But it was in 1993 that I first experienced symptoms now believed to be related to multiple sclerosis. These symptoms included impaired vision, headaches, and depression in the months following a minor whiplash event. The doctors at the student clinic in the School of Optometry at Indiana University suggested that I have an MRI. Basically, they wanted to make sure I didn't have a brain tumor. I did not have a brain tumor. Any inflammation of the optic nerve that might have been present had resolved by the time I had the MRI. Eventually my vision problems and headache went back to normal leaving me with a mysterious, unexplained event.
In 1995, I tripped on the way to a concert by the Evansville Philharmonic. I don't know what I tripped on, but I trashed my french horn, sprained my wrists, and broke my left arm just above the elbow (hairline fracture). After this event, I developed an achiness in my left arm and wrist that I simply became accustomed to over the years.
For the next five years, I had several random and vague complaints which centered on my hands, which I wrote about in "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Not?" Being seronegative certainly delayed my RA diagnosis, but likely reminding the doctor that “I had optic neuritis in 2000 and my mother has lupus” probably didn’t help either. During these years, I also experienced fatigue, weakness, and walking problems. But I still didn't have a diagnosis of either disease.
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