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  • Writer's pictureDearbhla

An Impatient Patient

Mourning the loss of one’s health at 33 is a strange preoccupation, especially in the midst of a pandemic. It has made me reflect on my own journey and how lucky I am that I was diagnosed last year before the world shut down.

Looking back, I had had symptoms for years. From chronic fatigue and blurred vision when I exercised, to tingling and numbness in my feet and torso. Some days it felt as if ants were crawling up my legs, and when I was running, my eyes would glaze over as if they were filling with water. So, I got glasses. I went to doctors. Lots of them. One doctor told me the numbness in my torso was a ‘pulled muscle’. A gastroenterologist did an endoscopy and colonoscopy. A chiropractor said I needed to ‘stretch’. My GP sent me for a CT scan. Yet, no one recommended a Neurologist. By that point, my friends probably thought I needed a Psychologist. Eventually, I saw a Podiatrist who gave me insoles and manipulated the nerves in my feet. The tingling subsided. Each time symptoms remerged, he seemed to fix it and I thought I was cured.

In 2018, I left my life in Brussels to embark on a new teaching career in Bahrain in the Middle East. As it happens, doing a teaching degree while teaching full time is fairly stressful, especially with undiagnosed MS. I spent most of the year flitting between chronic fatigue and depression, which I put down to stress. The 47-degree heat exacerbated my symptoms, and the tingling and numbness migrated to my hands. I opted to see an orthopaedic surgeon to ‘fix my feet’; a shrewd decision based entirely on his physical likeness to a young Ralph Fiennes. The novelty of this soon wore off after he suggested that my biological knowledge was somewhat lacking. Apparently, despite my unfaltering belief in the contrary, the nerves in the feet aren’t connected to those in the hands. Whodathunk? He referred me to a Neurologist, and I went, begrudgingly. The neurologist tested my mobility and strength. Although my reflexes were intact, she still sent me for an MRI.

Read more on the MS Society blog page here.


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