Sunday, 27 June 2010

MS update June 2010


Well, it's been an interesting month and I'm not talking about the world cup! I posted before that I had developed numbness from the waist down; well, that's resolved to a great extent, or to an extent that I don't notice it too much. If I touch my legs and feet there is still 'altered sensation' but, I think my brain has just got used to it and I can drive and have been back at work. When I had just developed the aforementioned numbness I happened to have my annual review with the specialist MS consultant, which was good. I explained the situation to him and he didn't say that he would have to review the diagnosis of primary progressive MS (PPMS), but explained that, these diseases don't necessarily fit into the man-made categories that academics like! So, he ordered an MRI scan to see if there had been any significant change in the brain scan. I'll have to read up on this as I imagined that more would be seen on a scan of the spinal cord, but, the outcome is the same in any case.

So, I went for the MRI scan and it really is no bother at all. You just lie very still in this long metal tube that buzzes and makes clicking noises. This time a contrast medium was used to highlight different parts of the brain. When I went for the review appointment just a week or so ago, I asked the consultant if I could have a few of the images for my own photo album - so here they are! (remember to click for the full-size image)

The front of my head is to the top of the picture.

This is the same view of my head but with a contrast medium injected just before the scan was taken. All the blood vessels and 'sinuses' are highlighted.

This is a view from the side of my head a 'sagittal' view. If you look to the front of my head (that's on the left of the picture) you'll notice that my nose is missing. It's OK, though, they added it in at the back (look where the red arrow is pointing!), at least they got it in!

More complications!

So, where was I? Oh, yes. The numbness in my lower half began to recede. It's not away, but, I can live with it. I wanted to get back to work (this would be at the beginning of May), so, I saw my GP and arranged that. The day after I saw my doctor, I began to get tingling in my right hand! Oh no! It has got steadily worse until all the fingers are affected to some degree and the palm of my hand too. More worrying for me is the fact that the 'motor function' (that is the strength and dexterity of control) seems to be affected too. So, writing is difficult. I can do it, but, slowly and only for about half a page. From a dental point of view, I can't teach or treat patients as I can't take the risk, so, I spoke to our Head of School and told him what was going on. The dental school has been really great to me throughout all of this and allowed me to pursue a desk job, really, for the last two months and will review matters at the end of July.

Up to date:

Well, things are much the same. I can drive and hold a cup, but trying to do anything more delicate than that is difficult. Interestingly, the consultant said that since I have had two 'relapses' in quite a short time that he is keen that I try some of the 'disease modifying' drugs which are available. Great, that just means popping more pills? Actually, no. I've got to inject myself approximately every two days! I get my own syringes and needles, etc., and after I've been trained to do it (a dentist!!), I've got to make this a disciplined and regular part of my life. The MS nurse sent me a link to a website with several demonstrations of patients doing there own injections...Mmm. I know, I know..I'm a dentist and have been injecting patients for years and years and now, well, I'm not too keen at having to inject myself! Do you have sympathy for me? No, I didn't think so!

A New MS Friend:

I was at a dental study day recently, when I got chatting to a very nice lady whom I've spoken to before, but not for some time. She had obviously discovered that I've got MS and revealed to me that her daughter who is in her early 20s has MS too. She mentioned a few things relating to her daughter, and it came into my mind that I'd like to be in contact with this young lady and quiz her on her own experience. So, we've exchanged quite a few emails in just a few days. To say she's been helpful and informative is an understatement! I don't think I've 'met' anyone so knowledgeable on MS ever. Jenna, thanks! You've been a great help!

Armed Forces Day, 2010

I like to finish with a photo. We went to the Glasgow Armed Forces Day to show support for our serving, injured and veteran soldiers; and, especially to pause and remember those who have given their lives in the many past and present conflicts. It was good to see all those who turned out for the events in George Square. After the speeches, marching, an amazing flypast of a Dakota (four times!), there was music and a dance group called the Kennedy Cupcakes doing some 1940s routines. Predictably, Matthew got his photo taken with them!


  1. Nanaustralia here. Have been going back again through your posts and enjoying your earlier mentions of your 'journeying companions'(Charles Finney; Norman Grubb; Eliz.Fry; C S Lewis; Samuel Rutherford; David Wilkerson; Gerhardt Terstegen).
    All of these have also been a blessed part of our own story. Coud you write more about yours and Susie's book-friends?
    Last week was the 65th anniv. of our marriage, so our book-mentors are an uncountable blessing.
    Greetings from us here - waydownunder :)

  2. Dear Nan, firstly congratulations to you both! We're only married 23 years so feel like beginners by comparison! As for your request - I'll do my very best! Watch this space!

  3. Thanks Paul.

    > " ... 'The familiar faces of my books welcomed me. I threw myself into my reading chair and gazed around me with pleasure.
    All my old friends present - there in spirit, ready to talk with me any moment when I was in the mood, making no claim upon my attention when I was not. ... '<
    George MacDonald - 1824-1905

  4. late P.S >
    commending Eugene Peterson's 'Take and Read'