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Old 01-16-2010, 03:28 AM   #1
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MS/Diabetes/Alcoholism effects

Hello,

I'm a relatively healthy 28yr old male. I have the ability to goto the gym, do hours of cardio, lift upto and more than 200lbs with my feet, never any problem lifting weights with my arms and such. I am currently outside of my home country and I'm paying very high rates for doctors, so I'm looking for ideas and maybe things to try to help cancel out certain concerns to help avoid major doctors fees. I will be paying to further find out what my problem is, but I thought I'd post to see if I could try to further investigation on my own.

I've been a very hard binge drinker since the age of about 18yrs old. It's not every day, but when it happens every few days, it happens extremely hard. I've been consistent for about 10yrs. I had an episode when I was about 21yrs old where it felt like half my body went numb, my right side I believe. No pain, I was able to walk normal, it just felt like it was asleep. The only thing that was truly effected was my finger tips. I stopped drinking until the symptoms went away, took a few weeks maybe, and everything went away except my finger tips. I can feel pain if they're hurt, I can play guitar and keep a decent song up, but the tips have felt "asleep" since then. I started drinking again when the numbness in the body went away but not the fingers. I gave it a few weeks and started again. I didn't drink daily, but when it would happen it would be out of control binge drinking (again). My walking started getting affected a few years later, almost as if my legs would just flop forward and backwards, tripping on small curbs here and there, but only after maybe 1-3hrs of standing/walking. This would come and go, there would be times I could run without incident, but then sometimes it would be worse where I would have to sit and stretch my legs for half an hour then start again and they would be fine. When I would do my binge drinking it would almost get to a point where I would not be able to walk, because of the weakness, and when I would get up in the morning it would be fine. Sometimes though, rarely, I'd be completely fine for walking while on the drink. Recently I went through some personal turmoil and was drinking more than I ever had in my life. I woke up one morning and my right eye was a little odd, felt almost bruised, almost like i was staring at a screen for too long, i kept drinking constantly for about 2 weeks more, and my vision in my right eye started to get blurry. I went to a doctor, told him the problems with the legs, the eyes, the weakness, and he said all signs pointed to MS, I did my research too and mentally prepared myself for this. He did basic strength tests (which I know don't diagnose MS) and sat there for a moment almost puzzled. There's a Vitamin B deficiency that has VERY similar symptoms to MS which he told me about. I told him about my alcohol problem, and then he asked me to start taking thiamine and other related vitamins. I have been clean for a week now, taking my vitamins, and there will be days that I can walk fine, then others that are still weak after an hour or so of walking, my eye has stop hurting, but is still blurry at points. Combined with the alcohol abuse, I have been under enormous stress that I have never felt before that can apparently have similar symptoms. He said this might also be the issue at hand.

I will be getting an MRI for the MS test, but I'm curious if anyone knows of ways that I might be able to rule out any other problems that this might be because the cost is so much. Unfortunately I cannot goto the doctor as much as I require, and I'm wondering if this is infact a problem that my alcohol abuse/stress has caused, how long will it take with the proper nutrition to notice a semi-permanent effect/turn-a-round. At one point, I had stopped for 3 months, and I had noticed a difference in my walking, and fingers. The vision thing is new and has only been here for about 2-3 weeks. There has never ever been anything remotely close to pain at all. Just numbness, when I goto the gym or get involved with anything that requires strength (other than walking or running), I am good with it and can spend hours in an environment like that. It's just the walking and running that get me.

Diabetes also runs in my family, but I have been tested within the last 2yrs and nothing was there.

I'm wondering if anyone else out there has had a similar problem, has heard of this and might offer any tips aside from the obvious alcohol problem which I am working towards correcting. Is there a certain length of time that a MS attack can last, if it's a deficiency issue, how long does it take to correct the deficiency, ect...

