Following my disastrous appointment which left me feeling like the world had ended, I spent days feeling lost. I had to snap out of it before it took over my life. I understand how you can convince yourself that you basically have any illness by reading about it too much but it was my doctors that had me convinced. As ridiculous as it sounds – I was embarrassed that my results were negative. Embarrassed because I was so convinced, because I had told people what I was going through and because I had spent so much time educating myself and my family about MS. I wasn’t convinced by my doctor though and everyone I spoke to and everything I read told me to get a second opinion; so I did.
I rung the best hospital in the state and asked to see a neurologist that specialises in MS. It was almost a miracle that they had an appointment time in less than a week so I took it! I promised myself that I would not expect anything out of this appointment because I didn’t have the strength to feel the way I did again after the last appointment. I saw my GP and asked him for a print out of all of my results from the last few months. He handed me a large booklet containing pages and pages of medical gibberish. I don’t know why I was so shocked by the size of it but I was. It was so weird to see on paper just how many times id been jabbed, poked and prodded by doctors over the last few months.
As the hospital is a long way from where I live, I stayed with my aunty who lives closer. It was great to spend time with her, we’ve always had a very special bond. Normally my visits consist of copious amounts of shopping and regular outings but this time the walk from the car into the shopping centre was more than I could handle. It frustrated me because I so desperately wanted to keep up but couldn’t. My aunty has a friend who has MS and she organised a catch up for me to ask questions and such. This lady had a lengthy diagnosis process which I’m learning is quite common for MS. Unfortunately her experience was very different to mine and it was hard to relate to but it definitely gave me an idea of how long and tedious a diagnosis would be.
The day of the appointment came around and unlike the last time, I felt nothing – numb even (pun intended). I expected nothing out of this appointment and had no hopes tied to it. I had made peace with the fact that this was going to be a long and tedious process. No expectations, no disappointments, right? The doctor was lovely; younger than expected, but very knowledgeable. His physical examination was far more thorough than the rest but the same principles – can you feel this pin prick, is this hot or cold, push/pull this muscle, blah blah. These tests are always awkward, like will you take me more seriously if I tell you what you want to hear? I tried not to think about it too much and answer as honestly as I could. He was also dumbfounded by my results. He didn’t really have anything useful to say either but at least he tried to explain things to me. He booked me in to see him again in a few months’ time for a nerve conduction test. Yay I’m a medical mystery I thought sarcastically.
While the second opinion didn’t provide me with any new answers, it did show me that I will need to learn patience in this journey because it’s going to be a long ride of not knowing. I made a conscious decision to separate myself from the idea of having MS and instead keep a very open mind. People, including my specialist keep reminding me that your body can imitate illnesses if you become too attached to the idea of them. While I don’t doubt that this is true, I don’t feel it applies to my circumstances. Still, I decided to put MS to the back of my mind and just wait.