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Multiple Sclerosis Message Board

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Forgive me if this is too long to read, but typing it out is cathartic. I'm an otherwise healthy 34 year-old male and am undergoing a stressful point in life. About 2 weeks ago, I woke up feeling normal. However, I quickly noticed the room was spinning wildly in a clockwise pinwheel motion. I couldn't shake the spinning and disorientation. Walking was difficult and required putting hands on the wall. I also experienced what I would call a full panic attack - tightness in the chest, rapid heart beat and tingling extremities. Thoughts of stroke and heart attack danced in my head. Fortunately, my wife hadn't left for work yet and could help me. We went to the doctor within a few hours who felt it was an "inner ear" issue (I had been up to the mountains the day before) and prescribed anti-inflammatories (including Decadron). The other symptoms were dismissed as anxiety from the flight/flight response and things checked out fine.

The true vertigo came in waves for a full 2 hours that morning, and during the next 36 hours I continued to feel sensations of dizziness. The following night things were getting a bit better when the vertigo hit hard like someone flipping a switch. I was typing at the computer and then everything started spinning. Again the tight chest and tingling sensations immediately returned. It was so scary, we decided to go to the ER where I required a wheelchair and puked my guts out in triage. While my BP was very high at the time, they checked out my heart and major vessels with no signs of anything wrong. I was very concerned something was cardiovascularly wrong, but the ER docs said that was highly unlikely with my presentation and description of sudden vertigo. I also had a nystagmus when tracking the doc's finger side to side. They said that temporary high BP also wouldn't present these symptoms. Again it appeared that the vertigo caused the panic response and not the other way around. That night was another 3 hours of horrible, completely disorientating vertigo. They prescribed Antivert and Valium - which seemed to help a little.

For the next 10 days I feel tingling (pins and needles more than falling asleep) and sensations of dizziness (but not true vertigo, although it's come close). I stagger around like I've had a few drinks. My eyes have trouble tracking text and focusing correctly. There’s just a strange swimming feeling always going on in my brain. It comes in waves but strongest in the mornings and evenings. On my hope BP machine, the numbers are pretty good. Sometimes I think I'm turning the corner and then it comes right back. Today I returned to my personal doc who said the Decadron should have cleared up any inner ear inflammation within a week, it’s not working and is time to take it to the next step. He also re-agrees with the ER docs that it is not related to my heart or circulation. I mentioned that in my research MS often comes up with attacks of vertigo and tingling sensations (along with circulatory and inner ear problems). He says it's a possibility but sees more initial presentations in bodily control (legs, bladder, etc).

So, now I have an appointment to see the ENT where they will also do a full workup ear workup - including a full MRI brain and spine (to rule out other causes – including things like Meniere’s Disease, benign tumor and MS). So, the possibilities are now placed in front of me and I start thinking back. There's been other times when I've been oddly dizzy but have been able to shake it off. I've also experienced dead legs (like I ran 5 miles but did nothing), strange radiating pains and tingling extremities - all very temporary and quickly pushed out of mind. My medical history has also included bouts of random psoriasis and borderline low platelets – both attributable to an overactive immune system. I know I shouldn't too worked up, and take things as they come but still have to face the possibility of MS. To top things off, I’m supposed to be taking the Bar exam next month – which I’m sure is an big underlying cause of stress. Thankfully, forums like this exist to vent and learn. Thanks for listening (if you made it this far). Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.


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