Thank you for your time

 
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:30 AM   #2
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MSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB UserMSNik HB User
Re: MS/Diabetes/Alcoholism effects

Hi there. What a story that is. First of all, you may have done some damage to your liver. Anyone who drinks like you say you have- is at risk for liver damage. How that presents, is not something Im familiar with; although I have recently seen some people who are dying from liver damage- its not pretty. The liver is an organ which if drinking stops- can regenerate, to answer your question, this would include permanent stopping of drinking.

As for the MS related questions- there is only one way to diagnos MS and that is to rule out everything else. Most people are not fortunate, and undergo testing quite a few times, up to a year or more- before a definative diagnosis is given; others, like myself, find that one MRi shows enough lesions (along with symtoms) to get a dx quickly. The MRI will be the most important test you get. Make sure its with and without contrast, and that they scan both your brain and spine. lesions hide in strange places sometimes.


Yes, B deficiency is somthing that presnts in many ways like MS. SO does Lymes, Fibromyalgia and a host of other diseaeses. Unfortunately, youre going to need constant testing of your blood levels (and to stop drinking) if its a deficeiency thing- and if it is a deficiency thing- youl need B injections monthly for years before the bdoy accepts the "right' levels. You cant treat B deficiency with simple vitamin supplements to straighten it out permanently. Also, your body will be sensitive to how much B you are giving it, which is why it absolutely needs to be monitored by blood work...you can overdose on this.

Youre other symtoms do not scream MS; and to be honest, physically you are doing more then most men with MS are capable of doing. IF you are fortunate enough to have a very slow progression of the disease, even by now, you will start seeing some permanent changes in your strength and ability. MS doesnt regenerate- once the changes happen, they generally either slowly continue to get worse, or quickly progress into a worsening stage. Now, would be the time to get a handle on it, as their are drugs out there to slow the progression, however, they are extremely expesnive and once you start them, you shouldnt stop them. If you dont start them, you are gambling with how the disease will progress.

You sound like an intelligent person- who knows something is wrong. My advice is to stop drinking completely-- as alcohol will interfer with test results and obvsiously give you symtoms which arent medically related. Also alcoholism isnt somthing you can start and stop- you have to make a committment to stop entirely if you want to rule out this being a side effect to your problems.

You need a neurologist to start testing you to rule out everything else. Unfortunately, this is costly. You say you are out of your home country, but dont explain those circumstances..are you student?? .is going home an option? Is the health care better where you are now? Can you apply for a visa wherever you are to get you medical help? Cant help you without knowing where you are, where home is, and what the cicumstances are...if you care to share, maybe someone here can offer more advice on cutting costs.

i do hope youll stop drinking and that you start to feel better, unfortunately, the tests are required to figure this out.
Nikki
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Old 01-16-2010, 08:02 PM   #3
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Re: MS/Diabetes/Alcoholism effects

Nikki,

Thank you so much for your detailed response. I appreciate it.

I refuse to rule out MS, but the only other reason I suspect it might be a problem with alcohol is because of the severity that I've abused it growing up. I'm a musician that's grown up around booze from a very young age around it, and like I said, it didn't happen everyday, but when it happened, it happened hard and could go for days. This routine went on for almost a decade.

I'm a Canadian that was living in New York and Los Angeles before he came to Australia to escape that life style. I'm here because I am completely detached from that lifestyle and I'm looking to clean up. I definitely could go back to Canada for the free Health Care, but I'd also be around my best friends in the world who are able to lead that lifestyle that I chose to leave. It's a tough decision because the lifestyle back home is very fun, but the lifestyle here is very clean, but expensive. I will get the MRI, but I'm essentially trying to find a way to rule out "this and that" before I opt to spend my food and accommodation money on it. These things will work themselves out (finances, ect...) but I'm looking for opinions and other ideas from people that know what they're talking about outside of my $70 minimum visit to my doctor here. Even with insurance, I get the money back, but it's the having it up front for the testing and such that kills me. Blood work + the visit alone is $170, the MRI is another $400... anyhow.

