Hello Laura. I have a few questions. Does it really matter how many lesions show up on MRI if you are not symptomatic or vice versa? I personally could care less about lesion load as long as I am symptom free. If I have symptoms but no lesions I think its kind of moot imo. What do you think? Also were you symptom free for those 8 years ?
Although I am no doctor, I personally have experienced a direct correlation between my lesions and my symptoms. When I had heaviness in my right side my MRI showed lesions in the left side of my brain. When I had coldness and tingling in my left side, my MRI showed a new lesion in the right side of my brain.
Also, the more lesions I had (I had much bigger ones and more of them in the left side of my brain; and later, only a small lesion after my second "attack" on the right side of my brain), the more server the attack (my heaviness in the right side lasted almost 6 months, but the coldness and tingling in my left side only lasted a week!).
For the most part I have been symptom free for 8 years (knock on wood)..and my last MRI showed no new lesions.. Sometimes, when I get very stressed or tired (for example, it used to be really bad during exam time back when I was in University) I experience slight heaviness in my right side again..but I am comforted by the fact that this passes as soon as I am rested. It has became almost a routine..I get overly stressed/tired = my heaviness hits. I rest/relax = it disappears. Almost every time..So I try not to freak out..
My grandmother's best friend (who lives in Spain) actually has 0 symptoms but her MRI shows loads of lesions..so, it doesn't really make sense to me either..as it's the opposite of what I have experienced thus far.
As for my latest symptoms (pins and needles and numbness from the waist down to my feet)..I am still waiting on my MRI..but I (and my neurologist) expect it to show a slight lesion on my spinal cord. If it does, I am curious to know what provoked this "attack" after 8 years..but I kind of have a feeling it's because I was "messing" with my Avonex.
My neurologist suggested I try to come off of it because my last MRI (in March) showed 0 new activity, and I was doing so well.. I only stopped taking it for 3 weeks and then went back on it because I started to feel the heaviness in my right side for a longer period of time than usual and it wasn't going away even when I de-stressed and rested, so I panicked and asked myself, "why the hell am I messing with a good thing?! I am lucky to have a medication that works for me." So, like I said, I went back on it and my right side stopped being heavy..but then a couple of weeks later I had this happen. Maybe it's because I got so panicked about it (I was so scared and focused on having another attack when I came off it, I ended up having one..)..Who knows?
I definitely do not think everyone with MS ends up in the same situation. I have seen people who have excellent diets, are fit, keep their stress under control, and have positive attitudes live long, almost completely symptom free lives.
On the other hand, I have also seen people with MS who have negative attitudes, accept defeat, eat like crap, and are unfit let the illness overtake them.
I really do believe that attitude + diet + fitness + lifestyle (levels of stress) + perhaps medication (if you find one that works for you) = best ways to keep MS at bay.. Also, avoiding extreme temperatures (from my own experience, this only results in short term symptoms though, that do not persist once I am back at normal temperature).
Personally, I am just now exploring improving my diet (it's not by any means bad, but I do think I eat too much refined sugar and wheat, as I have been a vegetarian since I was 4 years old).. I just found this video that is pretty interesting: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/artic ... -diet.aspx
I think everyone with MS is scared sometimes..just try to rule it, and not let it rule you (easier said than done, I know)!!