So I finally saw the Neurologist, but getting there was a tad frustrating. As with most specialists, the appointment was booked months in advance and I didn’t realize that they wanted me to confirm a week in advance, oops. Still they called me and reminded me and I called back to assure them that indeed, I planned on being there.
The Friday before my appointment however, the office called me to tell me that the clinic for the day had been cancelled and that everyone would need to be rescheduled. For me it wasn’t an issue, and the appointment was only a day later, but the real problem was that Tom had taken the day off to come with me. The office was down in Vancouver, and while not an issue for me to drive there, parking is another story. I had a deep gut feeling I would run into problems and if Tom drove me, and there was no local parking, he could drop me off and find something maybe further away. So Tom and I drove by the office after visiting Stanley Park the day before my appointment (which was the original day I was supposed to be there, hey can’t waste a day together!) There were quite a few parking options available in the area, so I pushed aside the bad feeling I was getting about driving down alone, and hoped for the best that I would find somewhere to park if I left early enough.
When I say I left early enough, I did. Just shy of two hours ahead of my scheduled appointment. Traffic would be lighter going into Vancouver in the early afternoon, even when rush-hour starts it would be mostly in the opposite direction. I made good time and I would have some time to kill should I find parking near the office. Well, THAT didn’t happen. The little garage behind the medical building was full with two people stuck up on the next level realizing there was no parking and no way to turn around. I had driven halfway up the ramp before seeing this and then had to back down and then back out onto the street to get out of there. Then I did a slow drive past various parking structures, including one near VGH and saw nothing but people waiting to get in to park and not finding anything. Gah!
This was my old stomping grounds, I worked in the area for years and though the various businesses had changed the parking garages pretty much stayed the same. I tried all my tried and true options close-ish to the office but no dice. So I had to pull my ace out, park in a mall and then do my clumsy mutated rolling speed-walk to the office.
The Neuro turned out to be a really nice man who as it turns out has MS so he is VERY aware of sensory problems having experienced them himself. I know enough from doing my initial research that my symptoms can be caused by a pretty large range of conditions, some worse than others, so I had stopped reading about them.
We spoke for a while, and he noted my history and then had me walk normally, walk in a straight line (like at a drunk test) and stand still with my eyes closed. He then bonked several spots with a rubber tool, used a metal thing (almost like a tuning fork, but not a fork) and then pricked me with a pin in various spots, then he tested my strength. He said that sensory symptoms are the biggest puzzle to neurologists and it was often very hard to pin down the cause.
He said first of all, that even though my B12 was in the “normal” range (according to my own doctor) it was 25 points above the bottom of normal (normal being 150-600 and I was 175) he said this could be contributing to my issues and that he wants me to take a B12 supplement for 3 weeks and then get my blood tested to see if there is an improvement by seeing my regular doc a week later. He asked me if I was vegetarian (I’m not) and said that I may have a malabsorption issue of some sort. If there was not enough improvement I was to start getting B12 shots. He said that he didn’t necessarily think that was the source of all my problems (as it was normal, just not very good) but it wouldn’t be helping. He indicated that he suspected that my problem may lay in my spine.
He said that if it were a herniated disc or degeneration or something like that, it would typically not come and go and would be accompanied by constant pain in neck or spine which I don’t have. He also asked me if I travelled anywhere I could have been bitten by a tick, I didn’t think so (considering where we travel) but he’s going to have me tested for Lyme disease as a precaution, though highly unlikely. He said that he wanted to do a spinal MRI and have a look there for any lesions or evidence of inflammation. He said that though age is in my favour (meaning most people with MS get it earlier in life), it wasn’t to be ruled out, yet. He said MS is a different disease for everyone and though it typically will show in the brain it doesn’t always and some people with lesions all over don’t have symptoms. Again, many afflictions share similar symptoms, so it is a case of process of elimination.
He said it also could just be a one-time inflammation of the spine and by one-time he means that I could continue to have flare-ups but the inflammation could go away and the symptoms would bother me less and less over time. I could be something else but without testing and time, you can’t rule out stuff. So I’m now waiting for the spinal MRI to be booked and I’m started on my B12 supplements. It would be magic if the B12 was the whole problem but he didn’t think so. Still, you never know! Maybe I’m a freak who needs a really high level of B12?
Once the MRI is booked, I’m to call his office and schedule a follow-up visit for the results. Based on the last go-round I expect that won’t be happening for a few months. In the meantime, I’m trying to listen to my body and give myself a pass instead of trying to do everything when I need to.