I take the liberty to repost this suggestion from NHE:
Welcome to ThisIsMS. While your symptoms could potentially be due to MS, they could also be due to other, more treatable problems. One thing you could do is to document all of your symptoms and then take that to a doctor. With respect to finances, your county may have a health clinic that offers a sliding fee scale such that you could see a doctor at a very low cost. My county offers this and a doctors visit is just $20 while being seen by a nurse is just $5. There are also discounts for blood tests and prescriptions as well. In addition, there may be other groups that offer funding for low income patients should you need to be referred to a specialist.
Welcome to ThisIsMS, celticchristian. I offer you my standard action plan recommendation:
First, you may not have MS at all; it is a differential diagnosis – made by ruling out other possibilities. Very often, it is not easy or quick to diagnose My first three MRIs, EMG, and evoked response tests were normal, and it was the fourth neurologist I saw before I got my MS diagnosis. I have NEVER had a lumbar puncture (a.k.a. spinal tap). Before these expensive tests even existed, 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. 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 do not think that a specialist, a neurologist, is necessary right at the beginning of your investigation. I suggest that you find a GP or internist, with whom you are comfortable, who is compassionate and who enjoys being a "disease detective." A GP can order the tests necessary to rule out some possibilities. NHE had a very good suggestion for a new member earlier this week about a county health clinic; in my area there are free clinics for those without insurance or who cannot afford to pay. If you are financially able (testing IS expensive – ASK the hospital or lab for the price of the test BEFORE you agree to it!), start at the beginning with a thorough physical, baseline examination including blood tests for your cortisol level (elevated with stress), 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, at about $50, I think), thyroid hormone levels (TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reserve T3, and antithyroid antibodies), even a liver profile, and CRP (C-reactive protein) test (indicating inflammation). These tests are not all taken it once; your doctor would order them as he worked through the list of likely causes for your symptoms. Ask for a copy of all your test results for your own file. Since I suspect insulin involvement and insulin resistance in skeletal muscles, this could play into your muscle weakness.
Third, if you like to read and if you do 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, and most importantly, from this day forward, I encourage you to eat a healthy diet (a good idea whether or not you have MS). 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 – I think Gatorade has a lot of sugar too), 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. Personally, I think that excess insulin plays a great part in MS. 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
We are here to listen…