Friday 24 April 2009


Back in the here and now, I recently had my annual hospital check-up. These are always freakishly cheerful, even a 'good laugh'.

Why are all the neurologists at the Queens Medical Centre of Greek origin? Just a question.

Anyway, it was all pretty good news - no new symptoms, no major attacks, no obvious need to start a course of meds. The Doc even suggested that there might be some good pills that I could take to stave off the chronic fatigue which can sometimes set in. I know what you're thinking, but surely the QMC won't be distributing that sort of stuff.

Anyway - that was a couple of weeks ago, since which time the pins and needles have really ramped up their activity in my right hand (guess which hand I use most frequently?). And the other star of the show - my left leg - is being particularly sluggish and heavy. Quite distressing on the five-minute walk to work; I've recently started sneaking in my walking stick.

At work, only the other members of the Senior Management Team know my situation, one of those was told this week. He's a deeply religious man so he said he's pray for me, which was very sweet. But, considering the fact that he's not the first to offer and my father in law has even done something at the local Hindu temple, I'm not holding my breath for divine intervention.

The resurgence of my symptoms is a bit of a pain in the arse as, like I said, the check-up was so positive. But I can feel that the tingling (in my hand at least) are settling down as I type this so hopefully we're through the worst of it.

By "we", I mean me and my wife. She's the best woman in the world and is going through this with me. I sometimes think I share too much with her (any little odd aches and pains, any wobbles, "so-and-so noticed I was having trouble getting up the stairs at work", etc). But who else am I going to talk to? It's like any other marriage - we support each other in everything that we do. But I do hate that I have to rely on her so much, and worry that she doesn't get a whole lot back. (She says this isn't the case but still...)

There was a really great interview with Michael J. Fox the other weekend in The Guardian, our middle-class rag of choice (good telly pages). He is of course facing up to Parkinson's which shares some similarities with MS. This was a great quote:
The one choice I don't have is whether or not I have it. But beyond that my choices are infinite. How I approach it is up to me. It has a lot to do with - and this is hard for people to understand - accepting it. And that doesn't mean being resigned or not looking for a cure. But if you're trying to get away from it or change it, you're going to wear yourself out.
Read the whole interview here.

More Wonder Years style reminiscences to follow soon!

Wednesday 1 April 2009

diagnosis 1

It was about 8 years ago, I started complaining about really intense pins and needles in my legs. I went to see my doctor who prescribed a trapped nerve and gave me a sheet of exercises (basic Yoga poses, really) to alleviate things. These did the trick so I thought no more of it - when the tingling returned I just dug out my exercise sheet and did some stretches!

6 years ago in 2003 I began a relationship with the woman who would eventually become my wife. On our first holiday the pins and needles returned and my left leg started to get very heavy (when I was running around Lake Garda trying to buy something for Emma who was unwell. As the song goes, we can laugh about it now but at the time it was terrible).

The pins and needles carried on after our return, attacking my hands and gradually my torso - it was never painful, just a little bit weird. And anyway, it pretty much cleared up shortly after.

In 2005, after we got engaged, we both thought enough is enough and Emma insisted that I go to see my doctor again. This time he seemed a little more concerned, proposing that I should see a Physio and a Neurologist. Even at this point MS wasn't mentioned.

We got into see the physio, who listened to my symptoms, did some physical manipulation and said that there was nothing that he could do. He didn't want to be drawn to make a prediction or to speculate on the cause but by this point we were getting pretty distressed and practically begged him to give us an idea of what we were dealing with.

He said, "Well, considering your age and your symptoms, it could be Multiple Sclerosis".

It was around about that time that we started freaking out.