MS or Parkinson? Check List

A few days ago I was talking to a friend of mine who has Parkinson and some how we started talking about our symptoms only to find that we shared a large number of them. We both have the memory of a fish, both have mobility issues, we both have twitches and tremors that we can’t control, speech problems, incontinence and pain, we both have one side affect worse than the other, but the opposite ones. Yes there are differences as well, she can’t sleep and I can’t stay awake. So much the same but in different quantities and different importance to us. That was the thing I noticed the most and it set me think, I have to admire doctors who sort out and piece together the jigsaw of symptoms they are presented with. It was easy for me over the years to be angry with them, as they ran tests, asked questions and either found nothing or clearly thought I was nuts.

When you search the web and look at the symptoms that both of us have, it really would be easy to pick out the wrong one. Probably because each person puts a higher emphasis on the symptom that upsets them the most. For me it was the fatigue and the pain, followed by my memory, my dexterity and balance, they weren’t the only symptoms but the ones that I found hardest to cope with. Switch them around and it could easily be something else. Once they have sorted out the puzzle and given the illness the correct name, it is then really easy to go down the list of symptoms and tick each one off, then wonder why it took them so long to get there.

I once had sat talking to a nurse one day when I was having my mitoxantrone, which is a form of chemotherapy, she asked my about the process of reaching diagnosis. When I told her that it looked as though I had my first attack was nearly 20 years ago and that it was only when it turned progressive that I at finally got a diagnosis, she apologised on behalf of the NHS, she thought it was unacceptable. Well now I want to apologise to all the doctors who I cursed and swore at under my breath, for nearly that whole 20 years. Doctors I salute you. I wouldn’t want your jobs for anything.