Looking back there have been quite a few signs, it is funny that it all seems so apparent now, but I easily wrote them off when they occurred. I can see why MS is so hard to diagnosis, because all of these things could be something else and not obviously a chronic disease.
1) My first sign was IBS. Now this is something a lot of people get "diagnosed" with, but could be a sign of MS, food intolerance, other auto-immune diseases, etc. My doctor told me that 1 in 4 women are diagnosed with this (so do not worry, it isn't always a sign)
2) The year following my marriage (2004 - 2005) I was having these vertigo spells. If I moved my head at all I would feel dizzy and faint. I went to the doctors and she thought I was having these issues because my blood pressure was so low (60/90 at the time). So I was told to take in more salt and after around 7-8 months it went away.
3) Fast forward 3 years and I was training for my first AK marathon (this was 2008). I had done my 20 mi run on a really HOT day and afterwards my skin on my entire right side (from head to toe) went numb. I even posted something on my tri club forums to see if anyone else had this happen and people told me to go to the docs. I did, and all he said was that I had a pinched nerve in my shoulder and I received some PT exercises for my neck and back. After a couple of months I got all feeling back. My neuro gave me a vibration test (see below) and I passed with flying colors.
4) Then two months ago in Oct is when the migraine followed by optic neuritis occurred. Of course I was unable to ignore the fact that I lost vision in my left eye and I was forced to really confront what was happening to me.
5) Other signs
- Fatigue - I am always tired and never feel like I get enough rest, this has been happening for years and mainly responsible for the 4-5 cups of tea and coffee I drank a day.
- Heat Intolerance - I get zapped if there is any running in the sun or heat; in fact my husband makes fun of me because I am sweaty and red before we even begin to run
- Falling/Stumbling - I am always falling (running, hiking, walking). My trail-running partner last year was always commenting about how I am always falling. Of course I have considered myself clumsy since a little kid.
- Memory - this is my most annoying sign. For awhile now I have had trouble recalling words, memories, names, etc. I just thought it was typical, but now, not so much. Nothing like having beginning Alzheimer's at the age of 28.
- Tight Muscles - I have had chronic tight calf muscles. At first I chalked it up to running, but I have not been running much this past month and they hurt every morning.
- Shaking - I always joked that I could not be a surgeon, now I know why my hands shake so much. They just got worse after this last attack too.