The last time something similar to this happened, I stopped drinking for 3 months and my symptoms almost went away completely. I asked a partner I was with at the time to confirm this. I also just spoke to another doctor who mentioned this could happen if I followed proper sober protocol.

I've been clean for a week now and the symptoms, well some are gone and some are still present, or getting better. The last time I had a drink, it was a definite indication that something is very wrong. Although not as bad as before because it was a week before my previous drink before that. I've fully come to terms that I may definitely have MS, and I'm mentally preparing myself for such a life, although I don't think one can really fathom or predict what it will be like.

Do you have any ideas of how I might be able to rule out "this and that" while I'm saving for the MRI? I'm taking thiamine, b12, folic acid, and a tablet mixture of the B compounds with Vitamin C, Vitamin H, Magnesium and Zinc.

Do you happen to know what the overdose limit is for the Vitamins? I would like to avoid anything like this at all costs.

I appreciate your response.

Thank You

 
Old 01-16-2010, 08:24 PM   #4
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Re: MS/Diabetes/Alcoholism effects

Hello there. Im sorry- in order to monitor those vitamins, only blood work will answer those questions...youll really have to pay to have it all checked once, talk to the doctor about your levels and figure out from there what supplements you can take, without over-doing it.

The prices you quote- are actuallly quite inexpensive, compared to the going rates for doctors here in the US. I live outside NYC- about 30 mins away. For me to see a MS specialist who isnt covered by my insurance, its about 450$ out of pocket. For me to have an MRI, which is covered, I still pay 100$ for the co-pay, and they bill my insurance close to 2500$ !!

Im sorry you are going thru all this. Youre life style sounds interesting, and the fact that you have traveled all this way to find peace- is certainly a good place to be. I understand Australia to be one of the cleanest places to live...it certainly beats where I live! As to going back to Canada and the people who are not "good" for you, could you consider another area of Canada? Just to take advantage of the healthcare? Is there family or friends you could stay with long enough to get some answers, and not be exposed to those you dont want to be around??

As to your thoughts that you might have MS. I have to say, Im not convinced. Seeing people going thru the motions of a MS dx almost weekly, youre symtoms arent really fitting the pattern. Not to say it isnt possible. MS is a very individualized disease- everyone is affected differently and for some people they never really progress beyond basic symtoms. Others progress quickly and there is no doubt what the future will hold. I, myself, have had MS for probably 10 years, but have only been dx for about 4....I have balance issues, numbness in my feet and hands- sometimes this affects my gait. However, I work 60+ hours a week and go to school trying to do my doctorate degree. I have kids and a family and a home....it really doesnt prevent me from doing anything, it just slows me down sometimes. But I also use Rebif, one of the injectable drugs which is supposed to stop progression. Ive been on it since my dx, and to date- I havent progressed.

For you, Id say continue to stay sober. Stay off the alcohol. See if that makes a difference. When you go to your doctor, you want to be clean and sober so that your blood work isnt affected. You want to be honest, also. Totally, brutally honest. The fact that you could go back to Canada for healthcare exists- but knowing our Canadian posters, NHC takes a very long time. I dont know if you can even begin to hope to see a Neuro or have MRIs in a reasonable amount of time. You might be better off paying for it. If thats not possible, is there any chance of getting help while in AUS? Do thy have any kind of medicaid or government help available for people in your financial situation? I know in the US, you could qualify, if you were here for at least a year...again, we are back to the time frame. The good news is if you have done this well - even if it is MS- you probably will continue a very slow decline in the disease; however if it isnt MS, and its something more fixable- you certainly dont want to wait. Get that MRI. One way or another it will be telling....thats the first step. And, get the blood work done so you dont poisin yourself with too much vitmains and supplements. Check into local clinics and health fairs and see if there is any help available...
I wish you only the best.
Nikki
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Last edited by MSNik; 01-16-2010 at 08:27 PM.

