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  • cocogiam
    Hello,

    I am a 20 year old female. I have been having issues with Rheumatoid arthritis for years now, and from what I have been told it is genetic. I was also recently diagnosed with Spondylitis.
    MS runs in my family, so they have having me go for MRIs every 4 months to check if the inflammation in my spine and joints has worsened or not.

    The thing they don't understand is that it has already been years now that I have had time and memories ripped from my childhood and early adulthood due to the pain. I have exrtemely horrible upper back pain when I wake up and worsening throughout the day. I had gotten glasses not a year ago and I can't see at all with them anymore, and my hearing has gone horrible. I always have a foggy mind and I have noticed I slur my speech slightly, and even more so when medicated.

    As of now, all they can do for me is to tell me to wait and get the MRIs every few months and take Celebrex. Celebrex does NOTHING for me. Advil, Aleve, Vimovo, Naproxen, none of it does me ANY good except make me feel like vomiting. I am also being sent to another specialist in Toronto which will take more 3 months to book me for an appointment that is almost 6 months away. What am I supposed to do in the time being? Shrivle in pain? I had to quit 2 jobs right after eachother because I cannot handle the pain and swelling in my feet and ankles from standing up, and when i sit down my back does its thing. It's like I cannot live a simple normal life. Apart from that I suffer from anxiety and depression, which has been getting worse and worse from my lack of mobility. I have gained over 50 pounds and people are starting to tell me I am basically a lazy slob (in much nicer words) I am trying my best to lose weight but after one day in the gym, the next week or more feels like death. I have also been having horrible IBS problems, which result in me losing a lot of weight during the attacks (5-10 pounds in a WEEK) and then I gain it all back once the attacks go away. They have told me it is most likely chrones disease due to the nature of it and my other diagnosis. 

    So my 2 questions:

    How long did you take to get diagnosed (preferably in Canada) and what did the doctors do in the meantime. I can't handle the pain anymore and I feel like I am losing my mind. All of my senses are weaking and I can't function normally. Which medication would you recommend I bring up to my Dr, now that the previous ones given do nothing for me.

    Second question, have any of you tried Medical Marijuana for MS or RA symptoms? I have recently started trying out different medical strains, and I find although SOME strains make me have severe anxiety, others don't. Overall it is a great way to manage my pain. Better than anything I have ever tried- however it is expensive, especially the medical grade, and I can't afford to be spending the amount I'd need on a weekly basis. (50-70 dollars)

    What can I do? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Thank you
  • gabrielle519
    Hello Cocogiam,

    Everyone has different experiences with MS. I was diagnosed fast. Now I will tell you I was not put on the right treatment for a while. You have to find the right  neurologist. I MS specialist is probably the best. I was lucky and really only have pain when I am getting sick (my knees ache).

    I have never tried Marijuana because my work does drug tests.

    I will tell you that I am all about a holistic approach. Ask your doctor about seeing a councelor for the anxiety and depression. Maybe even physical therapy so that you could maybe eventually go back to work. I eat good and want to start exercising because that can help with the depression and anxiety as well. Physical therapy is good because they can advise you on ways of not pushing to hard so you don't have as much pain the next day. Gradually increasing excerise might help because if you just start and push it will end up making you feel worse.

    My next advice is talk with the MS society if you get diagnosed they have a booklet on all the different treatments to help you figure what treatment is best for you. They also have a lot of program specified for MS patients that might benefit you in the long run. I wish good luck!
    Gabrielle 
  • bubbadog66
    My answer to your first question, mind you i'm from the US, was about a decade plus of being tested for everything under the sun and told my "issues & difficulties" were panic attacks, stress or all in my head because there was/is no medical explanation whatsoever to explain my "MS symptoms"...i'm an older guy that worked and played hard, never went online like you to a site like this...who knows, maybe if i had i woulda been diagnosed sooner and slowed down enough so as to not aggrevate my MS more...kinda like i've done this past year or so.

