8th Instalment: MRI Results

Thank you every one for patiently waiting for this, my 8th instalment.

My aim is to inspire & be inspired, to continue to be strong & continue to be confident!

I may be slow at blogging but that is only due to my MS. As with everything, I’ll get there eventually!

 

 

The journey home from that trip seemed to take a lifetime! We didn’t hold much conversation as we knew what we had to do when we returned.

Once we had taken our caravan back to the holding we went straight to the vets to collect Jake’s ashes!
So sad!

When home we did what most do, check through the post!
We had only been away just over a week and yet there was so much post!
One for me from ‘University Hospital Coventry’ my first thought when I saw the envelope was ‘Oh yeah! The MRI scan!’ I had honestly forgotten all about it since receiving the phone call, the one from the vet when we were on our walk in Somerset!

I opened the letter, it was an appointment to see an Ophthalmologist whose name seemed very familiar but I couldn’t place it.

Unfortunately the appointment was whilst we were away! I had missed it! I started to feel very anxious!
My partner read the letter and phoned the number on it. She managed to re-book the appointment for the same week. Apparently the person she spoke to was very understanding and pleasant!

The day of the appointment I really didn’t know what to expect! I was anxious but only the normal anxiety I get when going to any appointment!

I had found out why the Ophthalmologist’s name was familiar, he was a locum optometrist at one of the branches where I worked! Although I had never met him I felt comfortable because we had something In common!

We had the normal ‘chit chat’ that you might have in any appointment, I bought up that he was a locum at the same company that I worked for, which made the appointment feel much ‘lighter’ and less clinical!

It’s not surprising that I only really remember one thing from the appointment!

He spoke to me very relaxed, maybe that’s why I reacted the way I did!

“Your MRI results are back, you will be given an appointment with a neurologist as we think you may have MS. You will need more tests to be certain though”

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7th Instalment: The Holiday

Thank you every one for patiently waiting for this, my 7th instalment.


My aim is to inspire & be inspired, to continue to be strong & continue to be confident!
I may be slow at blogging but that is only due to my MS. As with everything, I’ll get there eventually! 

 

After the massive trauma of loosing our boy ‘Jake’ we had to decide what we were going to do about the caravan holiday we had booked.

Were we to stay at home where the memories would be painful or were we to take a slow drive to collect the caravan and make our way to Somerset?

It really was a horrible decision but after hearing our youngest dog ‘Ollie’ pinning for Jake we thought it would be good for all of us to have a change of scenery.
We felt a little concerned about what people might think of us but it was our decision to make and it turned out to be a holiday full of memories!

As we were newbie hikers with all the correct walking gear we said that we would take it with us so we could do a lot of walking and it would be for Jake!
We took some of his fur with us and left a bit of him in all of his favourite places, this even included the stream that he loved to swim in just outside of the campsite.

We literally walked miles! Even though Porlock was a regular place that we  visited for our holidays we had never actually explored it much on foot before!
It felt like a real adventure for us, we bought some ordnance survey maps of the local area & chose the routes along scenic paths. The shortest walk was around 9 miles!

We certainly made the most of our time away! We even talked about looking at properties there, after all we knew we were definitely selling our house!
We didn’t make any appointments to look at properties but the seed had been sown!

We were about four days into the break and our friend came to join us for the weekend.
Unfortunately he didn’t bring any proper walking gear, so we carried on visiting our favourite areas by car. This was fine by me as a lot of the places we love were a bit too far to walk and by this time I was starting to get a slight limp because of the pain that started in my hip just before our holiday started.

We spent our evenings walking the lanes close to camp, not too far because of my pain and we didn’t need to go far for what we wanted to do!
For one of my birthdays I was given a ‘bat detector’ and an evening course learning all about the different species of Bats and how to use Bat detectors, we even went for a walk to hear the bats if we were lucky to find any!

I am very passionate about nature with Bats being one of my favourite creatures! I find them so fascinating! I can only describe the feeling as a great ‘buzz’ when I see a Bat and hearing them as well is incredible!
My partner was given an extremely powerful touch for her birthday so she could see Bats even from a great distance! We used to laugh about it as it could so easily be used as the bat light for ‘Batman’!
I remember we met a couple on the camp site who came with us on one of our ‘bat walks’ it was so nice to share the experience . The night they came with us was fortunately one of the best nights. They loved the experience with the bats and to learn so much about them!

