Medical Student convinced she has MND/ALS = Please help me.

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Simon

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My wife is in her final year of medical studies so she knows a lot more than the average person about al lsorts of diseases but nowhere near as much as an experienced Dr.

She had a Melanoma a month or so ago and it has been removed with no long term problems. She got very anxious about this and developed all sorts of symptoms that 6 different Drs believe is due to anxiety. She however, knows she has MND as she has seen a patient with it.

She tells me that she has twitching. She also complains of muscle weakness and pain. However it is not unuisual for her to stand on one leg for 90 seconds then comlain that it feels odd afterwards.

Nothing her Dr or I can say will convince her otherwise. She cries and rants and is getting quite depressed. Her Dr prescribed her an anti depressant which she wont take as it makes her feel "weird".

I believe she spends hours online looking up stmptoms and then worrying or pokes herself until she experiences the symtom. This is really having an adverse affect on the family.

Can anyone offer me any advice on how to help her.

Thanks

Simon
 

Al

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Hi Simon. I've heard this is quite common in medical students but possibly not to the extent your wife is. Does she have a close friend that she trusts that is in the same courses as her. If she doesn't believe the doctors maybe her and her friend can sit down in front of the computer and her friend could help discount all her fears. Out side of that I'd say try to get an anti-depressant that doesn't make her feel weird. There are differences in each product. Good Luck. Al.
 

ladave

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Tell her to get an EMG performed by a qualified neurologist. If she has ALS it will show denervation. If it comes back "clean", maybe that will convince her she does not have the disease.
 

BWk

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Simon How old is your wife?ALS is not very common in young people.More testing will have to be done.Just give her lots of support it may not be als or mnd.Hang in there!
 

Simon

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Thanks for the replies.

She is 40 years old so certainly approaching the demographic.

The fact that it appeared immediately after she was ultra anxious over a skin cancer scare (ironically whilst studying onology and paliative care) leads every dr and myself to conclude that it is an anxiety issue. At the worst it may be BFS.

She has no obvious muscle wasting but being naturally 47 kg it is easy to see skinny parts of her - always has been. She is getting aches and pains as well. We have just descended into winter temperatures after a beautiful summer and I am aching too from the cold. She says it is worse than other winters to which I respond that this is the oldest she has ever been.

It seems that whatever I say she will think of a counter argument. It is almost as if she wants to have this disease. I know the mind is a powerful thing and there is plenty of power in positive thinking. She is doing the opposite. The way she is going she will become clinically depressd at the least and may enough end up with worse chronic issues.

Her GP has ordered more tests and I have convinced her to order a neuro appt. I don't think she was keen as this is a small community and referring a healthy person onto a busy specialist wont reflect well on her. Hopefully we can get a fast and free appointment using the Medical Student status.

Thanks again and keep the ideas coming

Simon
 

Al

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Simon. Could I ask where you are that you are just entering winter temperatures? As Dave says get her to see a Neuro but depending where you live this may be easier said than done.
 

Simon

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We are in Australia in the major regional city of Newcastle - about 150km north of Sydney.

Neuro's have waiting lists that are quite long but being a medical student has it's advantages.

She waltzed up to one in the hospital corridor today and got a quick 10 min consult and sees him for a test next week. He tried to reassure her but obviously concluded she needed the test done to convince her.

When she had the melanoma her GP couldn't find a surgeon for 6 weeks. She saw her medical supervisor who pulled some strings and she saw the number one cancer fellow at 9am the next morning - no charge either.

The neuro told her that he has had many colleagues present with MND and he knew straightaway that she needed to see the test results. Fingers crossed he proves her to be a nutter cos MND is too awful to consider. Hope that doesn't offend anyone in here :oops:
 

kazzy

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Just continue to support her

The best thing you can do for her is to continue to support her. At the moment what she is feeling is real whether it be she has mnd or not she is extremely scared and worried. She has already been through a lot having the melanoma scare and you would do well in supporting her in any medical investigations she needs to go through. An emg would be helpful.:cry:

Also just bear in mind the amount of information she has taken in over the last few years is incredible and I guess most medical students would go through a period of time where they put any symptom they have under the microscope and labelling them as "nutters" is not only condescending but cruel!:evil:

I sincerely hope she does not have mnd but this is where the rubber hits the road...... are you going to support her or label her as a nutter!:oops:

On a lighter note - I hear Newcastle is a beautiful place.:mrgreen: \

regards,

Kazzy
 

Simon

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kazzy said:
The best thing you can do for her is to continue to support her. At the moment what she is feeling is real whether it be she has mnd or not she is extremely scared and worried. She has already been through a lot having the melanoma scare and you would do well in supporting her in any medical investigations she needs to go through. An emg would be helpful.:cry:

Also just bear in mind the amount of information she has taken in over the last few years is incredible and I guess most medical students would go through a period of time where they put any symptom they have under the microscope and labelling them as "nutters" is not only condescending but cruel!:evil:

I sincerely hope she does not have mnd but this is where the rubber hits the road...... are you going to support her or label her as a nutter!:oops:

On a lighter note - I hear Newcastle is a beautiful place.:mrgreen: \

regards,

Thanks for the lecture - nutter is a term of endearment in our family as we have more than our fair share of mental illness. She herself has expressed that she hopes she is just nutty.

