The diagnosing of Multiple Sclerosis is an emotional and time-consuming process. People go to their doctor for issues they are dealing with and normally never expect the doctor to come back with a diagnosis of MS, but it happens. Once the doctor expects Multiple Sclerosis as a possibility there are a few tests that need to be done before making the diagnosis become real. The following are the tests that most patients will go through before they get a final diagnosis.
- Blood tests: These simple tests just help rule out any other possible diseases.
- Lumbar Puncture: This is a small sample of fluid that is removed from the spinal cord and used for laboratory analysis. This test will show any abnormalities in the antibodies that are associated with Multiple Sclerosis. This test also can rule out infections and other conditions with symptoms that are similar to Multiple Sclerosis. Headaches can occur after a lumbar puncture that can last a few hours or even up to a week. It is also possible to have back discomfort in the lower back which can radiate into your legs.
- MRI: An MRI reveals areas of Multiple Sclerosis lesions on the brain and or spinal cord. During an MRI you will possibly receive an intravenous injection of contrast material to highlight lesions indicating disease in the active phase.
Early symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis do vary, but a very common symptom is blurred vision or double vision. The main problem that led to my diagnosis was Optic Neuritis. Optic Neuritis in an inflammation that damages the optic nerve, which is a bundle of nerve fibers that transmit visual information from the eyes to the brain. This can be accompanied with pain and temporary vision loss in one or both eyes. Optic Neuritis does typically improve in time, but can possibly come back at any time. About 50% of people who experience Optic Neuritis develop Multiple Sclerosis. I am not saying that Optic Neuritis is the cause of MS, but it is one of the first symptoms that is experienced.
When I was first diagnosed, almost 17 years ago I immediately had a MRI. Once the results came in from the MRI, I was informed that I had profound MS lesions so I did not have to do the lumbar puncture. I was pretty scared when the doctor mentioned the lumbar puncture to me, so in a strange way I was relieved there were so many lesions to indicate I did have MS. Who would ever be happy they had so many lesions to prove that what they were experiencing was a lifelong illness?
The final diagnosis is not the end of what you go through. There are so many emotions to confront and process. I will say that a diagnosis of MS is not the end and life can still go on. It is so important to remember who you are because you are not just MS! You are still the person you were before you received the diagnosis, you just have a little more to accept and deal with.
With March being Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month I had decided that I was going to do several posts about the illness. I think awareness is very important, especially because the amount of people dealing with the illness seems to be increasing. It may currently be an incurable illness that we deal with for life, well until there is a cure, but we still have so much life to live! Informing others about what we deal with can be helpful for us and for those we inform because the more that understand, the more hope we have for a cure! I believe in staying positive and looking towards a brighter future!
I hope y’all had a lovely and relaxing weekend! The weekends always go by so fast and there is always so much we want to get accomplished, but often forget a few important things to accomplish, rest and allowing our body to heal! I only left my house once this weekend and the rest of the time stayed comfortable on the couch either reading or writing. I think this was very much-needed and I hope that will pay off for me this upcoming week! I do appreciate you visiting my site today and look forward to any comments you may have. I will respond to all of your fantastic comments as quickly as I can. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and I hope y’all have an amazing week! As always, I am sending y’all lots of love and comfort!