But I am going to do it anyway, because [insert wobbly voice] if there's a chance I can help one, just ONE, person [orchestra swelling] recognize a weird symptom they've been quietly freaking out about, then it'll be worth it. Okay, that's atcually kind of true, as cliche and embarrassing as it sounds. That's because it happened to me. There was a totally scary symptom I was having, and I didn't feel better about it until I read that it is something that can happen when you have MS. When I read that -- quite by accident; I was perusing this blog, in fact -- I literally sat at my desk and cried with relief. I'm not a big crier, so this was a big deal, but that's how much I'd been freaking out.
Onward, ho! Here are my Top 5 Weird MS Symptoms (and, YES, they're MS -- please, if you like me even a little bit, don't tell me they're also symptoms of something else). Oh, and you can't read further until I remind you that I am not a doctor, so obviously any of the things I talk about below are personal experiences and in no way constitute anything resembling actual professional medical advice:
1. One pupil bigger than the other. This earns the top spot on my list because this is the one that was so damn scary. I'd very recently had a bout of optic neuritis, which was affecting my right eye. Later, my neurologist explained the optic neuritis was why I had that !($&ing big pupil. But that talk didn't happen until a couple of months after I first noticed this freaky symptom. Until I knew it was related to MS, I was a mess. I vividly remember being in the mall one day and stopping at every other mirror to check my pupils. Yep, the right one was still bigger! Forget about being alone in a bathroom. There, I could examine my pupils for as long as I wanted, while imagining the horrible reasons for the different sizes. Even though I was in anguish, I was too scared to go to the doctor -- just in case he or she confirmed my worst fears. Irrational? Indeed! So it was by pure chance that I stumbled across a reference to this phenomenon in the blog I linked to above. The relief was overwhelming. Thank you, Julie Stachowiak. You'll never know it, but you took an enormous weight off my shoulders (and made me cry!).
2. Water dripping on me. This one is more annoying than scary. But I had about a week where I could swear water was dripping on me. The first few times, I looked up. Nope, not raining in my living room! The urge to wipe off the invisible "water" was irresistible. No amount of wiping helped. Drip, drip, drip. Then a long pause. Drip. It was so strange. That little gem hasn't returned.
3. Head zaps. Oh, this one sucked. I was out of town for work when the first zap happened. It was an intense, shooting, split-second pain in the back of my head. Naturally, I thought I had a brain tumor or an aneurysm. After conferring with my neurologist by phone, I went to the ER, where I got a CT scan (so if I didn't have a brain tumor then, just give it a few years what with the radiation and all). The scan showed nothing. But the head zaps became my buddy that week. I could count on one to happen every morning as soon as I stood up from bed. Next one: in the shower, right on schedule. The third? After breakfast. And on and on. When I finally got home, my neurologist ordered an MRI. It showed lots of new lesions, and bloodwork indicated very low levels of Vitamin D. A course of steroids and some mega, prescription-level doses of Vitamin D nipped the zaps in the bud. They've come back a couple of times, but only once or twice, and never for a week. Thank God.
4. Muffled hearing. In the midst of the gross heatwave we're experiencing on the East Coast this week, I've noticed this one recently. If go outside in the heat, when I come back indoors my hearing is muffled -- as if I were underwater. It takes about 10 minutes in the air conditioning for my ever-so-keen hearing to return to normal ("Captain Nap?! Are you vomiting in there?").
|"It was Squeaky."|
So there you have it. Of course, I've had the gamut of more "normal" MS symptoms: drop foot, the MS "hug," fatigue, numbness, memory problems, the need to be always near a bathroom, cellulite*...MS really is the gift that keeps on giving.
*Ignore what I said earlier about not being a medical professional. I've changed my mind, and I've determined that MS causes cellulite.