Life with MS & EDS

December 1, 2008

Looking Back

Filed under: Uncategorized — by mseds @ 10:36 am
Tags: , , ,

In April 2001, Big Sister was born. Being the good new mommy that I was, I got my first flu shot that October. She was too young to get one, so I did. Very soon thereafter, the vision in both of my eyes was off. Things got strangely cloudy and my peripheral vision seemed to be gone. Both eyes were affected, but things were worse in my right eye. Thankfully I still didn’t have a driver’s license at the time (I was still a city girl back then only recently having made my way into the ‘burbs), so it wasn’t a huge inconvenience, just very annoying! I went to the standard eye dr. we saw at one of those mall-type places. She sent me to an ophthalmologist that could do more tests. That guy wasn’t able to get my vision to 20/20 and seemed concerned, so he sent me off to a neuro-ophthalmologist, Dr. Katz. After traveling around Rockville, MD with my husband and 6 month-old, I seemed to have arrived at the right place.

Dr. Katz did a number of tests, including a field vision test (stare at the center of a big machine and click a button whenever you see a spot of light appear), a color vision test (there were numbers on there?), a visually evoked response test (I don’t remember this one well, but it was lots of black and white geometric shapes changing around), as well as a variety of strong eye drops that made all of the hazel around my pupil disappear for quite a while. I also had to follow around an eye drop bottle that had a red cap or was it a sharpie marker? It was 7 years ago; I suppose it is okay that the details are a bit fuzzy.

After all of that he sent me for an MRI. He said it was likely optic neuritis (ON). I saw Dr. Katz again when the results came back. He said there was “no evidence of any demyelinating disease” (whatever that meant) and that the optic neuritis was likely a less than 1% chance of a flu-shot side effect. He said to come back if it happened again.

I don’t know how long it took for my vision to improve, but I’m pretty sure I was seeing clearly by Big Sister’s first birthday. I think the ON came back that fall, but only in my right eye. I can’t remember exactly what happened that year. I was still pretty sleep deprived.

In 2003 I went back to Dr. Katz. This time he was up in Germantown, MD and I finally had my driver’s license. He did the same batch of tests. I clearly remember sitting out in his parking lot for over an hour before I could see again to drive home. I had another MRI done and saw him again after the results came in. He said the MRI still didn’t show anything and still thought it was potentially related to the flu shot. He had seen some other people from that batch of flu shots and thought perhaps there was a connection.

This time I was trying to get pregnant, so we decided not to do any treatments for the ON. I had passed on the IV steroids the last time and really didn’t want to do them this time, especially while trying to have a baby. He said that symptoms during pregnancy usually decrease anyway, so he agreed with waiting things out.

So, that was that. The words Multiple Sclerosis didn’t come up. There was no indication that I had MS. I’m glad I passed on the treatments because I became pregnant very soon after seeing him and had Little Sister in July 2004.

Every fall the optic neuritis could come and eventually go in my right eye. It never did happen again in the left eye and it never was as bad as the first time in 2001. Yes, I thought it was strange that my vision got cloudy every fall, but I could see through the clouds and wasn’t worried. Whoops….

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