 
Old 01-16-2010, 08:53 PM   #5
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Re: MS/Diabetes/Alcoholism effects

Hi Nikki,

Thank you for the response again.

Yeah, you're right. In comparison the pricing you've listed, it's not THAT bad. I know I need the MRI. I know either way I'm going to need this to obtain peace of mind. I feel very fortunate that I didn't require medical care while I was in New York/L.A... well, even then, I could have just taken a short flight up north and then back.

I'm going to keep the MS thought in the front of my mind for now. I think it's better to prepare for the "worst", so if it is, you're ready, and if not, you can thank whom ever/whatever you feel deserves it and prepare for the next big thing in life. I know you can live life with MS and it can be treated. Who knows, maybe someday there will be a cure. I know it would be hard, but I would try my best to live with it the best that I could.

Can you explain to me what "dx" is? I tried googling it, but couldn't find a definitive answer.

The thing about going back to Canada and relocating is that, really, there's no place to relocate, I've been everywhere and the entire country is a big memory of that lifestyle. I'm going to have to clean up here, bite the bullet and pay for my expenses. My family and friends don't agree, but realistically, I'm the only one that can tempt myself here, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job of keeping away from it.

Canada is a part of the commonwealth, but in Australia, they only recognize the UK medicare plans. There's no agreement between CAN/AUS for medical. According to the AUS gov't...

I find out on Weds what my blood work from 2 weeks ago will read. I'm gonna get the MRI... I have to.


I appreciate your time and responses Nikki.

-e

 
Old 01-17-2010, 07:40 AM   #6
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Re: MS/Diabetes/Alcoholism effects

Hey E-
I wish you the very best...let us know what your blood work says. Also, find out if they ran a test for Lymes- thats blood work as well. Lymes is allot like MS in many ways.

Sorry to hear you have so many problems with finding cheaper health care- but do what you must. I agree that the MRI is absolutely necessary- not only to dx MS, but to rule it out.

Just dont keep thinking MS is the worst case scenario- its absolutely NOT. You dont die from it- its completely manageable- and Im still thinking your symtoms arent matching up with MS.

If you want to find more on MS diagnosis, reasearch the McDonald Criteria, the revised McDonald Criteria can be found on healthboards by searching it out....the revised edition is the most up to the date info on what doctors have to find to diagnos MS. Lesions, symtoms and patterns of excaberation are discussed. Im still leaning towards you have another autoimmune disease but anything is possible.

As for the bad elements which you are trying to stay away from, E- consider getting some professional help with the alcohol thing. Youve got some issues with avoiding people, and thats understandable, but in order to lead a alcohol free life, youll need to bettter understand your triggers and things which affect you, besides the people. You know what Im talking about...look into it?

Keep us posted and we are here if we can help.
Hugs,
Nikki
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Old 01-17-2010, 11:39 PM   #7
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Re: MS/Diabetes/Alcoholism effects

Thanks Nikki, I'm on a quest to better myself no matter what the cost. I will prevail regardless.

It makes me feel good reading your positive and informative responses. Thank you again.

-E

 
Old 01-18-2010, 04:58 AM   #8
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Re: MS/Diabetes/Alcoholism effects

E- Wishing you the very best in your quest for both peace, and answers. MS is a learning experience for many of us...and not many of us have other issues we also have to battle like you do. Youll survive this and come out a better person if you take it day by day, step by step. Let me know if you have other questions and if you see a doctor, what the results are! Youll be on my mind...
Hugs
Nikki
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:05 PM   #9
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Re: MS/Diabetes/Alcoholism effects

Hi there.

Not much to add other than long term abuse (doesn't have to be daily) of alcohol can lead to a B12 deficiency, which has symptoms similar to MS.

Congrats for moving away from your old lifestyle and for trying to put your health first.

Get the MRI, continue to NOT drink and put all $$ saved by not drinking into jar and before you know it you will have enough for those costly labs.

Take care and good luck.

SW
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