Post of Reassurance

The Body is Weird

Apparently the, don’t worry I don’t have MS, statement wasn’t as reassuring as I had intended since it leads naturally to the question, “Why do they think MS might even be an option?!”

I have mentioned some of the various health things I have been managing, or attempting to manage, in some of my earlier posts but this summer I started having more and more frequent headaches that didn’t seem to be caused by the usual culprits: sugar, dehydration, and/or neck and shoulder tension. I also have yet to get my Vitamin D levels up to the normal range despite fairly aggressive supplementation and I’ve been struggling to maintain a healthy weight and energy levels despite sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine. I have been wondering for a while if some or all of these things might be connected and wanted to see an osteopath since they tend to be trained to view the body more holistically than most traditionally trained doctors. That is not to say there aren’t some amazing medical professionals out there with traditional backgrounds, I was just trying to find one who’s response to my various concerns wasn’t always “Well your almost 40 and that’s how it is.” and now “Well you are in your 40’s and that’s how it is.” It was quite a wait to see the osteopath and the headaches were starting to come with vertigo and nausea as well so I went to see a regular doctor this summer. We talked about two possible culprits sinus/nasal issues and muscle tension and she suggested I try Flonase for a few weeks to see if that made a difference, then stop for a few weeks before trying the muscle relaxers for a few weeks. Depending on what happened we could go from there. The Flonase helped with some of the headaches, particularly the vertigo/nausea symptoms, but the muscle relaxers didn’t do much at all and the overall amount of headaches was still higher than it used to be. While I was at that appointment this summer she mentioned that I had some earwax buildup in my left ear and asked if I wanted it removed but our appointment had already gone really long after a long wait in the first place and I was running late for something else so I said no and forgot about it.

Fast forward to early fall and I finally get to see the osteopath and we do an exam and some bloodwork. My vitamin D is still really low despite efforts to improve it and that along with something in the physical exam makes her want me to see a neurologist to rule out MS. Apparently chronically low vitamin D and MS can go together, though it is usually accompanied by other things. I schedule the appointment with the neurologist and of course it takes a few weeks before I can get in to see him. Meanwhile I managed to get sick with a cold, I went to Minute Clinic to rule out strep and during that exam the NP mentions that my left ear has a buildup of earwax and I should try an over the counter thing to get rid of it, but to not do it until I’m over the cold. I buy the stuff and then forget about it. Finally get in to see the neurologist and we do the whole exam and everything seems normal except my persistently low vitamin D, the headaches, fatigue, and some thing with how my eyes track, or rather don’t, when I look up and to the right. This eye thing is also a symptom of MS but like the low vitamin D and fatigue is usually a secondary symptom but he has had a patient in the past who was only showing these symptoms and did have MS and apparently it is very easy to diagnose MS with an MRI, either you have lesions in/on your brain and spinal column or you don’t, so he wants to do an MRI to rule it out. It is at this point that he says, “or it could be the earwax.” Apparently that build up of earwax in my one ear could be causing my eyes to not track right when I look up and to the left AND my headaches. WHAT?! Why has no one mentioned this yet?! Also how are the options MS or too much earwax in one ear?! It seems utterly ridiculous.

I get the MRI scheduled and then immediately start using the over the counter ear stuff and it does absolutely nothing. Or rather it somehow manages to make everything worse. I had my follow-up appointment with the osteopath already scheduled so I figured I’d just ask her about it then. We follow up on the vitamin D, it is still low but it’s improving, I went from 9 to 29! so I’m almost back to the very lowest end of “normal” which is 30-100, though I have read that 50-100 is probably a healthier range, I digress. She also removes the earwax and wow is there a lot. Apparently the body creates earwax as a lubricant and a defense mechanism, as in if a foreign body gets in your ear it creates the earwax to protect itself. Since my right ear has virtually nothing in it she assumes this was a reaction to a foreign body but instead of working itself out like it should have it just kept triggering the protective reaction and building up more and more until it was impossible for it to come out on its own. We are not going to think too long or too hard about what kind of foreign body it may have been because whatever it was it’s gone now.

The weird new headaches went away that day and have not returned. I hadn’t realized how bad they had gotten until they went away. Just gone, like that, it was amazing.

I also had the MRI and everything is fine. In fact the neurologist said my brain was, and this is a quote, “pristine.”

I recapped the results with Nate and after telling him the doctor said my brain was pristine, we both paused and looked at each other, and then it had to be said, “of course it’s pristine, it’s never been used!”

So in the end it wasn’t MS, not that either the osteopath or the neurologist ever really thought it was, it was too much earwax.

The human body is weird!

Of course that still doesn’t answer the question about the fatigue and weight issues but we’ll continue to chip away at those issues as soon as my life calms down a bit…. so maybe in a decade or two?