Friday, 24 August 2012


An MS diagnosis can be a waiting game.  Symptoms can be around for years with no diagnosis or even an explanation.  And that is how it began for me.  Three years ago I had what was thought to be an odd reaction to a flu shot.  It was an incredible autoimmune response within my body that caused tingling and numbness in my arms and legs – it lasted over a month.  I went for Neuro-consults, but because it was my first episode of neurological symptoms, it was brushed off as “one of those thing.”  Eventually, the symptoms went away, and I forgot about it.  It was just one of those things.

This summer, while vacationing in the UK, I lost about 70% of vision in my right eye.  First it went kind of blurry (stress, perhaps?  That’s what everyone liked to tell me), then the colour contrast started to go, and then I could barely see.  I saw an ophthalmologist in Guernsey, who diagnosed it as optic neuritis.  Slowly my vision returned, and is now at about 95%.  I have lost some red perception, and there is permanent vision loss, but for the most part, I am lucky. 

Once this memory-inquisition begins, 2 and 2 start equalling 4.  Signs.  Symptoms.  Then you go see a Neurologist.  I was told before I even had the MRI that this was probably MS.  There are few other things that these symptoms would be indicative of.  In order for MS to be considered, there need to be 2 neurological attacks, separated in time.  Hmmm… Check.  Classic symptoms?  Check.  Then they look at the demographics usually involved in diagnosis.  Female?  Check.  Age between 30-50?  Check.  Of Northern European descent?  Check.  Light hair and light eyes?  Check.  For once in my life, I was not a medical mystery.  I could check all the boxes.

So, off I went for my MRI.  Thank God I have worked in Neurology for the past 7 years and have some wonderful, caring colleagues who like to help.   Within a week I had my MRI and had my results.  It’s a moment I will never forget…

 “There are more than 10 lesions on your brain.” 

This MS has been around for a while.  These lesions can be hard to pick up via MRI unless they’ve had time to develop.  That being said – lesions can be present without physical symptoms.  So who knows how long this has been within me – what else it’s caused?  MS can cause balance and coordination problems…. So did it factor into my broken ankle earlier this year?  Who knows.  No one will ever know.  It’s a waiting game, this disease – there is no way to predict what will happen next, or when.  It’s a Catch-22 – of the least fun kind.


  1. Sarah, am I allowed to say that I'm enjoying reading your blog!?! I know its not like its a blog about your whirl wind trip around the world but its been so interesting to read so far. Keep up the good work and keep smiling :)
    PS, this is making me want to visit you and the fam more and more, and to see canada which would be a dream! Maybe if I can save up enough, which is hard as a student ;) , you might see me in the near future....

  2. You are welcome anytime, Michelle!