me. He sure slept a lot and that was annoying sometimes when I wanted to do stuff... or Christmas morning (DADDY SANTA WAS HERE GET UPPPPPPPPP!). Then I started noticing things. He couldn't walk far. He had to sit down a lot when we went to air shows, and that was unusual. He pulled over to the side of the road driving to have a quick 5 minute power nap, and eventually, he had to sit down to do his prep work for cooking. His legs were so weak! I couldn't really understand why. I remember one summer every time he got out of the car his whole one side would seize up and become stiff. He couldn't move and had to wait it out. That went away after a few months. That's the problem with MS symptoms. One will show up, hit you like a truck and then speed away. Drive by symptoms. Hello... goodbye. Sometimes they come back to have a look at the vic, but most times they keep on driving. Then a new truck comes speeding in.

My Dad also battled clinical depression. After a severe illness and a long hospital stay, his MS was worse then ever. He wobbled so much while walking I wanted to stay on his elbow. On Father's Day of 2007 he was visiting me, for the weekend I should say. He had to grab the wall and almost hug it while he moved around my place, and he fell down so many times. I could cry thinking of it. Not a month later he passed away. ***Were going to talk about this more and how heat effects MS symptoms***

I kept most of my later testing such as MRI's and neurologist appointments a secret from my Dad. I was disgnosed a month after I lost him spiraling me even further into a depression I was not climbing out of as well as my Dad did. I told him of a few MRI's but everytime he became so worried he might have "given" me MS that I stopped telling him. He didn't buy the "MS is not inherited" speech I gave him fully backed up by research. In some ways I'm glad he never heard the diagnosis.

So that's a start I think. Long story huh? It gets better DUN DUN DUN. Next time we have Testing and how to deal with it.

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