-- Diary of my diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) --

(February 4, 2005) After a reoccurence of optic neuritis, the eye doctor requested an MRI but he didn't see any signs of brain lesions. However, the doctor recommended that I see a neurologist, to see if it might be Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

(March 1, 2005) I seen the neurologist, who viewed the pictures of the MRI and found little spots "that may or may not be anything." He wants to run several tests, including Evoked Potential (EP), MRI of the spine, blood work and a spinal tap or lumbar puncture. Even with only having to cover the co-pay, the doctor visits are getting VERY expensive.

(April 29, 2005) I went to the city and had all the tests done. It made for a long day with the first test starting at 8 AM and not getting out of the recovery room from the spinal tap until about 3 PM. Lizzy was able to see first hand, my fear of needles. Now, we just have to wait to see what the results tell us.

(May 5, 2005) The doctor didn't have all the tests results, yet, but he said that with the results from the Evoked Potentials (EP) and what he was told of the MRI, that he believes that I do have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The reason that MS is so hard to diagnose, is because it has to be found by way of ruling out all other possibilities. The blood work ruled out some of the other possibilities that could have been causing these problems, like rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, mercury poisoning, vitamin B12 deficiency, syphilis along with a few others.

The doctor gave me a lot of information for different medications that he could prescribe for me. Unfortunately, they are all self-injections (either daily, 3X a week or once a week). If you know me and my fear of needles, then you'll understand why I say unfortunately. We are still awaiting the final results on the spinal tap and to see the actual MRI films.

(June 21, 2005) After looking at all the test results from everything including the spinal tap, the doctor says that I have Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). He had me do another blood test and gave me a handful of prescriptions.

He is setting me up with Copaxone (a daily injection) to try to stop the damage being caused by the MS and to try to keep the exacerbations to a minimum. There will be a nurse coming to my house to teach me how to give myself the injections.

One of the prescriptions, Gabapentin, that is usually given to people with Parkinsons disease to try to help with my headaches and tingling sensations in my arms and legs. Three other prescriptions are to help with the fatigue that I get in the afternoon. I am to start with one, Amantadine, and if it doesn't work, the doctor wants me to move on to the next prescription, Provigil. The last one, Protriptylin is an amphetamine.

(July 3, 2005) Yesterday, a nurse came by and showed me how to do my injections of Copaxone. Things went very well and it seems that as long as I use the Autoject™, I will have no problems giving myself the injections.

So far, I have given myself the injection in each thigh. Tomorrow, I'll be doing it in my arm and then move to my hips and finally, on Friday, I'll be doing it in my abdomen. We'll have to see how things go as I give them to myself.

Right now, after the injection, it feels like someone has punched me in the thigh. The muscle tightens up and really hurts. I am hoping it is because I am tense from the shot and that after time, I'll be more relaxed and it won't hurt quite so much.

(July 8, 2005) On Tuesday, I talked with a nurse from the company that makes Copaxone, and it turns out that the injection was too deep and it was going into the muscle. After making the appropriate adjustments to the Autoject ™, I haven't had the feeling like I had been punched in the muscle any longer. Now, I only get the short period of a burning sensation at the injection site for about 5 or 10 minutes after I do the injection.

Things have been going well with the injections and I guess my fears have turned out to be unfounded. So far, I have been able to give myself every injection without too many problems and Lizzy has only had to watch me do it. I may let her do it sometime, just so that she knows what she is doing, though.

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