I write because I want to find an MS specialist in the Pittsburgh, PA area, and/or some help in diagnosis, etc.
For the past year, I have been experiencing a wide array of strange symptomology.
I already have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Celiac Disease. (The Celiac may be of the
unresponsive, Refractory nature...we do not know yet.) However, I have been gluten-free for awhile now,
and my arthritis has calmed down substantially and is pretty much in remission aside from an occasional flare.
I am worried that, with these 2 autoimmune conditions, there may be a 3rd lurking within and going undiagnosed!
I have been extremely ill and a lot of the symptoms match up with those of MS. I am only 25 years old and have taken
a medical withdrawal from graduate school, and, in March, took a temporary medical leave of absence from the school where I work. I have even considered going on disability, as my symptoms are sometimes extremely debilitating.
I write because I want to find an MS specialist around here, instead of a general neurologist, or just some help and answers. I have had 2 brain MRI's - one in Nov. and one last week - both of which
are clear of lesions and abnormalities. However, while this is a relief, I am still concerned about my symptoms and
wanted to know if it is possible to have a clear brain scan early on if you do have it.
All of my symptoms are as follows:
Severe and Debilitating Fatigue
Random pains and aches
Cognitive difficulties (forgetting things, unable to concentrate, stuttering over words, etc.)
Severe mental fatigue/brain fog (feeling "out of it")
Stumbling over words
Tingling in hands/feet
Loss of sensation in feet
Sometimes have to "concentrate" to swallow (?)
General overall discomfort
Shooting pains in head
Blurry vision (a newer symptom)
Hazy vision (also newer)
Damage to central vision confirmed by field vision test (but thought to be caused by Plaquenil use in the past)
Despite having Celiac, I barely have any digestive or gastrointestinal symptoms. I used to get nausea every morning but it went away with the GF diet. My only GI symptom is constipation which I've battled off and on through my life.
Most of my symptoms could overlap with either the Celiac or Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, the Neurological ones seem odd. Again, they could be from the malnutrition/malabsorption factor of untreated Celiac, but I don't know.
My last test showed high gliadin antibodies (celiac) and a high rheumatoid factor if that is relevant. My vitamin levels are normal and I was tested negative for Sjorgen's or Lupus. Though it could be fibromyalgia that would only explain some of my symptoms.
If you could let me know what you think about my situation I'd appreciate it. While I was relieved that my brain MRI was clear, I'm also just frustrated and worried that I'm not getting better and nothing is helping me at this point.
I should also note that my aunt has MS...I do not know if it is genetic.
If you could offer insight and/or recommend me to a specialist, I'd appreciate it. Right now I'm seeing a neurologist, but I'd like to work w/ someone who specializes specifically in MS.
I doubt I have MS b/c of the clear MRI but better safe than sorry. I'd feel better with a confirmed "no, you don't have it!" or a definite answer either way, really, so I can get on the path to treatment and wellness, and continue on with my life! Would it be worthwhile, at this point, to get a spinal tap? What if my neurologist does not suggest that - would it be prudent to inquire? I don't want to appear pushy or like I'm just being a hypochondriac! I'm just so tired and in such pain and sick of it!!
PS: I would also like to add to my list of symptoms that I have a history of Bell's Palsy, as well, if that is relevant, and sometimes suffer from facial pain and sometimes tingling.