Welcome to ThisIsMS, Jamie. To answer your last question… Yes, I think there is ABSOLUTELY hope of returning to a normal life! Although you have not specifically asked for advice, I offer you my standard action plan recommendation:
First, you may not have MS at all, but there is a possibility; it is a differential diagnosis – made by ruling out other possibilities, as you may know. Very often, it is not easy or quick to diagnose. Before expensive tests even existed to diagnose MS, doctors used to diagnose MS on the basis of symptoms and if they temporarily worsened when the patient sat in a hot bath for a while. I had "normal" test results initially (lesions were seen on my FOURTH MRI). IF you do have MS, you have found many supportive friends at this site. We come from diverse experiences and hold diverse ideas. We do not agree necessarily in our thoughts on MS – my personal suspicion is that excess insulin is responsible for many MS (or "neurological") symptoms; you will probably not agree with some of us either; we only ask for tolerance when we express unconventional ideas.
Second, I hope that you have found a good GP or internist, that he is compassionate and enjoys being a "disease detective." I doubt that a neurologist would consider ordering the following blood tests. A GP can order the tests necessary to rule out some possibilities. Start at the beginning with your symptoms list and with a thorough physical baseline examination including blood tests for your cortisol level
(elevated with stress and causing blood sugar to rise); glucose
AND insulin levels (these are two DIFFERENT tests – of course, I think the "fasting blood insulin test"
is the most important and one of the least expensive tests; I suspect that your level is above the optimal 3 UU/ML; insulin is known as "the fat storage hormone" – your body cannot make fat without insulin… You say, "I'm pretty overweight so I can afford to lose a lot of weight as well"which indicates again to me that your insulin level is elevated.); thyroid hormone levels (TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Total T3, Reserve T3, and antithyroid antibodies
). The CRP (C-reactive protein) test
and liver tests
are also a good idea. Ask for a copy of all your test results for your own file. Since I suspect insulin involvement and resulting insulin resistance in skeletal muscles, this may be part of your leg and walking problems. I believe the burning sensation in my feet and legs is actually due to caustic insulin damaging the inside of my blood vessels (and not initially the nerves).
Third, in addition to George Jelinek's book, you might also read these two books: "Multiple Sclerosis: The History of a Disease" by T. Jock Murray, OC, MD, and "The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book" by Roy Swank, MD, PhD and Barbara Dugan. You may be able to get these through your local library.
Fourth, since I believe insulin is a major player, from this day forward, I encourage you to eat a healthy diet (a good idea whether or not you have MS, especially for losing weight) – a diet that will not trigger insulin production. Many people find that diet can influence the symptoms of MS. In my opinion, this means a low-carb diet -- remove all sugar (including beer, wine, etc. which have sugar), remove all artificial sweeteners, including sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol, etc. (These promote insulin production, too.), remove all trans fats (These also increase insulin.), and white flour, white bread, white potatoes, white rice (in fact, all carbs so far as possible) from your diet. My suspicion is that Fatty Liver Disease is also involved, since visceral fat (belly fat) secretes cytokines (like poison to the internal organs), which lead to increased insulin, which leads to inflammation which leads to more visceral fat… And the cycle goes round and round. Diet is important; in fact, you may find the account of Dr. Terry Wahls and her dramatic improvement interesting (http://www.TerryWahls.com
All the best to you.
By the way, Dr. Denise Faustman, Director of the Immunobiology Laboratory in Boston thinks that type I diabetes can be reversed by giving the BCG vaccine (against tuberculosis) multiple times.http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/192352 ... t-diabetes
Here is a Bloomberg article with more details: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-0 ... or-tb.html
Have you, as a nurse, received the BCG vaccine, which uses the weakened (attenuated) bacteria… Or even frequent TB skin tests (Mantoux test) – (used in the US and the UK) uses tuberculin derivative PPD (purified protein derivative). I do think this whole family of inquiry is important to MS for its effect on the pancreas and insulin production.