Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Medical Adventures: Part 1: Hand Tremors and MS Worries

I realize the last entry was a bit cryptic, but here is the back story on it. Also, spoiler alert...I am fine now. I wrote that when I was waiting on test results to come back.

At the beginning of March 2013, I went to Illinois for two weeks to take care of my mom after her knee replacement surgery. While I was there, I had some random symptoms that had been sporadic, but were coming on a bit more often. My right hand was having this weird weakness/tremor. I would be holding something and it would just fall out of my hand or I would be making coffee, my hand would flutter and I would have ground coffee all over the counter. Super annoying as you can imagine. I originally thought that it was just a getting older thing or a being stressed thing, but when I asked around, I found this was not a common thing.

Because my first cousin has MS, I was, of course, concerned that it may be a possibility. I, of course, jumped on the internet and read up on it. I figured worst case if I was wrong, I would learn more about my cousin's disease. I learned a lot actually which was kind of cool. The most disconcerting thing I found out was that according to the Mayo Clinic, I am considered middle aged (35-45). This hurt more than any of my physical pain.

When I got back to Seattle, I scheduled my first appointment with my regular doctor. My doc said that she didn't think it was MS because symptoms were like a light switch; they are either on or off. My symptoms were more of a short in the electrical wiring causing a random flicker. She did a quick neurological exam (the equivalent of giggling the handle) and said everything was normal, but a little bit of weakness in my right hand. She suggested a physical therapy evaluation and an neck MRI to be sure. I was a bit relieved that she wasn't instantly concerned. She was pretty causal about the whole thing.

I had to get the MRI approved ahead of time from the insurance company so I did the physical therapy session first. Until this point, I had no pain just weakness and spasms. This changed after my appointment. I was in so much pain after that. It was like a butcher knife lodged in my right shoulder and a vibrating pain up and down my arm that felt like I was hitting my funny bone over and over again. Ice seemed to help. Heat did not. I had read that MS responds well to ice so this did not calm my nerves on the subject much.This pain lasted almost two weeks. It was bad. I do not recommend.

I get my MRI approved after about a week. I have had MRIs in the past (I have a long medical history of all kinds of stuff). It turns out that this is the kind where they put a cage over your head and then squish you in the coffin-sized cave of noises. I don't have an issue with small places, but put a cage on my head, confine me to a dark tight space, have large scary noises pounding and then add worry that this might show you have MS...well, how bad can that be, right? They did let me listen to the radio. Surprisingly, I made it through the whole session with my eyes gripped tight and doing my impression of Peach in Finding Nemo when Darla comes. "I'm in my happy place! I am in my happy place! I AM IN MY HAPPY PLACE!"

The results came back pretty quick. My doc had me come in to her office for the results. She said that everything looked okay, but I do have a bit of a herniated disc which is what was causing all the pain from the physical therapy session. This is on the opposite side of where my pain was which made no sense to her or me, for that matter. However, these issues were put on hold because the real fun was about to start with one little sentence at the bottom of the report: "Incidental note of bilateral thyroid cysts or nodules."

Next Up: Medical Adventures: Part 2: Thyroid Spots and You

No comments: