Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bouncing Around: Doctors and Eyes

Have you ever gone to a routine neurology appointment (or rheumatology appointment, or any other type of appointment) and hesitated when the physician asked, "so how's it going lately?" ?

Well, I did yesterday...hesitate that is. I laughed once and said, "I really want to say - great! But that's not exactly true."

Actually, I did the same thing a week ago Wednesday at my annual eye doctor appointment. As well as the acute care appointment with my primary care doctor on Monday of that same week.

So what's going on, you ask? I'd like to know too.

I had hoped that it was simply another urinary tract infection like the one I had in February which caused a pseudoexacerbation. At that time, there was blood in my urine, the cultures came back positive for bacterial infection, and two rounds of Cipro later, I was feeling much better and on the way back to developing strength and coordination with the physical therapist.

Now two weeks ago I started walking funny, uncoordinated, and definitely not fluid by any means. I had also begun feeling just not well, fatigued, and over-emotional.

Describing all of this to my primary doctor, I said, "it's either another urinary tract infection or a multiple sclerosis relapse." She responded, "well, I vote for the infection." So did I. I immediately started with two rounds of Cipro and waited to feel better, which only happened to a moderate degree and hasn't lasted.

During my eye appointment, I expressed great concern for the declining visual acuity I've been experiencing in recent months, however my color vision remains unchanged. Even mentioned that when I'm teaching, and looking from music down to student's hands or to their notebook in which I write, my eyes will rebel and look anywhere but where I want them to focus. It is disorienting and somewhat dizzying.

We couldn't quite get my right eye corrected to 20/20, but did decide to adjust my prescription power. If you know anything about severe myopia, you will appreciate that my prescription power is in the range of -13.25 diopters. That's some naturally poor eyesight. LOL. I have both new contacts and eyeglasses on order.

That brings us up to yesterday's neurology appointment.

I prepared to discuss the repeat UTIs after not having one since college, asking if consulting a urologist was in order. I prepared to discuss the increased cognitive problems I've been experiencing which have continued to increase in recent months. My short-term memory is noticeably affected as is my ability to stay on top of things. I also mentioned the eyes which don't always cooperate under certain circumstances.

For the eyes, she brought out a large drum marked with alternating black and white columns. She spun the drum in one direction while I gazed at it, then she changed the direction. This started my eyes bouncing!! Hmmm, a little nystagmus. The bouncing continued for at least 20 more minutes. Oh boy, how exciting (sarcasm here).

Our plan right now is this. Urine analysis and culture to look for infection. If the results are positive, then we will try a different antibiotic. If the results come back negative, then she'll be calling me into the infusion clinic for Solumedrol on Monday. It will be called an official relapse.

If this does seem to be the case, then she will likely want me to undergo an MRI sometime after the steroids have worn off to look for new lesions. Nystagmus is associated with lesions in the cerebellum or the 8th Cranial nerve. We will also move forward with consulting the urologist and get a neuropsych evaluation of my current cognitive abilities.

I really don't want to be having a relapse right now, but admittedly some of my symptoms have been slowly getting worse in the past six weeks. These symptoms include items which are new to me.

So I will be picking up my new glasses and contacts on Tuesday, as well as undergo a Visual Fields test while I'm there. Monday I will either be starting a new antibiotic or steroids. After that I need to reschedule the rheumatology appointment which I had canceled.

It's busy being me!!


  1. I went legally blind, but all recovered with time. Very scary, but take heart that most MS caused eye problems resolve very well. Sending my best your way.

  2. You have been very busy. I certainly hope you don't end up having a round of solu-Medrol. Sending positive thoughts your way.

  3. Aw, heck, Lisa...certainly not the news I wanted to read strolling over here. But I imagine it is far from the "news" you'd rather be providing as well.

    What a choice, eh? UTI or relapse. Seems like it would be better if you just a very long hang over from partying too hard!

    Thinking of you...

  4. Well, I'm hoping for the UTI and a bigger gun antibiotic - maybe even an IV antibiotic over 5 to 7 days.

    Keeping you in my thoughts,

  5. Lisa - Crap! Thinking of you, hoping for the best.

  6. I hope you feel better soon. I think something is going on with my body as well. I feel like crap but I think its because they ( DR) messed with my meds.

  7. You are in my prayers Lisa. Take care of yourself.