She has indicated that I have supported her more than she could ask. If it is just psychosomatic then isn't there a point where encouraging it is detrimental?

Newcastle is nice - why don't you come for a visit. We have a spare room you can use.

Simon
 

hope

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Simon if it is okay to say, I personally dislike the word nutter but everyone has the right to there own way of saying things. People who have emotional problems can feel very ill as well even thought als is awful it can be a very painful thing to feel ill from one's emotions.

Sandy.
 

kazzy

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Simon said:
kazzy said:
The best thing you can do for her is to continue to support her. At the moment what she is feeling is real whether it be she has mnd or not she is extremely scared and worried. She has already been through a lot having the melanoma scare and you would do well in supporting her in any medical investigations she needs to go through. An emg would be helpful.:cry:

Also just bear in mind the amount of information she has taken in over the last few years is incredible and I guess most medical students would go through a period of time where they put any symptom they have under the microscope and labelling them as "nutters" is not only condescending but cruel!:evil:

I sincerely hope she does not have mnd but this is where the rubber hits the road...... are you going to support her or label her as a nutter!:oops:

On a lighter note - I hear Newcastle is a beautiful place.:mrgreen: \

regards,

Thanks for the lecture - nutter is a term of endearment in our family as we have more than our fair share of mental illness. She herself has expressed that she hopes she is just nutty.

She has indicated that I have supported her more than she could ask. If it is just psychosomatic then isn't there a point where encouraging it is detrimental?

Newcastle is nice - why don't you come for a visit. We have a spare room you can use.

Simon
Didn't mean for it to sound like a lecture and for the most part it does sound like you have been extremely supportive. Mainly recoiled at the use of the word nutter and it's connotations.

I guess my own experience was being locked in an emotionally, physically and verbally abusive relationship in the past and his favourite way to knock me down as a person and question my sanity and self worth was to refer to me as a "nutter." Now he was the one who was a nutter and I was the sane one but at the time I started to believe what he was saying! So the same word can mean something vastly different to different people.:mrgreen:

We also have schizophrenia, depression, alcoholism in our family and from my perspective they are people first(Not nutters) who suffer from these conditions!

Anyway all the best and hope you find some quick answers.

Regards Kazzy.
Oh and thanks for the offer of the spare room.:mrgreen:
 

Simon

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I think the issue is one of culture. In Australia we are different with the way we use these words.

I could greet my best mate and say "How are you, you old bastard" or such and it wouldn't be blinked at whereas I believe in the US it would be quite offensive.

I apologise to you all for my choice of words but reassure you that it isn't the issue. I will try to be more sensitive in here in future.

I don't really know how I can be more supportive.

Things are not getting better. She took a new antidepressant last night and slept til 1pm today. With exams next week thigs are getting a little desperate.

Cheers,

Simon ( a more politically correct Simon)
 

Al

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Ah Yes Simon I asked where you were from so when this sort of thing happens I get to referee so to speak. Now anyone who is the least bit well read or travelled will realize that there are different ways of saying things in different parts of the country let alone half way around the world. I think it is a bit harsh to jump on poor Simon who has enough on his plate without getting on his case about a perfectly normal saying in his country that doesn't mean the same here. Hope she's better Simon and When can I book the room?
 

Simon

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You are aware that if you visit you will need to be able to outswim a shark, wrestle a croc and drink your own weight in beer. All at the same time.

Plus noooone I know drinks Fosters nor does any pub sell it here!

Let me know when your flight gets in so I can pick you up at the airport.

Cheers,

Simon
 

Al

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Never much cared for Fosters anyway thought it was all hype after Croc Dundee. I tried to chase a shark while diving off the Florida coast once and couldn't catch it. I don't dive anymore. Extension cord for the Bipap is too long. Crocs are ugly. Don't wrestle ugly things.Never could drink my own weight in beer but came close once with Canadian Rye Whiskey. Stick to red wine. I have had a couple of good Shiraz's from over there so I could try with that. A few shrimps on the barbie for good measure and a party it would be.
 
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