A Visit with Dr. Z

I met with my neurologist this morning for a pre-scheduled checkup. I’m glad she has returned from maternity leave, but I almost welcomed her back with a kick to the face.

More on that later.

We went over the results from my most recent c-spine MRI. There are two new lesions, which I read about when the report was finally posted to the patient portal last week, neither active at the time of scanning. Dr. Z believes they are from before I began my treatment, and she also said I made the right choice with Ocrevus because they are evidence the disease was progressing quickly. We spent several minutes looking at the images and comparing them to my last ones from May. Those were taken in an open MRI, and the quality was terrible, so she wants me to do all closed MRIs from now on. Yikes. Another lesion that was previously visible has disappeared, a good sign. Unless I have new symptoms between now and then, I won’t have another set of MRIs until May.

I sometimes focus too much on what I can’t do, and Dr. Z wasn’t having it. When we talked about my walking not being back to where it was before my relapse despite it having been five long months, she said in her blunt way, “Of course it isn’t. It has only been five months.” She told me to keep pushing as much as I could and that she wouldn’t be surprised if I was mostly back to where I had been by the one-year mark. “Is there still hope for the vision in my left eye?” I asked, the one-year anniversary just a couple of months away. “Sure,” she replied, “but 20/40 is a good place to be. You have to understand that the cloudiness may not ever go away.” Sigh. When I asked about the Ocrevus my insurance is sure to deny me again when I’m due in February, she told me not to worry, that I would still qualify to get it for free.

Then it was time for the worst part of the appointment: the physical exam, including scraping the bottom of my feet. Saying that I can’t stand having my feet touched is an understatement. There’s a good chance it will be the reason I murder someone someday. Every doctor’s visit involves checking my nerve endings in my toes with a tuning fork before scratching the bottoms of my feet with a tongue depressor, and it makes me want to die.

A lifetime ago, I went on a terrible date with a guy who kept staring at the ground. I thought he was admiring my shoes, gorgeous high black heels with double buckles. Turns out, I was half right. I was talking about my job in response to a question he’d asked when he interrupted me: “Are your toenails painted under there?” he asked creepily, licking his lips. “Red, I hope.” Realizing he had a foot fetish, I said something about having to work early and got out of there as quickly as my alluring feet could carry me.

If you have a thing for feet, trust me, mine are not the ones. These feet have never had a pedicure or even a massage because I really cannot handle anyone touching them, and I don’t like wearing socks, so they are not the moisturized beauties of a foot model. Far from it. I scream if Alvaro accidentally makes contact with one on the couch or when we’re sleeping.

So I warned Dr. Z that as non-reactive as I sometimes am when my reflexes are being checked, my feet have a mind of their own. She waved her hand dismissively at me and got to work. I gritted my teeth through the tuning fork on my toes, but she gave no warning before running the tongue depressor over my foot. The kick was involuntary, surprising both of us. “You weren’t kidding,” she laughed, standing back when she did it to my other foot while I focused on stifling a yelp.

Foot torture behind me, I left feeling optimistic. All is well.

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