    Second question is yes, i use medical marijuana...saves me from taking anywhere from 2-6 more pills/meds a day. I personally find it useful but far from the solution as the "only" alternative...guess i would consider it a supplement of sorts....it is a prescribed med not recognized by my insurance sheerly for political reasoning, but at least where i live today in Maine i use this supplement legally....lol

    Best of luck to you and keep asking questions, hold your "authorities" concerning your healthcare accountable to your sense of well being. All we can do is the best we can do in that and every moment, won't always look or feel "pretty".
  • april9517
    I was diagnosed quickly in a sense....I was checked into the hospital after a drs. visit and they told me that day I had MS, but I had been going to the doctor since I was 9 for symptoms- so it took 12 years to be believed, then after only a day. 

    I take medical marijuana, I also have severe anxiety and had a really bad reaction to one strain of edible. My reccomendation is anthing CBD. they have oils, edibles, flower and tinctures and anything with high amounts of CBD and low amounts THC works great for pain AND anxiety. I take it for pain, neuropathy, and MS hugs. I also take it to help with my insomnia. CBD doesn't give you that high feeling, but be aware all forms have a little THC in it. Edibles is a cheaper way to get CBD. However, tinctures and oils work best for me. Its a happy "high" but also I dont feel impaired, if anything I feel more sober. Those are pricier though, but last a longer as well. There is also cbd/thc lotions/balms/ and butters. they work really well too, some more than others. My mom has arthritis and she uses those as well

    Hope any of this helps! Good Luck
  • anywhereoutofthisworld
    I was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis in late July of 2017 after a brain MRI came back showing lots of MS lesions and a spinal tap came back positive for high amounts of elevated protein 'o' bands. I am in the USA and I was diagnosed quickly, I saw the neurologist after my regular doctor ordered me an MRI of my brain, on June 28th of last year. He immediately noticed the mamy MS type lesions and ordered blood work to rule out lymes disease for example. The he orderd an MRI of my cervical spine. I saw him again for a follow up appt and he said my  cervical spine MRI results showed no lesions but through that I discovered I had cervical spinal stenosis, which was confirmed in mid August of last year when I saw a neurosurgeon who also wrote me a script for physical therapy. Next the neurologist ordered a spinal tap, I had the spinal tap done on July 18th. When I saw the neurologist on July 25th, he confirmed my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis as my spinal tap results showed high amounts of protein 'o' bands and that combined with the amount of lesions in my brain MRI made diagnosis of MS definate. He also said he believes due to the amount of lesions and 'o' bands, that I had actually had MS for quite some time. Even though I prepared myself for the news cause after reading the symptoms I was 99% sure I had it, it still shook me hard. I remember my mom calling me and me telling he the news as I was sobbing in the office. Neurologist suggested Tecfidera and after doing some research I decided to to go with that Ms medication.
    I am gonna post a link here, it is guidelines for MS diagnosis you may wanna look over - Click to See Link For Guidelines
    I also gonna post some common MS symptoms, this was the list of symptoms I reviewed prior to being diagnosed that confirmed for me that I was 99% sure I had MS.

    Speech and voice disorders ***** (speech slurring was the main symptom I had that led me to see my doctor, I had a very bad slurred speech episode that lasted a month starting when I woke up on May 18th of last year, also for 2 weeks during that time the right side of my face went stiff and I couldn't smile normal, my mom thought I'd had a mini stroke in my sleep. My speech was not only very slurred but I was told I sounded high when I spoke and I don't do any drugs so that seemed odd)
    ----------------------------------------
    Up to 40% of people with MS experience problems with their voice or speech.
    One possible problem is dysarthria, a motor speech problem that manifests as slurring, poor articulation of words, and speaking too loudly or too softly. Another possibility is dysphonia, a change in voice quality, such as sounding hoarse or nasal.

    Fatigue
    ----------------------------------------
    Some 80% of people with MS will experience fatigue at one point or another, but fatigue can have many causes. Some people experience “MS lassitude,” a very severe fatigue that occurs daily that tends to get worse as the day wears on.

