My Multiple Sclerosis Story Begins : The Diagnosis

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My Multiple Sclerosis Story – The Beginning

My Multiple Sclerosis life story began in 1977, even though I did not know it at the time.  Only years later after consulting with my neurologist did I begin to realize the pieces of my Multiple Sclerosis story.

Weakness holding a cup

I was in law school and I began to notice that I was having difficulty holding a cup. I had difficulty holding a cup of coffee, a cup of water, a cup of soup and so on.  I noticed this with my right hand.  I am right handed and usually pick things up with my right hand.

The nervous twitch is everywhere

I noticed that this was odd, but I was not that concerned about it.  I went to class and I looked around my law school class.  I wanted to see if anyone had a similar problem.  Virtually everyone in the class had a nervous twitch of some kind.  This was not unusual for a law school class.

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The weakness subsided

I did not think much of it and I went about my life.  The weakness in the right hand subsided in a couple of weeks and I just continued with my life normally.  I really did not focus on the issue and after a couple of weeks all was well.

The cloud arrives

My life went merrily along until on Saturday in 1985.  I awoke with a cloud in my right eye.  I could barely see through the cloud.  It did not cover the entire field of vision, but it obstructed about 1/3 of the field of vision.  I continued doing things that day and went to the Bay Shore Shopping Mall on the south shore of Long Island, NY.

I still see the cloud

I still had the cloud in my right eye and it was a sunny day.  I was hoping it would go away, but it did not.  I was thinking maybe I slept on the wrong side of my bed and I must have leaned on something.  Anyway, by the afternoon, I was beginning to think that someone who knew something about eyes should take a look at my right eye.

What to do in a shopping mall?

I was still in the shopping mall.  I looked up.  I saw Cohen’s Fashion Optical.  I went into the eyeglass store and I asked to see the optometrist.  A Dr. Corbin came out to see me.  He took a look at my eye.  Then he took me to his office in the back.  He looked more.  He kept looking, but he could not find anything.  He seemed frustrated. He kept looking, but could not find anything.

Time to see an ophthalmologist

He finally said that he knew an ophthalmologist that might still be available on a Saturday.  He sent me to Dr. Bruce Mazure in Woodmere, NY.  Dr. Mazure apparently had a new device.  It looked like a white mini satellite tv dish.  It had little points of light that came out of the device.

Optic neuritis

Dr. Mazure concluded after the testing and often looking at my eye that I had optic neuritis.  I had what?  Yes, he said he believed that I had optic neuritis.  Really, it is apparently an inflammation of the optic nerve.  I remember walking out of the office with Dr. Mazure, he apparently had a place to go and I walked outside with him to his car.  I was his last patient on that Saturday.  We continued to talk about optic neuritis.  Then we left.

Studying up about optic neuritis

I went home and told my parents, who also knew nothing about optic neuritis.  I began studying up on everything I could get about optic neuritis.  However, this was 1985 and there was not much known about optic neuritis.

Detached retina?

I went to many ophthalmologists after that and I was told that I had a detached retina. Who was right? Meanwhile, the problem was slowly improving, and became increasingly difficult to detect.

My first neurologist

I even went to a neurologist associated with North Shore University Hospital, who raised the specter of Multiple Sclerosis.  He said it could be many things.  What was this and how could we detect this.  Well, we couldn’t.  It was 1985 and there was no effective test.  We could do an epidural, but even that would not be conclusive.  Besides it was 1985 and epidurals had mortality rates at that time.  He said to just continue living your life.  There would be no confirmation of Multiple Sclerosis at that time.

Studying up on Multiple Sclerosis

I went home.  I studied up on everything I could get on Multiple Sclerosis.  I was a lawyer.  This is what I do when I have an issue.  However, again I was not coming up with much.  It is an inflammation of the nerves.  It was 1985, and even if they could confirm it, which they couldn’t, there was no cure and no effective treatment.

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Optic neuritis disappears

Life went on and the optic neuritis almost completely vanished and my life continued happily along.

The limp begins

Until, 2003 came.  It was Presidents’ Day 2003 and I began to limp with my right leg.  I went to Dr. Schlesinger who was a neurologist.  He is no longer practicing.  He sent me for an MRI of the brain with and without contrast.

MRI shows Multiple Sclerosis brain lesions

When I returned to his office, he gave me the news.  I had Multiple Sclerosis.  He showed me the MRI results with multiple MS lesions.  I told him about my story of weakness in the right hand.  The difficulty I had holding a cup in law school.  I told him about the optic neuritis or detached retina.  He said I probably had Multiple Sclerosis for more than 20 years.

Finally there is a treatment

I left his office with a prescription for Betaseron.  It is given by injection.  I would have to inject it myself. This would be the beginning of years of treatment for recurring remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

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