My first symptoms appeared one Sunday evening after I returned home from playing tennis with my brother. I noticed a strange numb, tingling sensation in my right gluteus maximus (yes, of all the places my MS journey could start, it had to be my butt cheek). In my youthful naivety I assumed it was nothing to be concerned with and would clear itself up.
I woke up the next morning, and that “nothing to be concerned with” sensation had spread all the way down to my foot. I started to worry a little and made an appointment with my doctor. She tested my reflexes, and poked my leg & foot with a sharp pin. The sharp pin felt dull, like it was a finger prodding me. After she had finished treating me like a pin cushion, she sat back in her chair and said “I have never seen anything like this before.” Thanks Mrs Doctor, that’s so reassuring!
At the time I was only 19 and I didn’t know what to say. I replied with a bad attempt at humour, asking “can I name the condition if it’s new?” My doctor kindly declined my offer and instead decided it was best to refer me to a specialist at the hospital. I took the rest of the day off work and by the end of the day the tingling sensation was affecting the whole right side of my body.
Here comes the pain…..
Within a few days of noticing the first tingles, my whole body (except my head) was affected by this odd numb, tingling pain. Sharp objects felt numb, hot water felt lukewarm and cold water felt like my skin was being ripped off my body by knives.
As you can imagine, this made life very difficult. I couldn’t walk much, I couldn’t sleep and even clothes rubbing against my skin hurt. I spent most of my time in bed wearing shorts or loose clothing. I would try to make light of the situation the best I could by making jokes about it.
My brother was very supportive (as always), he would come round and sit up with me some nights when I couldn’t sleep. It is how I learned how to play Sudoku, I guess every cloud has a silver lining.
The whole-body tingling sensation lasted a little over 4 months. In that time I had numerous MRI scans and blood tests, but nobody could tell me what was going on with my body. My neurologist never once mentioned the possibility of it being a chronic illness. I was concerned but never thought it would be serious. I always assumed it would get better and I would be fine. Being a teenager with a young healthy body, I presumed I’d be able to fight off whatever was happening to me.
I was wrong.
I’d love to hear about your first symptoms, so please leave a comment below.
If you have found this page because you are experiencing worrying symptoms and think you may have MS, please be brave and go to see your doctor.