At the end of the weekend it was time for our friend to go home.
Once he had gone we felt so lost, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves!
The next day we continued with our walks, again using the maps we had brought.
I’m not sure what day it was, all I remember is being half way up a wooded hill when the phone rang!
It was the vets to let us know that Jake’s ashes were ready to collect! Gulp! We weren’t expecting that! We should have!

We turned around and walked straight back to the caravan, packed everything away and left the next day!
We just wanted our boy back!

 

6th Instalment: In memory of our boy, Jake

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Thank you to everyone for patiently waiting for this my 6th instalment!

My aim is to inspire & be inspired, to continue to be strong & continue to be confident!
I may be slow at blogging but that is only due to my MS. As with everything, I’ll get there eventually!

Concentrating so much on my career took my mind off the fact I was waiting for the MRI results for my eye problem. The thought of seeing a neurosurgeon was still very fresh in my mind though!

It was at this exact time of year, four years ago that what I am going to write happened!
I am not telling you all of this as a pity plea, I am sharing this with you as the ‘stress factor’ is relevant.

Our house was still on the market and we were getting a lot of interest buss hadn’t received any offers yet.
Every time someone came to view the property I used to take our two Labrador’s out for a walk.
I had noticed that I was starting to get pain in my right hip and was walking slower than normal. When I say slower I mean that I was probably walking at the same speed as someone else’s ‘fast’.

I loved to walk and the faster I could walk the happier I would be! I was never someone who liked to jog as the jolting was very painful on my Right leg, the one I had broken in 1999. So the next best thing for me, speed walking!

I also noticed that I wasn’t the only one that was much slower and in pain. Our oldest Labrador ‘Jake’ was becoming very weak on his back legs and many times he would just stop.

I always told my partner about what happened when I walked the dogs but the matter of Jake wasn’t a subject that we wanted to discuss!

We had a phone call from our estate agent to let us know that the house we were hoping to buy, the one we were selling our house for, had been taken off the market!
Gutted! That’s the only word to describe how we felt!
It was time to make a decision, take our house off the market or start looking at other houses!
We decided to keep our house on the market and to find another house to fall in love with!

Isn’t selling a house on the list of most stressful things to do!

It was only a few days away from a short caravan holiday we had planned and my partners Birthday. It was time to switch focus yet again, start to pack and prepare for the upcoming week!

That’s the thing with me, I always need something to focus on to take my mind off tough times!

We were really looking forward to the holiday in our little caravan that we bought in 2009. Our usual pitch had been booked at ‘Burrowhayes Camping & Caravan Site’ in West Luccombe, Porlock, Somerset. We used to go there every year with our tent until we got our ‘Alivan’ (caravan) Many a good holiday was spent there with the dogs!

http://www.burrowhayes.co.uk/

It was on my partners birthday in 2010 (the day before the holiday) that Jake got distinctly worse! He was at the stage where he couldn’t stand without his back legs giving way! Such a sad thing to see when you know there is nothing you can do.

I can’t type much about the next thing that happened because it is still painful 4 years later.

The day that we were supposed to be setting off for our Somerset holiday, the day after the Birthday celebrations was one of the worst days of our lives! It was the day we had to say goodbye to our boy ‘Jake’

5th Instalment: The Waiting Game

Thank you to everyone for patiently waiting for this my 5th instalment!

My aim is to inspire & be inspired, to continue to be strong & continue to be confident!
I may be slow at blogging but that is only due to my MS. As with everything, I’ll get there eventually!

 

5th Instalment: The waiting game

 

Thank goodness those scans were over with! I just had to wait for the results now.

When I next saw my physiotherapist she said she would have a look at the MRI results for my shoulder problem as it was done at the same hospital.
I did think she meant there and then!
When she finished putting all the acupuncture needles in she disappeared which wasn’t unusual!

I was having acupuncture to help with my pain as nothing else Catherine my physio tried was helping.
She always used to disappear when the needles were in place, leaving me to ‘cook’ as she called it, so this was nothing new for her to have left me.

When she returned she said that the MRI results were back and showed that I had a ‘disc bulge at the top of my spine and was very close to touching my spinal cord.
I was to wait to here from my GP for further instructions.

