Welcome to ThisIsMS, Netbe. As asked, here is my input. I offer you my standard action plan recommendation:
First, your wife may not have MS at all; her diagnosis does seem to have been made quickly, but it is entirely possible that the diagnosis is correct. In general, it is a differential diagnosis – made by ruling out other possibilities. 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 (my first THREE MRIs showed no evidence of MS). IF she does 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 she has a good GP or internist, that he is compassionate and enjoys being a "disease detective." I am not sure that a specialist, a neurologist, is necessary right at the beginning of an MS investigation, but since she has "pros" from Stanford, she is in good hands. However, I tend to believe that if you see a surgeon, he will find a solution in surgery; if you see a neuro, he will only see the problem/solution in neurology. I just read an article that summed this up well: "doctors are experts in, and only test for, those parts of the body in which they specialize." A GP can order the tests necessary to rule out some possibilities. Start at the beginning with her symptoms list and with a thorough physical baseline examination (which it seems she has had) including blood tests for her 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 her level is above the optimal 3 UU/ML, if she does indeed have MS; insulin is known as "the fat storage hormone" – a body cannot make fat without insulin), thyroid hormone levels (TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Total T3, Reserve T3, and antithyroid antibodies) – many diagnosed with MS are later found to have a thyroid problem instead. Ask for a copy of all her test results for your own file. Since I suspect insulin involvement and resulting insulin resistance in skeletal muscles are responsible for MS symptoms. 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).
As for the IV steroids prescribed for her, Solu-Medrol is a glucocorticosteroid which is often prescribed for MS symptoms; I know it elevates blood sugar and temporarily engages or occupies the insulin, reducing the amount of both in the bloodstream. In my opinion, this is the mechanism that explains MS symptom improvement with Solu-Medrol. During this time the pancreas MAY reset to secrete a proper amount – adequate to handle glucose, but not in an excess amount. (Solu-Medrol has not been effective for me. My pancreas chronically secretes TOO MUCH insulin.)
Cortisol also elevates blood sugar and the body produces more insulin in response. In her case it may be that her elevated levels of cortisol are prompting the pancreas to overproduce insulin.
By the way, excess insulin promotes blood clotting… reason for the blood thinner? Blood thinners were frequently prescribed for MS back in the 1950s.
I think this imbalance of the hormone insulin causes other hormone imbalances – possibly thyroid hormones. Brittle or thinning hair (hair loss) is one of the signs of a problem in the thyroid gland (underactive thyroid a.k.a. hypothyroidism). Other symptoms can include feeling tired (unrelenting fatigue), cold all the time, memory loss, brittle nails, leg swelling, constipation, loss of the outer third of eyebrows, difficulty losing weight because of slow metabolism. Could this be a possibility for your wife? A simple home test can also indicate underactive thyroid: if she takes her basal body temperature (in the morning before getting out of bed) every morning for a week and it is consistently below 98°, she may have an underactive thyroid. I recently came across the following information: "Many medications also slow down the thyroid and also cause iodine deficiency. Lithium and corticosteroids [Solu-Medrol and prednisone] are thyroid-slowing and should be used sparingly if at all."
Third, if you like to read and if she does have MS, start your reading with two books: "Multiple Sclerosis: The History of a Disease" by T. Jock Murray, OC, MD, and I think "The Multiple Sclerosis Diet Book" by Roy Swank, MD, PhD and Barbara Dugan is a good second book to read or even have. You may be able to get these through your local library.
Fourth, since I believe insulin is a major player, I am glad to hear you are focused on diet and I encourage you both to continue to eat a healthy diet (a good idea whether or not a person has MS) –cutting sugars and starches is a great place to start; a diet that will not trigger insulin production is best, in my opinion. 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 secretion, 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 with MS, 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.
My hypothesis: excess insulin (hyperinsulinemia) plays a major role in MS, as developed in my initial post: http://www.thisisms.com/forum/general-discussion-f1/topic1878.html "Insulin – Could This Be the Key?"