After a four-day kayak trip in north Vancouver Island, August 2016, which also included flights and bus, I came back home and started working. I knew something was not quite right as I developed dizziness which then turned to nausea and vomiting which required hospitalization for five days. CT and MRI read as normal. Was diagnosed with vestibular neuritis and discharged. However wasn’t feeling 100%. A week or so after, I developed the same symptoms, requiring another hospitalization, this time over two weeks. Another CT and MRI. MRI showed demyelination. Was then diagnosed with possible MS. Given four months sick leave, I stayed at my parents’ in Manitoba. (I live in Saskatchewan, Canada.)
While in Manitoba, saw a ENT who prescribed me VRT. Saw a neurologist at MS clinic after reviewing my two MRI, which by the way, the first one wasn’t normal. It also showed signs of demyelination; could not confirm MS as of the location of the lesions. He then diagnosed me of vestibular neuritis and suggested I go back to work, end of January part-time and work up to full-time by end of February. At that time was x-ray tech in cardiac cathlab. Since then, haven’t been able to work full time. Am on a return back to work program.
Once I was back in Saskatchewan, was able to find a physio who specializes in VRT. She diagnosed me with MdDS. When I researched the topic, the signs and symptoms were bang on. I remember when I was on sick leave, felt I was walking on quicksand or on trampoline as described in pamphlet. Was hard to describe the feeling. Had brain fog and still do, but not as much since starting Clonazepam last August. Still have rocking, bobbing, swaying sensation. However these are lessened with Clonazepam. However, when I face triggers, symptoms spike up. I also have a lower level of energy and seem to need more sleep than usual.
Last May, saw the neurologist who I saw when hospitalized. Had another MRI. Still showed demyelination. However no progression. Diagnosed me with clinically isolated syndrome, precursor to MS. Am on MS medication called Rebif to stop the progression of demyelination. Last Fall, another MRI showed no progression.
Since the new year, I have started working in general duty x-ray which has a variety of work to do, and which gives me less motionless and less stillness which were triggers when I was working in cathlab. Stress level is also diminished, which is another trigger in cathlab. I strongly believe I made the wise choice of changing department. I do believe I will be at full time by end of February, instead of April if I would have stayed in cathlab. I am also thankful that I don’t feel like a zombie after my shift as I used to in cathlab.
Exercise-wise, I do yoga four times a week. I try to include three active classes and one stretching. I try to walk on other days. Before all this happened, was hard core exercising and playing several sports.
I also have found some pastimes like paint nights and stained glass class, which I do find relaxing. I don’t feel my symptoms, as I am concentrating.
I try to socialize, however must pace myself and am not guilty in refusing to participate by telling others that it’s too much for me on that particular day. My faith, friends and family are my anchor in all of this. I do pray for remission. However, I take it one day at a time. I do have ups and downs, however, try to focus on the good days.
God bless you all,
About 1 in 12 Canadians, two-thirds of them children, are affected by a rare disorder. But because each disease affects only a small number of individuals, understanding and expertise may be limited and fragmented across the country. Canada’s Rare Disease Strategy proposes a five-point action plan that will address unnecessary delays in testing, wrong diagnoses and missed opportunities to treat.
1. Improving early detection and prevention,
2. Providing timely, equitable and evidence-informed care,
3. Enhancing community support,
4. Providing sustainable access to promising therapies and
5. Promoting innovative research
Julie has created a group on Facebook to enhance community support and to know fellow rockers from the prairies. She hopes to get together in person to share what we go through and have talks on different topics i.e.: nutrition, exercise, naturopath, pharmaceutical, meditation , etc.