Only a few days passed before I had a phone call from my Drs surgery to say I was to make an appointment to see my GP.
When I saw him he told me exactly the same as what my physiotherapist had told me. He also said that I would be referred to a neuro surgeon for further investigation!

I didn’t ask my GP any questions about the appointment with the Neuro surgeon. Thinking about it now i guess i should of but it frightened me too much to be honest! It wasn’t the word neuro that scared me! It was the ‘surgeon’ part that terrified me!

I tried my best to put it to the back of my mind and continued to concentrate on my work.

I was still to hear about my scan for my eye. I didn’t let this bother me because working in an opticians I knew if it was anything ‘serious’ it would have dealt with already!

It was at this time that I had been told by the regional manager that he could see potential in me and was offering me the position of ‘store trainer’.
What this meant was to travel around all the regional stores training new staff and refreshing existing staff everything that is needed to be known about dispensing optical glasses and contact lenses.

I was also considering taking the appropriate course and exams to become a dispensing optician. So to hear the regional manager offer me this position was extremely flattering and made me realise I was going I the right direction with regards to me career.

 

 

Firstly I would like to apologise for the delay in posting the next part to my journey but I haven’t been at my best so have had to take my time writing! Told you I would get there eventually!

 

 

4th instalment, on to the next…

 

So, the first scan done! On to the next…

Again I dosed myself with ‘Arnica’ and ‘Rescue Remedy’ this time I was taking ‘Rescue Remedy’ for a longer period!

I thought I knew what to expect but the second scan for my eye problem was so much different!

I took my music with me to ‘drown out the noise’ or at least have something else to focus on instead of the panic button I would hold in my hand!

When I passed the CD to the staff. They told me the music wasn’t working and so wouldn’t be able to listen to it! Gulp! Sheer panic set in!

I lay on the scanner bed and was told I had to have a piece of equipment over my head which can only be described as a cage! This is so that u stay in exactly the same place for the entire time in the scanner. The images the consultant wanted to see was of my head and my spine.
Instead of ear phones I had ‘pads’ put on my ears to protect them from the sound of the scanner. They didn’t do much good if I’m honest!

Ok, second time in one of these machines! I can do this! Deep breaths Vicky, deep breaths.

The cool air started to circulate and the noise began. I could feel my heart begin to race and my breathing quicken. My eyes were shut so tight because the noise was so much louder without any earphones or music!
Tears started to fall down my cheeks. It was just too much for me and I ended up pressing the button again!

My partner ended up coming into the room where the machine was. All jewellery had to be taken off, keys and phone left outside because of the magnets that the machine uses.

She stood at the bottom of the scanner bed and put her hand on my shin to comfort me. Every time the scanner processes a new image a different sound starts and a timer starts on the outside of machine. My partner could see how long each scan had left and started tapping the seconds on my shin with her hand, counting down from ten so that I knew how long until the next scan would start.

Although this was really comforting to me the tears still came. I just wanted it to end. I was so uncomfortable and felt trapped!
I needed to do this! If I pressed the button it would only delay it longer!
I started to focus more on my breathing and the tapping ofmy partners

My breathing started to steady and I could feel my whole body starting to relax!

45 minutes later the machine stopped and the scanner bed started to move. It was over!

All I had to do now was wait for the results!

3rd instalment: MRI

You would think I would have been concerned with not knowing what was wrong with my vision but I wasn’t. I was more concerned about the thought of going into the MRI scanner!

I had an accident involving a horse when I was 18 years old and somehow managed to shatter both the Tibia (shin bone) and Fibula (smaller bone next to Tibia) in my right leg! I now have a pin that runs from my knee to my ankle and 2 screws holding it in place!
This was the main concern for me, knowing that an MRI scanner is just basically a giant magnet. I didn’t think that it would mix well with the pin in my leg!

At the same time as I was waiting for the MRI appointment I was also seeing a physiotherapist for a shoulder problem.

I had woken one morning before the issue with my eye and my left shoulder felt as though I had a trapped nerve in it. This can be common for a lot of people so I never thought anything of it, not until it persisted any way!

A couple of months passed and I started to loose a lot of strength in my arm & particularly my hand so I saw my GP and he referred me for physiotherapy. After quite a few sessions with Catherine, my physio, she found that nothing she was trying was helping and requested an MRI.