    Numbness
    ---------------------------
    (or a lack of sensation in various parts of the body) is often one of the first symptoms to bring a person with MS to the doctor. Numbness can occur in the face, the body, or the arms and legs, and can interfere with walking, holding on to objects, and even chewing, if the numbness affects the face.
    Sometimes the feeling—or lack thereof—progresses over hours or days, but it usually subsides on its own.

    Vision problems
    ---------------------------------
    Like numbness, vision problems are one of the most common early symptoms prompting a person to visit the doctor. The problem can manifest as double vision, eye pain, blurred vision, or a scotoma (it looks like a hole in your vision).


    Bladder Dysfunction
    -------------------------------
    Bladder problems in people with MS can manifest in two, seemingly opposite ways. Some people have difficulty emptying their bladder. That means urine stays too long in the bladder, leading to infection, discomfort, and a distended bladder. Others can't keep the urine in, resulting in leakage and urgent frequent bathroom trips.

    Constipation/ IBS
    --------------------------------
    The most common bowel problem related to MS is constipation or also irritable bowel syndrome.

    Dizziness and Vertigo
    --------------------------
    The good news is that the symptoms of dizziness and vertigo often do go away and, for others, common drugs used to treat dizziness and vertigo in otherwise healthy people can be effective.

    Sexual Dysfunction
    ----------------------------
    There are three types of sexual problems related to MS, and the first is direct neurological damage to the nervous system. For women, that means loss of sensation, loss of vaginal lubrication, and an inability to achieve orgasm. For men, it can mean sensory changes as well as difficulty getting and maintaining an erection and difficulty reaching orgasm.
    In addition, people with MS might feel reticent about sex because they’re tired or are worried about bladder control. Some MS medications can also affect sexual function.

    Depression
    --------------------------
    Not surprisingly, depression is common among people with MS. Changes in the immune system can contribute to depression, as can biochemical changes in the brain.

    Cognitive Dysfunction
    --------------------------------------
    Cognitive dysfunction affects upwards of 60% of people with MS. The good news is that only specific areas are affected. This could be recent or “working” memory or the speed at which a person is able to process information. Or a person may have trouble focusing or multi-tasking. Once these problems start, they often don’t go away, but they do progress slowly.

    Anxiety
    --------------------------------
    This is the poor second cousin to depression. That’s because depression gets all the attention, though anxiety can be equally debilitating. Not only are there organic changes in the brain that result in anxiety, but the ongoing, uncertain nature of MS can be nerve-wracking.
    MS can also involve mood swings and irritability, although the irritability may be a consequence of depression.

    Emotional changes
    -------------------------------
    About 10% of people with MS may experience “pseudobulbar affect” (PBA), a neurologic change that usually occurs in tandem with cognitive changes. Here, the expression of a mood or feeling is disconnected from how a person’s actually feeling so a person may have uncontrolled bouts of crying when they’re not actually sad or they may laugh hysterically at inappropriate times.

    Pain
    ----------------------------------------
    The pain is often the direct result of nerves damaged by the disease. If this is the case, the person may feel severe burning sensations in their legs, feet or hands, or might imagine a knife is stabbing the side of his or her face because the nerves on that side are inflamed.

    Spasticity
    ---------------------
    Spasticity can involve both stiffness as well as involuntary muscle contractions. As a symptom of MS, it’s most common in the legs and may manifest as a mild feeling of tightness in the muscles or as more severe pain.

    Balance/ Coordination Problems
    --------------------------------
    People may report they feel suddenly weak in one limb or they may find objects slipping easily out of their hands. If there’s damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance, people might also be unsteady on their feet and prone to falling.

    Tingling
    --------------------------
    Tingling is related to numbness and may feel like your arm, fingers, or toes are falling asleep, yet never quite waking up. Like other MS symptoms, this is a result of damaged nerves sending mixed signals to the different parts of the body. People may also experience something called the “MS hug.” It feels like somebody is grabbing them very tightly around the midsection, but it’s not muscular.

    I detail all of my symptoms in great depth in my profile so if you want you can review that was well, may help to see how many of those you have experienced. Also feel free to message me for any other inquiries you may have.