Tuesday, May 03, 2005

An Update on my recent visit to The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville

Genia and I went for a follow-up visit with my doctor at the Mayo Clinic last week. We both felt good about our time there. Dr. Jaeckle ordered several tests and repeated some tests as well. We spent about one hour with Dr. Jaeckle after all the testing was complete. He seems very confident that we have ruled out virtually all possible maladies – with the exception of MS. It is his opinion, like that of Dr. Patel here in Charleston, that I do indeed have MS. When considering all the other possibilities we all feel really thankful to know that we are not dealing with some type of terminal illness.

We discussed the possible drug treatment for MS and Dr. Jaeckle feels that we should NOT start any thing at this time. It is his recommendation that we wait until I have MS lesions on my brain scan (MRI) and/or my symptoms get worse before starting any MS drug treatment, as there are adverse consequences to long term drug treatment regimes. Genia and I both agree with this strategy. He (Dr. Jaeckle) would like to see me annually and to have a brain MRI annually to monitor my situation. Once the disease “declares itself” (lesions are seen on the MRI of the brain) it would be time to start a drug (interferon) treatment regime.

Dr. Jaeckle said to expect to have periods of feeling really good and then to have a resurgence of symptoms, as this is the nature of the disease. He feels that it is very important for me to try to get some exercise regularly – he suggested walking on the beach for 30 minutes, 3 times a week. Also, with MS it is important to not get over heated. When your body temp gets to high it causes MS patients to have much more fatigue and increase in other symptoms as well. He also said the most debilitating symptom for me may be the fatigue caused by MS. (I think I already have experienced some of this!). Generally speaking, as long as I feel good, I can do most anything I want to. I just must be mindful of the fatigue that may come as a result of having an abundance of fun at one time! (For example – I actually played golf on Saturday – but Sunday and Monday I have felt like I got run over by a train.)

Again, Genia and I thank you for your faithful prayers. Now you know everything we know. Dr. Jaeckle did say he would not CONFIRM an MS diagnosis until the lesions are on the brain scan and that may take up to 5 years. MS is generally a disease that is diagnosis primarily by ruling out other diseases. The literature we are receiving from the National MS Society also stated that the average length of time for a diagnosis is over 2 years.

Love to all,
David and Genia

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