The appointment for my shoulder MRI came through and was only one week before the MRI for my eye!
Because they were at different hospitals they couldn’t be done at the same time.

Now I had the worry of 2 MRI’s and believe me I am a worrier!

MRI number one!
Because my family used to own a health food shop I knew the right things to take for anxiety!
I dosed my self with Arnica when I knew my appointment date and then on the day of the scan I was taking Rescue Remedy as well!

I had a chat with the staff there about the pin in my leg and was told because it has been in for a long time it shouldn’t be going anywhere.
I didn’t take much comfort with that purely because the word “shouldn’t” is questionable!

I knew you could take your own music to listen to so I went armed with ‘Kings Of Leon’ hoping it would be loud enough to drown out the noise of the scanner! Wishful thinking!

If you have never been inside an MRI scanner before, it’s just like a tunnel with not even enough room to adjust your position! If you have an itch on your nose you can forget about scratching it because one, you won’t be able to reach and two, your not allowed to move otherwise the images will be blurred and you have to stay in longer!

Before they send you into the machine they give you a ‘panic button’ just incase you need to come out.

I lay flat on the scanner bed, ear phones on, music paying and alarm in hand ready to go, deep breaths Vicky, deep breaths!
Five minutes into it and I pressed the panic button! Wimp or not I hated it! I carried on though as I was told through the ear phones that it wouldn’t take much longer and thankfully it didn’t!

When I came out of the scanner I was shaking!
If you don’t like loud noises or tight spaces it really isn’t the best place to be!

All I could think was ‘I have to do that all over again next week’!

And so it begins!

So this is how it all began, my story of my MS. What my symptoms were, through to diagnosis, and up to now!

 

2010 turned out to be a very tough year!

In the March of 2010 myself & my partner where in discussions of selling our house & moving, we had seen a house that we had fallen in love with & put ours on the market with the intention of buying the one we had seen.

It was in this same month that I started to have problems with my vision.
It started in my right eye. In my outer peripheral vision I was seeing flashing lights, the best way I can describe it was like the flashing from a sparkler on bonfire night!
I thought I was getting a migraine, I have had these before so I knew what to expect… A violent headache followed by sickness. This never followed though! Instead the flashing continued and I started to get pain in my eye.

Luckily at the time I worked as an optical assistant and so the next day I asked the optician at work to check my eye. She said she could see ‘something’ but didn’t have the equipment to see properly so referred me to the eye hospital. Due to it not being an emergency I didn’t go straight away, instead I waited until the next day (Sunday) and went to Birmingham eye hospital. This hospital is further away for us than the eye casualty in Coventry but they were closed on a Sunday!

Sunday morning, we were up at the crack of dawn and made our way over to Birmingham. We wanted to be there as early as possible so I could be seen quickly.
I had my eyes dilated, that’s painful enough even when ur eye doesn’t already hurt! Again the ophthalmologist could see something but didn’t tell me what. He said he wanted me to have an MRI before he would know for sure. I was referred for this and sent home.

I made my way to work the next day, pain still the same except I noticed everything seemed so much brighter & blurred!

When I got into work the pain and light sensitivity was getting much worse and I ended up having to call a paramedic because it was so bad! 

When the paramedic arrived he decided it would be best if I got seen at A&E straight away and took me to hospital.
I phoned my partner to let her know and she met me at the local hospital.
Because they don’t have an eye specialist at local hospital, a dr had a brief look at my eyes. It became apparent when he was looking at my eyes that I had lost vision I my right outer peripheral, the same area I was getting the flashing lights!
I was told I needed to go to the eye casualty in Coventry.

When I arrived there I had all the same tests again that I’d had at Birmingham and was told the same as I was there but this time I was to be booked in for a field test to check my peripheral vision.
It was about 3 weeks later by the time I had done 2 field tests and was back in for the results. They showed a definite loss of vision so it was then decided I should have an MRI scan.

Here’s how it is….

11th August 2010, I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. This was the start of my incredible journey! At the time I didn’t realise it was going to be as amazing as it is!

By using this blog I hope to be able to inspire people & to continue inspiring myself as I write about how it all started up to where I am now.

Please continue to follow my blogs as I let u into pieces of my MegaSpecial life!

I will do my best to blog regularly but due to my MS there may be short periods when I can’t, please bare with!