My Diagnosis Story

My Diagnosis Story



Hey, my head isn't so empty!
Hey, my head isn't so empty!

Everyone has a story to tell.  The story of the day they were first introduced to multiple sclerosis.

For some the diagnosis takes a long time.  Seeing doctor after doctor, undergoing test after test, until finally getting the answer they never wanted.

Others, like me, are dx’d right away.  Guess I’m a lucky one.  (It’s the only time in my life when I made the honor roll!)

And yet, some souls are still searching for what ails them.



Open wide and say "Ahhhhhhh."
Open wide and say "Ahhhhhhh."



During a routine physical with my family physician, (and later confirmed by an MRI) I met my new, life-mate, bosom-buddy, MS.




Why are stethoscopes so damm cold?
Why are stethoscopes so damm cold?


It was September of 1996, and I was acing this physical!

I was 33 years-old and in prime shape—a lean, mean, fighting machine.


Almost ready to wrap it up, my Doc asked if I had any problems.  Thinking nothing of it, I told him of the numbness in my left hand.  (Pinched nerve, I figured)

I also described how I was having problems with my right leg.  It seemed to stop working about a half-mile into a run.

“Who needs to run more than a half mile anyway, right Doc?  Hehehe.”

He wasn’t laughing.


An examination?  Or foreplay?
An examination? Or foreplay?



My doctor lightly ran his fingers around my bare waist.

Either he was onto something or this was going to be my opportunity to write to Penthouse magazine.

“Can you feel my touch?” he asked.

“No” I replied.



Next, he had me lay back on the table and run my right heel up & down my left shin.

My heel didn’t follow the straight course of my shin.

The twisty PCH
The twisty PCH



Instead, weaving & turning, it looked as though I was driving the Pacific Coast Highway!


He then excused himself from the examination room.

Through thin walls, I could hear him scheduling an MRI.

When he returned, he sat down.

I blurted out…”I guess the physical’s over!”  (Not to mention my chance to write to Penthouse!)

He said, “Look, I believe we have a serious problem here.  I think you have MS.”


So, as in a special on the Lifetime Network, dramatic music plays as we see a close-up of a tearful Merideth Baxter Birney.

And thus began my story as a new member of the MS Club.

A story now 15 years long, and continuing.

It’s ironic that my journey with MS would begin like most letters to a men’s magazine…..”Dear Penthouse, I never thought this would happen to me, but…….”


How does your MS diagnosis story read?

Please share your words as I would love to hear your tale!



7 Replies to “My Diagnosis Story”

  1. Mine took a little over a decade to be diagnosed. When a person has extra weight on them, everyone seems to always jump the gun and blame the weight. It took a Nurse Practitioner to read my entire medical history and realize all of the things I had happening had been disappearing after various times. She did her own cold metal along the heal, leg, arms, back tests…and I flunked them. She said she believed I had MS and referred me directly to the Neuro that late evening. Many tests (including the dreaded spinal) and I had the diagnosis on that cold snowy night…I have MS and should bring my wife into my followup in 2 days. And all those years I thought it was all in my head….well, guess it really was.

  2. Speckled Brain,

    Yikes, a spinal! That would scare the you-know-what out of me.
    Welcome to the club. You are an esteemed member!

  3. I have a really long story, but I’ll make it short. I started having “strange” occurences at age 28 (before MRI) yes, I’m that old. I was diagnosed with migraine. Off and on for the 28 years or so, I had a plethora of odd symptoms that would come and go. I was dx’d with chronic fatigue syndrome, then fibromyalgia, and at one point they told me I was just plain crazy. In 2008 I started to have really serious symptoms, which the docs attributed to one of the 3 former dx’s. In 2009 when I went blind in one eye, and could barely walk, I was finally sent for a CTscan and MRI. The MRI changed everything and I was dx’d with RRMS a month after the MRI and just about every medical test known to man. So, although my MS dx is fairly new, the docs now figure I have had it since my late twenties.

  4. My dx came six years after my first attack in 1999. That first one developed a week or two after I came down with an upper respiratory virus,causing left-sided arm numbness/weakness, fatigue, a limp, and dizziness. I saw six different specialists and visited the ER with breathing problems. A significant number of professionals I saw told me I was having panic attacks and or was stressed. The sane ones explained that the virus was causing the breathing problems and gave me prednisone, which helped, and urged me to see a good neurologist. I quickly learned to distinguish a good one from a bad one.

    I finally found a good neurologist who put me in the hospital. That pesky virus did two things: (1)it triggered the attack, and (2) it skewed the LP results. Two lesions showed up in the C-spine, but my neuros advised that this could either be MS or a one-time autoimmune glitch that sometimes happens with viruses. The symptoms resolved by about 75% after a few months and I went back to work with a “cervical myelopathy of unknown origin” dx.

    After that, it was a waiting game. I had a second attack five years later, followed by a year of testing. No virus this time, a new lesion appeared in the brain, and the LP was positive for the right number of O-bands, so I got the dx in 2005.

    Since then I’ve been gobsmacked by the number of MSers who had similar experiences, most notably having to run the gauntlet of the “it’s all in your head/panic attacks/stress” brigade.

    Oh, the hurdles we must jump to qualify for the MS track team!

  5. Well, two years ago my hands went numb, feet legs then left sd of face . Lasted twoish weeks me and doc chalked it up to stress. Fast forward to last November, it started with a hellish bought of vertigo, numbness everywhere, my right foot dropped. I remember every morning waking up and crying because it was the worst in my feet and I toldd my husband, pleas
    e God, not my feet . I drove my drs nutts, my neuro found the widespread
    Nerve damage, said this looks like ms, I passed the lp and mris, but flunked exam and ncs. I’m still sitting on the ms fence. I can still walk but not for long periods
    ,so things are different. You know what, as long as I take each day as a blessing, it could be a hell of a lot worse! Love and light. Olivia

  6. I like you starting having problems with my right leg. And never mind it was while on a trip during 4th of July. At first I thought I had some sort of stroke. When returning home I made an appointment with my GP. He did some reflex tests and sure enough he said those wonderful words “I think you have MS. So next time the neurologist was in town he did basically the same tests except his were a little intensive. “I’d like you to come to Rochester and have a spinal tap and an MRI. Sure as shootin’ I was another “chosen one”. This was in 1999. My motto is “It is what it is” Although they misdiagnosed me. They said it was RR. “So when does it remit? I found out in recent years it should have been Progressive. Now I have Secondary Progressive and in a wheelchair. If I knew then what I know now. I love your column. It keeps me laughing cuz’ I can relate to so much of it. I figure if you lose your sense of humor you may as well hang it up. To all those newly diagnosed, yes it is gonna be a battle but don’t give up the fight.

  7. My story began similar to yours. I went to the doc in Nov 2011 because my lower back hurt. All The Time. Chiro didn’t help. She gives me muscle relaxants, takes pictures, finds nothing and sends me for the MRI. It comes back normal. Huh.

    So in Dec, my hands go all tingly and numb. I work on a computer for a living, as well as crochet and knit, so I just assumed carpal tunnel. Back to the doc. More MRIs. EMG and nerve conducion tests. Turns out I surprisingly had just a touch of carpal tunnel. No, the numbness was caused by the six little white spots around my brain and spinal cord. And now I have an excuse – “It really is brain damage! Honest!”.