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This is part #2 of my 3 part series about my MS diagnosis. In part #1 of this series I was going to a Benson Optical to find out why my eye became cloudy when I ran. You may ask how can I remember all this stuff 27 years later. My MS diagnosis and all the things that went with it before I got the diagnosis are permanently etched in my brain, probably for the rest of my life!
If you recall from 1989-1991 my right eye became cloudy every time I ran (jogged). In January of 1991 I went to get my eyes checked at a Benson Optical. The optician checked my eyes and gave me a different prescription however he had no answer for my cloudy vision when I ran. I thought the new prescription might cure my blurry vision so I bought some glasses with the new prescription. However, the first time I jogged my right eye clouded up again just like before. And just to piss me off it did it in the same exact spot!
In addition to the blurry eye problem I started having tingling sensations in my right arm and leg and an urgency to find toilets to urinate. When a part of the body is numb and tingling for no reason you start to think something’s wrong! In mid January of ’91 I went to a chiropractor to see if he could help me with the tingling. He examined my body and claimed it was out of whack. I had played sports my whole life, I had worked physical jobs since I was 20 years old. I told him my body should be out of whack. He wanted me to come two times per week for four weeks.
I ended up seeing the chiropractor for four weeks. One of the things he wanted to do was crack my back to see if that would help the tingling. He thought my sciatic nerve was pinched and back cracking would take care of it. Well it did, but just for a week and then the tingling sensations came back to my right arm and leg. I was starting to go crazy wondering what the heck was wrong with me!
One thing that slowed me down from getting a quicker diagnosis was this. I was still running my commercial carpet cleaning business. I had employees to keep busy, I was always trying to find new business, I did all the bidding for potential jobs plus all the office work that a small business has. Through it all I talked with alot of people about my symptoms. Somewhere someone told me about Multiple Sclerosis.
By the last week in January 1991 I thought I had nothing to lose so I scheduled an appointment at a Pearl Vision Center. I wanted to check if the Benson optician knew what he was talking about and had given me the correct prescription. So I went to Pearl and had my eyes checked again. Sure enough the prescription was correct!
While I was at Pearl I told the optician about my cloudy eye when I ran. Then I asked him bluntly if it could be Multiple Sclerosis. The optician thought about it and to my surprise he said yes, it could be MS. Then he said if my symptoms continued that I should see an ophthalmologist (doctor of eyes). I kept on jogging every day and my right eye kept on getting blurry at the very same location of my run.
A week later I scheduled an appointment with an ophthalmologist. He tested my eyes and again he confirmed that the Benson and Pearl opticians were correct. I also asked him about multiple sclerosis and if this could be that. Like the Pearl optician he said it could be MS but I should see a neurologist to do some tests. He gave me the business card of a neurologist that he knew.
It was now around the third week of March in 1991. It was then that I decided to go to a library and get a book on Multiple Sclerosis. After reading just a couple of chapters it didn’t look good for me. It sure looked like I had MS. Some of my symptoms and problems I’d had for the past year and a half were in the book. My head was spinning as I thought to myself, what would I do if I had MS?
I didn’t sleep well for a week. I had that neurologist’s business card but I hadn’t called him yet. I suppose a part of me didn’t want to find out what I thought was going to be bad news! Then something happened to me which made the decision to call the neurologist easier. It was April and warming up in Minnesota.
Everyone gets outside this time of year. I decided to join a softball team. One night while I was at practice I was catching fly balls in the outfield. There was a ball hit to me. I was looking upward tracking the ball’s flight. At the peak of the ball’s flight the ball suddenly disappeared. Talk about freaking me out! I kept my eyes looking upward at the sky. After about 3 seconds I could see the ball again and make the catch.
What happened next really freaked me out! I was playing catch with another guy. We were about 15 feet apart. I would see the ball leave his hand and on the flight between us it disappeared. The ball would then reappear seconds before hitting my glove! Wow! I did this three times and each time the ball disappeared in mid flight. I thought “before I get hit in the mouth I better quit.” On my ride home I was thinking “what the heck is wrong with my eyes.”