Thursday, July 30, 2009

Answers. And then Questions.

It's been one heck of a week (or two). In the beginning of June, I noticed that my vision in my left eye was suddenly worse than usual. I, believe it or not, actually called my doctor to check it out. It couldn't be corrected with lenses so he sent me to the ophthalmologist. The first doctor was baffled, so he had me come back the next day to see a one of his colleagues. Quite honestly, I wasn't that disturbed about it. I imagined that it was nothing, perhaps I was reading too much into it. The next day I had my Dad and the babies go with me since I'm not able to drive. My poor father was left alone in the waiting room with them. I laughed to myself as I heard this blood curdling screams while I was in my appointment. During my appointment, this doctor kept mumbling stuff to his nurse but never actually talked to me. He asked me if I had a neurologist (yes, that's an odd question). Well yes, I do and what of it? He asked me if I experienced pins and needles at all once a limb was not in an awkward position. Well, yes occasionally that happens, in fact just the other day. He still never told me why he was asking these questions. He leaves the room and I hear him outside the door talking to his nurse. I can't make out what they're talking about (and trust me, I was trying). She comes back in and tells me he wants an MRI of my brain and wants me to follow up with my neuro. Well that's an odd request when going to the eye doctor. Whatever, its probably nothing like usual. When I go out to the waiting room, I see my poor father walking a screaming baby around the waiting room and a nurse trying to soothe the other. They were all probably thinking, "And WHY did this woman bring her children here?!"

I'll admit, I put off my MRI. About three weeks later, I started experiencing more concerning symptoms: my hands and feet were feeling numb occasionally, pins and needles and I had vertigo. I decided to finally call my neurologist. He wanted to see me right away and get my MRI right away. The day after I got the MRI done I was home as usual during the day with Ben and Kyle. Around 1pm, my vertigo got so bad and my hands felt so weak I started panicking. I was so afraid I was going to drop one of them. My clumsiness was so bad I was falling into things around the house and couldn't walk in a straight line. Panic started to set in, so I called Bobby and asked if it was at all possible for him to come home; I just didn't feel safe taking care of the babies. I would never forgive myself if I bumped them or dropped them. While he couldn't, he sent Sue over. My hands were seizing up, typing seemed laborious and I found it difficult to open and close things. 

Quite honestly, I couldn't give a crap if I feel well or not. It was just this awful feeling that I wasn't quite capable of taking care of the babies that really disturbed me. They depend on me (and I, them). This all brought me back to about three years ago. After my epilepsy was diagnosed, I began experiencing strange symptoms. My joints felt as if they were seizing up and I had vertigo so badly that I sometimes would have to leave work. My neurologist tested me for lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Lyme disease. They all came back negative. Then as mysteriously as they came, they left. Frankly, I just thought perhaps I'm crazy and it's all in my head. Who knows, maybe it still is.

I anxiously waited for a call back from neuro that night. He wasn't in, but his partner called back. He wasn't familiar with me and told me it could be my medication even though I had been on it before and was completely side-effect free. He told me to reduce my daily amount and they would probably go away. I was seeing the neuro four days from them, so he could help diagnose this more accurately. Whew. Good. He's right. No need to get into a frenzy. 

Surprisingly, I listened to the doctor and dropped my dose down for the next few days. No change. Every time I would put my feet on the ground, they tingled. I was getting 'electric shocks' from my feet up and my hands up to my elbow. My face felt 'tight'. The vertigo came and went, came and went. 

Tuesday couldn't come sooner. As I was sitting in the appointment room, waiting for my doctor to come in, I suddenly became nervous. Not because I was afraid of any certain diagnosis, but more because I thought, "I'm probably overreacting and there will be nothing wrong like before. Why are you so stupid and at the doctor's again?". Dr. Somma came in and asked me why I had to have the MRI. I explained the eye doctor wanted it done. He asked me about my other symptoms. Once I told him, "Well, I feel pins and needles in my feet and hands.", he started asking more questions. Most of his questions, I answered yes to. He started to give me his regular neurological physical tests. Walk down the hall. Walk on your heels. Walk on your toes. Walk heel to toe. For the first time, walking heel to toe seemed incredibly difficult without losing my balance. I couldn't bear the weight of him pressing down on my right leg. Left leg seemed to work just fine. He checked my eyes. He asked me if when he touched me, it felt strange. When he touched the top of my foot, the bottom of my foot got its pins and needles. After he was finished, he looked at me and said, "I think you have MS." He told me that both the eye doctor and him suspected optic neuritis. With my other presenting symptoms, it seems highly likely that this is it. Wow. Wasn't quite expecting that. 

I love my doctor. Because as he's going on and on telling me that I'm going to go get bloodwork right now, and he wants an MRI of my spine, and we'll do a spinal tap next week he stops and asks, "Are you okay?" Mmhmm. "I know you're smiling, but that's your nature. Are you okay?" Mmhmm. He explained that while it may seem he's jumping the gun, it's important to start treatment early even while in the diagnosis period. 

I honestly was quite relieved. Finally, I may have a reason for these strange symptoms. I'm not the type of person to easily succumb to my ailments. If I have a sinus infection, a bad cold, an upset stomach you'll find me at work. I worked up until I delivered my twins. But these symptoms just seem to affect me. And it may mean I'm not crazy (well, maybe that's still so). 

I won't think too much about it now, not until my MRI comes back and we do the spinal tap. But I can't help but wonder, if I DO have MS and I do experience these flare-ups, how do I balance my duties as a working mother? I think it's only natural to wonder this. After all, there was a day last week that I didn't feel comfortable picking my babies up. I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we get to it, but I can't help but wonder. My poor little kiddos, I just welcome these beautiful little babies into the world and now it's possible I can't be EVERYTHING I wanted to be for them. There just may be times when I can't. While I know the majority of my time will be fine, not every day will be perfect. Then again, who does experience perfect day after perfect day? No one. And that's why this is no big deal. A minor inconvenience. 

If it's not MS, then he said we still need to search for an answer. 

Speaking of medical problems, Kyle had to go for an ultrasound this week on his hip. The pediatrician heard a faint clicking at his last appointment, so he wanted to make sure it wasn't pelvic dysplasia. My poor little guy DID NOT enjoy that yesterday. He screamed at the top of his lungs. And farted. A lot. Once we were out in the waiting room, he was back to his regular smiling self. They are just so cute these days, smiling at everyone who comes their way. Oddly enough, there was another set of twins in the waiting room. They were four months old and just nine pounds. The mother explained to me that they were only three pounds when born. The little girl was still on a feeding tub. After meeting them and their little boy and girl, I realized I had it good. Really good. We've been so blessed and so lucky. I hope the best for her little ones and am so thankful that I was lucky enough to deliver two healthy babies when they were at such risk. So many things had to go just right for these two little boys to show up with no problems, no issues. 

It is so important to count each and every blessing that comes your way because chances are, they outweigh the burdens. 

1 comment:

Liz's Picture's said...

I read this a lot.. Everyone wishes you were still here because we all know how badly you wanted to be everything for them. I know your watching down on them and Bobby, and im thankful for the time I got to spend with you, I love watching the boys they are adorable. I wish You could contact everyone some how, but I know your right there with Bobby bathing them and putting them to bed. We all miss you Tammy. By the way thanks for being such a great role model for me, and thanks for being such a great person for my brother.