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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Message Board

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Board Index

My husband started having tingling and cramping in his left hand about nine months ago. He works in the computer field, so we assumed it was Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. He was referred to a neurologist who performed an EMG. We found out this week that his EMG came back abnormal. Yesterday morning he had blood tests and urine tests done. On May 5th he is having a brain and spinal MRI. We are very scared. The doctor has not told us what he is thinking. However, after searching the Internet, we saw the symptoms of ALS and we are very frightened.

These are his symptoms: He has lost strength in his left hand and left arm. He can no longer grip a bottle of soda pop and twist the cap with his left hand to open it. Last week, he realized he cannot utilize his left hand to button his jeans. The doctor tested his left leg and said it is a little weaker than the right. He also has twitching that occurs in his upper body. The doctor referred to it as a "sparkling effect." It looks like little fireworks going off on his skin. You can visually see the twitches take place around his upper body area (upper arms and chest). Is this Fasciculation? We measured his left forearm this morning and it is one inch smaller than his right forearm, so there is atropy. He also had hyperactive reflexes in his left leg when the doctor did the reflex test on his knee. He did not have the Babinski reflex on his foot, though.

He just turned thirty eight years old and we have both a three-year old and a five-year old daughter. I am so worried right now and I cannot imagine waiting for weeks and weeks to find out what the doctor is thinking. I have been reading all of the information I can find on ALS. My husband's symptoms sound like they fit this disease so well.

The only aspect I have seen that might not fit ALS is that he has not deteriorated much in nine months time. He has gone from cramping and tingling in his left hand to losing some strength in his left hand and arm. However, I am not familiar with the deterioration rate. Everything I have read portrays the disease as having a very fast deterioration rate. But, what is considered fast with ALS? Six months? Twelve months? Is this something that could offer us some hope? He also has not lost any weight.

Is there anything else this can possibly be besides ALS? Can someone offer some personal insight? I would appreciate any opinions. Please share any info or opinions you can offer. I don't know where to turn and was happy to find this bulletin board.
:wave: 2 years ago, I lost strength in my left arm, seemed like over night, however, I never noticed the atrophy until it became weak. I had cervical fusion on 3 vertabrae 4 years earlier,and thought that was my problem.
After the emg test came back abnormal, blood test normal, physical reflexes seemed normal, and muscle biopsy was good, I too became concerned about ALS. I went back to the clinic and my neuro every six months. My right arm is now weak also, I have the same fasciculations in all parts of my body off and on. hands have lost co-ordination,not much grip.
I was diagnosed with ALS 1 year after I noticed any problem. Every persons
symptoms differ,depending, on the on set symptoms. The MRI of the brain will
show upper motor neuron problems if any are there. I had no visible errors in the brain MRI.
I just had a pulminary exam, and, I am normal after 2 or more years, still can walk good too! it seems as though it is only progressing slowly in my arms,shoulders, and hands.
even though I have ALS, the Dr. says they are finding pals who have variant types.
Mine is referred as BAD (Bibrachial Amyotrophic Diplegea) which is not as severe as true ALS, which involves upper and lower neuron problems.
keep your Faith strong,continue the test, You are in my prayers,and feel free to ask more if I can help.
Thank you so much for your responses! I can't tell you how much it has meant to have people give me feedback.

Here is an update ... My husband had his brain MRI and his spine MRI this Tuesday. Tomorrow, Friday the 21st, we meet with the neurologist at 11:45 a.m. to talk about the results of his blood tests, urine tests and MRIs. I am so nervous and scared. I hope and I pray that he does not have ALS. However, my heart is heavy because he has so many symptoms of this disease.

Please keep us in your thoughts and I will post again tomorrow with the news.

~Carolina Girl

p.s.) Symptom Update: My husband has started to fall on the stairs of our house. In that past month, he has fallen (or missed a step and come down on his rear) four times. Before this, I have never known him to fall on the steps. He also has to lift his left leg into the car with his arms. So, it seems that whatever these symptoms are, they are progressing to his left leg. He still has no weight loss. However, I can now visually see the difference in his left bicep and his right bicep. His left arm is definitely smaller.

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