Wednesday, February 17, 2010

aha moment: coming out of my shell.

aha moment: coming out of my shell.

Fantastic Doctor

This is not an MS problem, but it ties in with yesterday's blog about good and bad doctors. By the way, the picture is looking toward Salem with the snow-covered Appalacian mountains in the background.

I have had numbness to the point of deadness in my little finger and ring finger and half the palm of my left hand for months now. Yesterday, I had an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The building was huge, with lots of patients waiting, and 13 doctors in the practice. I figured it would take forever. However, I hadn't finished signing in when I was called back to the inner sanctum. Dr. Hagan walked in and introduced himself, asked if he could pet Monty, spoke to both myself and my husband in a pleasant manner, and was all-around very nice. He examined my hand, arm and elbow, then looked over the records my neuro had had sent over.

I was diagnosed with cubital ulnar nerve compression, which is going to need surgery to correct the problem. There are no guarantees that I will eventually regain the use of my two fingers, or the strength in my thumb (which was also affected), but I am not hesitating to have this surgery as soon as they can work me into the schedule.

Dr. Hagan will make a 3" incision over my elbow region, and adjust the nerve in the canal that it runs through where it is being compressed. He said it's possible that he will also have to do something (I forget this part) with the muscle that covers the nerve. The surgery will take about an hour, and it will be outpatient surgery, and I'll have to wear a splint on my arm for a week.

I'm hoping it's soon, because I want to get this over with and get fixed up. I'm having a very hard time typing, using only two fingers on my left hand when I'm used to using four. I also have a hard time gripping things, and drop things right and left. It's very frustrating. However, there is no pain--only the dead numbness.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I was thinking back to all the neurologists that I've seen through these past 20 years. I knew something was definitely wrong, when one morning I woke up to find the entire right-hand side of my body numb. I went to my regular doctor who said it probably was stress and gave me some pills. Finally, I got in to see my first neurologist. He wasn't a very nice man. He ended up yelling at me that a person couldn't have "that many things wrong" and I quit seeing him.

My next neurologist came highly recommended. He wanted to do a spinal tap, said he never used anything to numb the area. Like a dumb sheep, I went along with what he said. Well, he missed the first time and had to re-do it. By then, I was laying there sobbing. When he eventually told me that it wasn't MS, that it was all in my head and he had a friend who was a psychiatrist, I quit going to him.

I finally found an internist who was willing to sit and listen to me. He took one symptom at a time and worked with it. He followed me clinically, then sent me for an MRI which showed plaques. What a relief!

My last neurologist was an outstanding doctor and person. I saw him for three years. He diagnosed me as Secondary Progressive, and also agreed that I needed to begin Tysabri. Unfortunately, he moved to another part of the state the end of December.

I'm scheduled to see a new neurologist the first of March. I've heard good things about him, that he takes the time to sit and talk to you, and that he cares about his patients. I sure hope so! At least, all he'll have to do is pick up where my last one left off since I'm diagnosed and on treatment.

I've learned that I don't have to do what a doctor tells me, I don't have to take sh*t from a person just because he has an MD after his name, and I know my body a lot better than they do.