Tiasha’s story – June 2022

Despite the awful news of getting diagnosed with Remitting, Relapsing MS, I feel I have been very lucky with the process that followed. My first symptom was in March 2021 which was Optic Neuritis. My left eye started to go blurry and I struggled to focus. Over the next three weeks it developed and got worse. Having initially thought my lenses needed a slight prescription change, I was suddenly faced with difficulty in seeing anything, it was like trying to look through baking paper! Work, reading, everyday activities like driving, playing sports… they all became difficult. This lasted about two months, from beginning to end.

After the first couple of weeks, I went to the eye clinic while at work and explained what was going on, and was booked onto the system as an eye casualty patient for tests to be done. The consultant couldn’t see anything severely wrong and sent me to my opticians for an adjustment to my lenses. However, I knew that my problem wasn’t due to my lenses needing adjusting, I knew that it was more than that.

A week later I had my appointment at the opticians and explained to an extremely kind and supportive lady what I had been told at the eye clinic. After several tests, the consultant gave me a referral letter to take back to the Ophthalmology department at East Surrey Hospital before doing a “visual field test”. I went back to the consultant where she asked for my referral letter and explained I now needed to see a neurologist. This straight away was a red flag as I know what neurology means. I froze and at a 100mph I thought “no way, this isn’t a connection, is this what my mother had…” I went on to say that my mum is seeing a neurologist as she had recently been diagnosed with Secondary Progressive MS, having experienced very similar symptoms. I asked if we were going down the same route. I could see her face drop and both of us started to well-up. She said that we’re just going to check the brain and all the nerves as a precaution, it potentially could be a neurological problem like MS but it could also be something else. I could see the worry and concern on her face, we chatted a bit more and she tried to reassure me but I knew this wasn’t good.

As soon as I left, I called my mum, we cried on the phone and I headed straight home. When I arrived, Mama, Jordan (my brother), and Eden (my sister), were waiting for me in the dining room. They gave me a big hug and we talked about it all. I said that I had the referral letter with me and my brother took me straight away to the hospital that afternoon. I went to the outpatient’s department and spoke to the eye clinic again. I had the same test as last time with one or two extras. A little positive was how funny Jordan found it when my pupils had to be dilated, they were huge! We laughed a lot.

Anyway, after the tests, we had a chat with the consultant, which was very different to last time. She explained that the optic nerve at the back of the eye is connected to the brain, sending and receiving visual messages. The optic nerve in my left eye was inflamed, hence the issues with my sight. She said this was very common for Optic Neuritis and it will eventually return to normal. A number of tests were to be carried out in the next couple of weeks just to make sure everything is covered. Jordan asked all the right questions and was so helpful whilst I was still in shock and trying to understand. Two weeks later, after further testing, I was back at the eye department for a follow up. My eyesight was much better, but not 100%. Tests, tests and more tests, I finally sat down with one of the consultants to make sure everything was healing properly, however the conversation went slightly further than expected!

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