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I knew there was something wrong but doctors said it was migraines


Doctors thought I had inner ear issues, but it was MS Louise Chapman

Louise Chapman with two of her three beloved labradors (Picture: Louise Chapman)

Walking along a sunny, cobbled street in Mallorca, eating ice creams alongside my husband and daughter, my phone rang.

It was my GP. ‘The results of your MRI scans are back in,’ she said, ‘and I have to say, Lou, it is looking like MS’.

I stopped in shock. All I could say was, ‘Oh. Oh.’

Then I asked her: ‘And… what exactly is MS?’.

Back at the hotel, I started Googling – and I was terrified. 

MS is incurable. It can affect the brain and spinal cord, causing symptoms that can include problems with balance, sensation, arm and leg movement and vision. I had no idea what my diagnosis meant for me, whether I was going to need a wheelchair, or how I was going to function at all.

I’d always had medical problems. I had issues with my bowel and bladder in my late teens, including recurrent UTIs and horrible constipation issues, and was quickly diagnosed with IBS.

Then, in my late 20s, I started getting tinnitus regularly, along with migraines and bouts of fatigue, and I had what I now know are internal tremors – I’d feel like I was shaking, almost violently, but only from within.

The symptom that concerned me most was severe dizziness and vertigo, which started in my late 20s. It stopped me from functioning; I’d have to lie down for hours, sometimes days, before I could move again.

I made appointment after appointment with doctors but because I was so rarely able to see the same GP more than once, I’d go in with a different symptom each time and I’d have to explain my medical history over and over again. 

It meant no one was looking at my wide-ranging symptoms as a collective. 

Louise was misdiagnosed numerous times (Picture: Louise Chapman)

Some GPs thought the migraines or tinnitus were behind everything; another suggested I had bad anxiety, which I started to believe myself.

Other doctors thought I might have inner ear issues and I was referred to consultants who thought my crystals (which we all have in our ears to help us detect movement) must have moved.

They suggested I try various maneuvers to correct this – but, of course, these didn’t work. 

These years were frustrating and scary. The severity of my symptoms never stopped niggling at me. ‘This is getting worse, something’s not right,’ I’d think.

Then one day in 2017, I was standing in the centre of Exeter having been out shopping, when the vision started to go in my right eye.

It was as if someone was slowly putting a piece of card over it, until I lost that side of my sight completely.

In a panic, I sat down on the pavement and called my husband. He told me to stay calm, that whatever this was might go away soon by itself.

So I sat there, terrified, for 45 minutes, waiting for my sight to come back.

As people wandered past me, I thought: ‘I know there’s something seriously wrong with me, I just …read more

Source:: Metro

      

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