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Hi All

Postby Sarge » Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:11 pm

Hi everyone....glad to have found this site!

My name is Steve, 40 years old, and diagnosed with RRMS back in December following a fairly debilitating attack. I've been lucky enough to enjoy good health for my entire life, having rarely ever seen a doctor until a few months ago. Unfortunately, all of that changed back in late November.

Right around Thanksgiving, I noticed a tingling/burning in my left leg, and I recognized the sensation as being similar to when I had the shingles about 20 years ago. Went to the doctor, who didn't find anything terribly abnormal initially, and went right back home. Several days later, the tingling turned to numbness, and as the days progressed, I developed a foot drop, and was unable to walk normally. Doc puts me on prednisone and sends me for an MRI of the lumbar spine, suspecting a pinched nerve. An area of hypersensitivity near T11/L1 led to a second MRI of the thoracic spine w/contrast, and the next day, I was in the hospital hooked up to a Solu-Medrol IV. Met with the neurologist, who confirmed the diagnosis of RRMS after interpreting the various MRI scans.

The motor problems passed within two weeks, but I still had quite a bit of numbness throughout the month of December. By the time I went back for my followup appointment with the primary care doctor in January, most of it was gone. I've since regained full mobility and feeling in the leg. I've been back to work since early January, and am now back at the gym as well. Physically, I feel very well.

The neurologist pretty much gave me the choice of which of the CRAB drugs I chose to start, and I've got it narrowed down to either Avonex or Rebif. Unfortunately, the more I try to research the two drugs, the more confused I get; both have their pros and cons, but I'm having a really tough time trying to make my mind up as to which is best. I'm leaning toward Avonex because of the once a week dosage, but the thought of that IM needle is really unnerving.

Anyway, my biggest problem, post-diagnosis, is anxiety..mostly due to the uncertainty of the disease. I feel like I'm constantly spooled up all the time, and while my primary care doctor has prescribed Lexapro, I haven't started it. I really don't want to go on that rollercoaster of anti-anxiety drugs, trying to find one that works, and possibly feeling worse than when I started. BTW, I should also mention that I'm fortunate enough to have an extremely supportive wife, who has been absolutely phenomenal throughout all of this. I don't know where I'd be without her.

Anyway, that's my story in a nutshell. Looking forward to hearing from you all, as well as any advice that anyone might be willing to share regarding Avonex vs Rebif. I'm determined not to let this thing get the best of me, but it's nice to have someplace to talk about things with folks that have had common experiences. Thanks for reading.
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Postby RedSonja » Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:17 am

Well, hello, sorry to hear you've got MS but nice to see you here, if you understand me.

Yes, anxiety, we all have that. But I can reassure you a bit; most of us don't get worse, or at least not quickly. We just keep soldiering on, you get used to the fatigue and numbness. If you can get the CRABs then do take them, they help most of us. The reaction is different for everyone, by the way, so try one and if you don't like it then try another.

You will find when the drugs have started working (takes a few months usually) you can relax a bit. Go for a massage, take up tai chi... MS isn't deadly, isn't infectious, isn't heritable. There are other illnesses much harder to bear. Life continues, though maybe in a lower gear some of the time.

You are lucky that your wife is supportive. Many people here don't have that comfort. Hope to hear from you again.
Bibo ergo sum
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Postby Sarge » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:58 pm

RedSonja wrote:Well, hello, sorry to hear you've got MS but nice to see you here, if you understand me.


I understand completely...and thanks for the welcome. :)

Yes, anxiety, we all have that. But I can reassure you a bit; most of us don't get worse, or at least not quickly. We just keep soldiering on, you get used to the fatigue and numbness. If you can get the CRABs then do take them, they help most of us. The reaction is different for everyone, by the way, so try one and if you don't like it then try another.

You will find when the drugs have started working (takes a few months usually) you can relax a bit. Go for a massage, take up tai chi... MS isn't deadly, isn't infectious, isn't heritable. There are other illnesses much harder to bear. Life continues, though maybe in a lower gear some of the time.


Actually, I almost feel guilty posting here. While this exacerbation really scared me, I realize that there a lot of folks here who are having a much harder time of things than I am. To be honest, getting the MS diagnosis was almost a relief, considering the alternative. When I was admitted to the hospital, I was brought to the oncology ward, which was even scarier yet. I was told later that evening that the reason I got a room in oncology was because the hospital was pretty much full, but for a period of time during the first night, I was starting to think that I had a tumor on my spine, and that no one was telling me what was really going on.

I've noticed that, since this attack, I don't seem to have the strength or endurance that I had before. I get tired at the gym pretty quickly, and I can't lift the weight I used to. There have been other symptoms that have come and gone since this exacerbation, notably hand cramping, but other than occasional fatigue, I'm pretty much back to normal. My problem is that I spend too much time thinking about things, I guess.

You are lucky that your wife is supportive. Many people here don't have that comfort. Hope to hear from you again.


You're right; I'm extremely lucky in that regard. She has been amazing throughout this whole ordeal, and I couldn't ask for anyone to be more supportive than she has been. By the same token, she doesn't let me take things too seriously, and she's there to provide the proverbial kick in the ass when I start getting down. She's a tough little cookie; sometimes I think that she has more inner strength than I do.

Thanks once again for the welcome, and the words of encouragement. Glad to be here, and hope that I can make a positive contribution to the forums.
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Postby cheerleader » Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:59 pm

Hey Sarge-
Welcome. So sorry you find yourself here. My husband's story matches yours exactly (but he's 44), same side of body, same symptoms. Also had to wait overnight to get the dx, and we thought it was a tumor. MS was sort of a relief! He's been stable, no exacerbation or progression, for almost a year. He's actually done well on Copaxone, but whatever modifier you choose, stick to it. (no needle pun intended.)

He's found diet modification and supplements to be a help, too. I posted his info on the "regimen" boards. Exercise and movement is really important. Don't be afraid to take meds for fatigue or anxiety. If you need extra help, it's OK to ask. My husband tried to "tough it out" but he's much better on Effexor for depression, and provigil for fatigue.

I'm the chatty one in our family, so the boards help me...and then I can help him. Marriages can be tested by this, but can also become stronger. Best to you both as you deal with all this together-
the aging cheerleader (AC)
Husband dx RRMS 3/07
dx dual jugular vein stenosis (CCSVI) 4/09
http://ccsviinms.blogspot.com
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