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Multiple Sclerosis Message Board

Multiple Sclerosis Board Index

HI Mrssadia. First, welcome to our board. You will find alot of support here and its a wonderful place to ask questions, compare symtoms and find out about tests, etc.
I wont add too much to what April just told you, as she pretty much covered it all...but you did ask about brain tumors and MRIs....Ill give you alittle more info.
MRIs are giant magnets which are used to scan any part of your body...with MS, and most Neurological issues, they start with the brain, sometimes adding the Cervical (C)spine and occasionally go further down into the back..however, brain and Cspine are the usual. They also sometimes add contrast...what that is, is a liquid injected into your arm half way thru the MRI, which allows things which are "active" meaning, causing you immediate problems, to show up more clearly on the MRI. Contrast does not hurt- nor does the MRI, but for people who get claustrophobic, it can be a scary experience. The trick is to keep your eyes closed, think about happy thoughts and just get thru it. Because you are usually wearing headphones, you can listen to music, and the tech will talk to you between each series (especially if you ask them to) telling you how long the next series will be...they last anywhere from 2-8 minutes average...its really not that bad. Its mind over matter. What the MRI is looking for, is abnomalities...yes, tumors can be seen- but also scar tissue on the brain. MS is multiple scars...these are caused by damage to the Myelin Sheath, which is the protective nerve coating around each nerve. Think of it like the rubber which protects an electrical cord...when that rubber gets worn out, or damaged, the cord is exposed. In the case of a nerve, when the nerve is exposed, it forms a scar- those scars show up as little white dots on the MRI. BUT, keep in mind that not all scars or lesions as they are called, are MS. You can get them from a migrane headache, or a head trauma (car accident? Falling off a sliding board as a child) anytime of trauma can leave a scar....the placement, size and location of the scars is what directs the doctors towards MS. You can learn more about the criteria for diagnosing MS by searching the McDonald Criteria on these healthboards....there is alot of info here on it.

MS is very hard to diagnos. Its rare for people to find out its MS right away. I was lucky and found out with my first symtoms...but most people go thru a period of wait and see before they get confirmation. This is due to the McDonald Criteria which doctors need, before diagnosing this certainly dont want someone to say that you have MS, unless they are very sure! But in order to get that criteria, lots of tests are usually done...that is because MS is diagnosed only when everything else is ruled out. There are so many diseases which present much like MS, that they have to rule those out first..Lyme disease, Fibro, even Lupus is similar...those can all be ruled out by both blood work and spinal taking the spinal fluid out of the back (this is the same as a lumbar puncture by the way) they can run tests which are more conclusive then blood work.....also Evoked Potential tests are sometimes done..these can be on any part of the body which is having symtoms, including an eye or Visual Evoked Potential. Normally, theese tests do not hurt, although some people do experience brief flashes of pain with the body parts, especially if they have nerve damage in those areas. The visual one is done by watching a tv screen, and there is no pain involved.

I hope this helps you with the technical for the personal end. Keep reading our posts and youll see that almost all of us live perfectly normal lives..I am a wife, mother, stepmother, have a fulltime very demanding job in sales and a travel with that job- I run my household, take care of normal wifely things, and also just managed to complete my MBA. And, I have 50+ lesions on my brain. I take shots 3 times a week (Rebif) and do experience both pain, fatigue and every other MS symtom randomly...they come, they go. The worst part of the disease is the NOT knowing what will happen...however, eating right, exercising, and keeping a positive attitude really do go a long way. Keeping in touch here, on the board, is my outlet. I read about people like you- people who are where I was less than 2 years ago, and I NEVER forget the fear I went thru, the first shots I had to do, the learning about the disease and the people who helped me become who I am today...we will all be here to help you thru each step if you need us.

Let us know how you are..

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