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Saturday, 15 June 2013

October 2012: So Now We Know What it ISN'T!!

Our Doctor had asked the Neurologist to arrange for 'more thorough tests' to be carried out, and she certainly got her wish! We spent the remainder of 2012 becoming increasingly familiar with the various departments of hospitals near and far, and discovering medical procedures we could never have imagined. Within six months Suzie had undergone two MRI scans, a Vestibular assessment, CT scan, Lumbar puncture, nerve conduction studies, blood tests, cognitive and speech assessments.... not to mention various consultations and numerous home visits from different medical therapists.
The Cognitive assessment gave us a bit of light relief and provided some degree of amusement. It consisted of a number of questions and tasks to assess Sue's memory, mental functions and other cognitive skills. (I sat quietly watching and listening, getting increasingly alarmed by how much of the test I was actually struggling with myself!!) Sue performed quite well until it came to the memory section when she was asked for the name of the Prime Minister…. She'd been practising this all week because she knew it was bound to be one of the questions, but, when the time came, she just couldn't bring his name to mind. She'd got the names of the U.S. President and the latest 'James Bond' actor straight away, but the best she could come up with for our own Prime Minister was Harold Macmillan!! She tried to convince us afterwards that saying the wrong name was a political statement and not a lapse of memory!!
Seriously though, the results of the cognitive assessment were fine, as were the results of all the other tests and investigations. The medical professionals had done a marvellous job of telling us what Suzie's illness isn't!! They had ruled out Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Brain tumours, spinal tumours, strokes, mini strokes and a whole host of other illnesses that we'd never even heard of…. and the Neurologist was still adamant it wasn't Parkinson's disease, despite the similarity of symptoms and contrary to the opinions of other medics.
Suzie's mobility was continuing to deteriorate and yet it was now a year since her first symptoms had emerged and we were still no closer to getting a conclusive diagnosis. We were frustrated and dismayed, but we continued to take one day at a time, very grateful for the love and prayers of our friends and family, and holding fast to our Christian faith in a loving God who was sustaining us through this difficult journey. Whatever difficulties we may face, we knew that we still had a huge amount to thank God for every day.... not least the beauty of the world where we live, as illustrated in the following photos.