Old 11-19-2016, 04:45 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default What are the chances?

Hello everyone. Firstly my thoughts go out to all of you PALS and CALS. If I am not gone by then, my passion is neuroscience and I hope to become a medical researcher in the study of progressive neurological disorders such as ALS and Parkinson 's.
I am a 17 year old African American female.
I know you all may think that I am crazy and should already be dismissed from having this condition because it is so much more rare at this age, but I cannot stop shaking this feeling that I may be an exception.
Firstly I started twitching but I dismissed them, because I've always been a nervous wreck, because I have health anxiety.
But then last week I was still a bit obsessed about it and right after typing I bent my left hand and I noticed how stiff my middle and ring finger were. Again I began to get more anxious about it... again I still tried to ignore it... didn't work. Last Friday I had a nervous breakdown and told my mom everything, because my hand was getting stiffer and was experiencing joint pain then I got weird nerve pain and pain and numbness that occasionally radiated to my forearm. I went to my pediatrician and I explained her my symptoms.
She checked for swelling and tried to see if I could feel anything when she pressed down my hand. I didn't feel anything except for a slight pressure between my ring and middle finger. She told me that it might be a mild case of Carpal Tunnel and she gave me a brace to use it and told me that If my symptoms didn't get better or got progressively worse that I should go back. I've been a bit better for these 3 days, but not convinced. I asked her if It seemed like MS or ALS... her response was "OH no sweety!"
She said it seemed like CTS because of the nerve pain that I started experiencing, the fact that I work at the library and I did tell her that I type 4+ hours a day sometimes and am constantly on my phone.
Now I am not sure if I am experiencing muscle weakness on my hands because the pain already makes it difficult for me to fully Carry things with my full strength but my legs feel weaker in a sense. They feel more sore and tight and walking over uneven floor causes joint pain on my right ankle and tightNess behind my left knee.
I am not someone in good enough shape but walking home from work today was causing extra effort.

Should I be worried, because MANY people said that they felt muscle stiffness as an early symptom but is pain such as burning, aches 24/7 that come and go throughout the day but never truly go away a sign of ALS? Does it occur before I start to feel muscle weakness? Should I schedule an appointment with a neurologist? How many people my age have been diagnosed? I heard it usually affects male Caucasians so am I out of chance?

Thank you all very much, for any effort that is put in replying to this.
Once I get my paycheck at work I will donate!
If God let's me live, I would really like to be involved in this kind of research once I'm older.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-19-2016, 05:00 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: What are the chances?

Hi
Your doctor already told you no. Burning and aches are not considered signs of ALS. Muscle stiffness is either spasticity or related to immobility - not what you are experiencing. So even if you were a 60 yo white male I would say the same thing. Being a woman and African American both decrease your lifetime risk. Your age makes it so statistically unlikely that even if you had typical symptoms ( you do not) it would almost certainly be something else.

It is awesome you want to work in neuroscience. I suggest you proactively get couseling for your health anxiety and especially neuro fears- it is very common for medical students, attending physicians and others in the field to develop an ALS phobia even those who are not predisposed- you need to address this now if you are going to be working in the field

Best of luck
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Old 11-19-2016, 11:45 PM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: What are the chances?

Just in case there's any doubt. Oh, NO! Sweetie.

I have to say this, but I'll say it politely (I hope): Jumping from your symptoms to a fatal diagnosis is so, so, so ludicrous that you really should get that anxiety fixed before college starts. That's a serious flaw in processing simple facts.

Nikki gave a great answer. Believe it. Good luck with your studies.
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Old 11-20-2016, 05:00 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: What are the chances?

Wow, thank you Nikki and Atsugi for your input. I know it seems unlikely, I guess after learning about it in my Psychology class I was mesmerized by it (not in a good way ) and I guess that is the thing that comes with wanting to research the disease. I knew about it before, but I thought that it was something that you were born with. After learning that is something that you can developed I was a bit surprised and scared. After a little bit, I have become slowly more calm and realized some things didn't match up.
I found that joint pain is not a sign of als and that pain would come during or after muscle weakness, which I don't think I have. Some things do still freak me out like the fact that my legs hurt and muscle cramp up when standing up, behind my knees but I don't think ALS would start in such a weird area. Nerve pain is also not much of a symptom of ALS I suppose. Although it seems unlikely, Anxiety makes you feel and think all kinds of things.
I read that Carpal tunnel can make your fingers feel like sausages and almost useless even though they're working fine and THAT IS exactly what my hands feel like... achei pain, stiff and they feel useless although I can still do things and move them fine (my grip is a bit less firm but CTS causes that )
Even though, I still just haven't been feeling like myself, been having lots of weird aches, pain, throat feels tight. Well, for now it is not completely debilitating so I'm just gonna go try to relax and see if it goes away.
I have been suspecting certain things like lupus and RA which are serious but there is treatment so I'm not as worried. I will come back in a few weeks to let you all know how I have Been doing.
PS Atsugi I was on meds and therapy but now just do therapy 10 months ago I thought I had pancreatic cancer... :/
Thank you again, I appreciate your time in replying to this thread. You are all in my prayers.

BTW I'm applying to BU because they have the best research facility in neurology. I hope they accept me there. ��
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Old 11-21-2016, 06:14 PM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: What are the chances?

Update: not so worried about hands now. Legs are worrying me because they feel weak and weird to walk on. There is a tightness and stiffness behind my left knee and now my neck is all weird and achy urgh like I pulled something... I am also experiencing a lot of electric nerve pains all over my body and numbness and tingling.

Good news: Doesn't really seem like ALS (maybe...)... at least cause the pain is random although it aches and stuff...
Bad news: Something seems off. Tingling, buzzing and numbness on my extremities and even my face which is very scary.. I'll wait a bit and see if I have to do another appointment if symptoms get worse. I have therapy tomorrow
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Old 11-21-2016, 11:30 PM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: What are the chances?

I really hate having to say this to you but here goes. You should not be here. You do not have symptoms that point to ALS. You actually have a lot of symptoms that point away from it. I think you know what I am saying is true.

You want to do work in neuroscience. Well first you need to get your anxiety under control. You have mentioned several diseases and it is very apparent that you jump from one disease to another. Don't get me wrong, you could very well be having issues. Anxiety also causes a lot of health problems.

Do yourself a favor and seek some kind of help for your anxiety and take control back. Anxiety is a treatable disease and is not fatal like the disease that has taken its toil with the wonderful people here. Sweetie, you have no clue how bad this is and how hard it is for most of us to even take the time to post here. You really should not expect us to spend time telling you over and over again... that you don't have a disease that is killing us or someone we love.

Do us and yourself a favor and get well. I would love to know that some day soon, you will be working in the Neuroscience field. You need to be happy and heathy. You can change peoples lives and do something great. Just get off this forum and get help.
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