When Debbie was first diagnosed with MS we had already had to deal with 8 years of miss diagnoses. The main thing her GP said was that Debbie had slipped disks. We pushed to get treatments but everything took so long 18 months her 12 months there. After 8 years of trying to get help a a woman who was giving Debbie massage for her slipped disk said to her ” You know what I’m doing is not helping, I’m not charging you today and you need to go back to your GP and insist on Neurological tests.” This woman knew then what she thought Debbie had. I wish she had told me as I would have sorted insurance better at that point.
Now I was busy with my job then and I paid some interest in a very male “let’s get this fixed” way but I didn’t pay much attention to that word “neurological” or what it meant.
Debbie went to see her GP who will remain nameless but she was the senior Doctor at a practice in Sale. She asked for Neurological tests and her GP dismissed her request saying I can’t see it being anything like that. Debbie insisted on the test in the face of opposition from her doctor which I think can be very hard. Someone who appears to be in a position of power telling you not to do something that you know nothing about.
Debbie went to Wythenshaw to have an MRI scan and to perform the EPT or checkerboard test http://www.m.webmd.com/multiple-sclerosis/evoked-potential-test-for-multiple-sclerosis
We waited for results but it didn’t seem like a big event. I had told friends that I thought they were going to show MRI scan of Debbies back and point out the cracks wear or damage in the bones and we could then try and get it fixed, everything seemed simple.
Feb 2008 we went to see “Dr Dick” (no not made up) for the results of the tests. I was heading to London that night on business so I had my bags and briefcase in the car and Debbie was going to drop me off at the station.
Dr Dick has a very mater of fact manor about him and he’s not the most emotional chap on the planet. We shook hands and sat down. He didn’t really explain what was going to happen and remember we thought slipped disks. He didn’t know that was all we thought. He started showing the images from the MRI scans and when we saw the ones from back I asked if he could see slipped disks. He looked at me a little odd and said “he would like to see where anyone got that from”
He then started showing scans higher up in Debbies brain and his narration changed. “This I’m not so happy about” he added “and this cloud here is not great” I was confused where is the slipped disk stuff? Why’s he talking about clouds? Debbie had already clicked, and she was not looking great. Dr Dick continued with “see another cloud” Debbie went to say something but pulled back. Dr Dick said “no go on Debbie what do you think it is? Debbie almost stuttered the letters “M, M, M S” Dr Dick said “yes Debbie that’s what I believe”. What he said was very matter of fact, almost cold, but I’m sure he wasn’t being cold.
The 10 seconds that followed this revelation was the longest and the shortest time ever, while we both took this in. Multiple Sclerosis what was that? Yuppies Disease? Then I remembered pictures of people in wheel chairs for charity campaigns. It started to click. I started to cry everything seemed to have just fell apart. That set Debbie off she was crying we were holding hands crying in from of the Doctor. He looked shocked, why are they crying didn’t they realise what this could be. I think he had done this so many times and I think others were prepared for the consequences of “neurological” tests. I was not.
I went home crying and started Googling MS, I called work crying to cancel my meetings, this was the start of my “battle” against MS.