In February 2020 , I travelled to London for two weeks for work. A day after landing in London, my right leg and right hand started feeling a little odd and tingly. In a few days, my right leg and right arm were numb. Since work had been stressful and I had just flown on a plane and now sleeping on a different bed in London, I thought the issue was a pinched nerve. I put it down to stress and tiredness and sleeping on different beds and in planes.
When I landed back in Joburg in mid February, the numbness was mostly gone and getting better each day. By the end of February, the numbness had disappeared.
In mid March, the numbness came back, but now in my left hand and left foot. Further to that, I felt a tightness around my left ribs (post diagnosis, I realise that is an MS Hug). A few days into the new numbness, I started seeing double. The optometrist I phoned, raised the alarm as eyesight in each eye was fine separately. She suggested I see I neurologist. I got an appointment with Dr Girish Modi two days after seeing double.
Dr Modi was not happy with the migration of symptoms and sent me for an MRI as soon as our consult was done. As he is based in Brenthurst Life Hospital, it was convenient. He waited till I was done so that he could check the MRI results.
He showed the MRI to me and gently broke down the various causes of the lesions we were seeing in my brain and spinal chord. Dr Modi explained that the symptoms I had experienced over the last few weeks pointed to Multiple Scleriosis but he would have to do bloods and perform a lumbar puncture in order to get a firm diagnosis. While doing the tests, he wanted me to start the drip so we didn't waste time.
I was admitted a day later, started the drip and did the lumbar puncture and bloods. On the 3rd day of the drip, Dr Modi confirmed that I had Remitting Relapse Multiple Scleriosis. He wanted me to finish the drip, go home and recover from the effects of the lumbar puncture before chatting through treatments going forward.
I was admitted into hospital on the Tuesday before we went into Lockdown. So it was really unnerving to be there during this period. In a way, my recovery was aided by the new way of life as work from home is the new norm.
Dr Modi recommended that due to my heavy lesion load, he wanted me on Rebif Interferon treatment. Bankmed is fighting his motivations as they have responded saying I needed two 'attacks' recorded within 30 days of each other. Unfortunately, in this regard, my first attack in London went unrecorded.
3 months later, I have concentrated on being as healthy as possible in mind and body while I wait for the medications to be approved. I still have slight numbness in my left hand and foot and wake up with an MS hug that persists throughout the day. I've had amazing support from my husband, family and friends which has made this so much easier.