A Double Diagnosis?

HypochondriacAs if having the label of MS slapped on you isn’t bad enough, there’s another sneaky diagnosis that creeps up alongside it.

That of the well-meaning hypochondriac.

I never really worried about my health in those halcyon pre-MS days.

My body did what I told it to do, when I told it to. I had the usual sniffles and aches, just like anyone else. I evenĀ used to boast how strong my immune system must be as I rarely took a sick-day off work.

How times have changed. It probably all started after the first Official Relapse. I was urged to keep a symptom diary, noting down anything unusual or out of the ordinary. For the first time in my life, I was closely observing my body. Every single teeny-weeny symptom was duly logged and dated.

At the following appointment with the neurologist, he asked me about any recent symptoms. I took a deep breath and read through my list. Ten minutes later, with the neurologist no doubt planning his grocery list or clocking the cracks in the ceiling, I finished with ‘oh, and my nose sometimes twitches AND my eyelid does too. Weird, huh?’

In short, am I well on my way to becoming a full-blown hypochondriac? Not that I pester the medical staff or take up endless appointments. I am reluctant to ‘bother anyone’. I keep my anxiety to myself. But it’s awfully tiring. Or is that the MS fatigue?

It’s very difficult to differentiate between MS and non-MS symptoms. Some non-MS illnesses are made worse by MS, or at least, not helped. And am I more tired than usual because of work or because of MS? I could tie myself up in knots, if I had the energy.

I think the problem is that a lot of us with MS live with the knowledge that we are only as good as our last relapse. We scan the horizon, waiting for the next bunch of symptoms to ride over the hill.

And speaking of over the hill, I probably need to remind myself that I have indeed reached the milestone age of 40. The age when bits don’t work quite as well as they should. When we nod off in front of the telly. When we get creaky joints.

Must dash (stumble). The tip of my finger has just gone numb, perhaps I’d better jot it down…..

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12 thoughts on “A Double Diagnosis?

  1. Do you want my advice? – go talk to a counsellor and remember the glass is always half full & never half empty. So many things that MSers perceive as problems are when the mind is playing tricks. Don’t worry it happens to me as well but in a different way.

    I will be putting a video of me talking about ‘glass is half full’ up on my website sometime today. I will post you a link to it

    Remember to be positive

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I’m not quite sure how to take that comment!
      The post was observational, not a cry for help. I’ve thought long and hard about how best to reply, but I have no idea.

      • I probably got the wrong end of the stick.

        There were times when I really struggled with my MS and I wrongly thought you were having similar problems. I found it a great help talking to someone outside the family. Wife was struggling with an irritable bad tempered husband who was struggling to come to terms with SPMS. Recently taken medical etirement and everything is much rosier but we are a lot lot poorer. I guess it was the anxiety of what was going to happen that was troubling me

  2. Ooooh, how I can relate to this one! There actually are (supposedly) funny books for hypochondriacs, listing symptoms of EVERY HORRIBLE POSSIBLE DISEASE. Can you imagine? As if *that’s* a good idea for a hilarious read. No thank you! My imagination is plenty good without help.

    p.s. Yes, you should get that numb finger looked at immediately; could be flesh-eating bacteria! LOL

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Bless! It’s just funny how much in tune I am with the workings of my body now, lol. Most odd. But then perhaps I just took it for granted before?!

  3. Julie says:

    I no longer write it all down to take to the neurologist. Every time I have seen her she has been critical of the number of symptoms I have. When I told her of one symptom which plagued me every day for 7 months she glanced at the scan and said ‘There is no evidence of that’. What? I kept my cool and said nothing, tbh I just didn’t know how to react.
    At the end of the day she can’t cure it so why bother?
    I’ll keep it brief and carry on with the medication. Tsk.

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Very true. When I first ran through my list of symptoms, most were dismissed out of hand. Even though they were real, new and most definitely happening to me.
      I keep a general record just in case I’m asked (I probably won’t be).
      Mind you, I have a thyroid appointment next week, so maybe the book will come in handy!

  4. I think having an incurable disease just makes us a little more aware of our bodies and what is not working the best at the moment. the problem is when a symptom is a really important sign of something wrong and docs just think its the MS

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Couldn’t agree more!!! How often do we hear, ‘oh that’ll be the MS’. Maybe it’s because MS has so many darned symptoms. Meh.

  5. Sally says:

    Spot on. I have now developed a strange symptom about 30 mins after my second fampridine of the day (only ever the second one

  6. Sally says:

    Ooh, cut off my message there -though). My nose goes numb and itchy for about 20 minutes. Very bizarre. Don’t think I’ll bother neurologist with that one though. Lol. How are your feet? Any improvement?

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Me too!! Foot is a lot better but I think I’m just used to it now. Struggled yesterday and tripped a lot in work today. Raised a few laughs though, so not all bad!

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