My first known MS attack paralysed my right arm. My HMO Neurologist said that mine was
an unusual case and asked if I would come to be examined by a renowned British
Neurologist who would be giving a Master Class at the Hospital.
Dr. Christopher Pallis struck me as gruff and arrogant. He stood at the
head of a classroom of white coated Doctors before a chalk board and asked
me to sit on a small grey folding chair. He asked me to perform certain
manipulations with my arms and hands after which he asked me to remove my boots
to continue the examination of my legs and feet. He then drew on the board a
tube like structure, making a partial “bite” in it, explaining that this
was an unusual case since the lesions didn’t go all the way through as
evidenced by the fact that the right leg was not affected like the right
arm/hand. (I reflected that If they had, I would have been unable to walk. I
can’t recall his exact words.) He then turned towards me and very assertively
said that I would entirely recover save for some residual clumsiness in my
right hand. Just as assertively I insisted “When?”which caused the class to
chuckle. “In a few months” he answered before abruptly dismissing me.
I left somewhat offended and discouraged. On
arriving at the hospital I must have been feeling reasonably well since I had
taken the bus to get there. On leaving I felt much worse and as I walked home from the bus
stop my legs were heavy as though I was pushing through 3 feet of water.
Translation, the encounter with Dr Pallis must have stressed me and the blood
must have been backing up into my Central Nervous System. I felt I had done
my Neurologist a favour with no real benefit to myself.
Today, 33 years later, I can see the benefit. I am proud to have been examined by a world
famous Neurologist, especially since I agree generally with his political
values (after a look at his obituary). And I’m convinced his analysis was
the right one. My Neurologist wrote that Dr. Pallis thought I had a spinal
cord lesion (which is what he must have drawn on the board.) The HMO doctors
thought it was a Left parietal white ? (somewhere else I read brainstem). The
consensus was that MS was likely, though a parainfection process was still possible.
How is it that the “attack”didn’t “eat through”the entire spinal cord
which would have left me unable to walk? My answer. The Shiatsu massage of 38
days earlier. My notes show that when I went to the Emergency
room on May 2 my upper spine burned fiercely. After the massage on May 9 I felt
a total relief, even though the steam bath/sauna heat aggravated symptoms for a
few days. The massage must have stopped the blood reflux onto the spinal cord. By May 14, even though I had undergone a CAT scan and EEG (which normally would have worsened my
condition) I was feeling much better.
The lesson of Chapter 3 is that I inadvertently saved my legs by
getting a Shiatsu massage. I believe any deep tissue massage would have done. If I had
avoided the heat of the steam bath and sauna, I could have avoided the temporary
nervous system aggravation. (All massages release toxins from the muscles so one generally is tired the following day.) My Neurologist was puzzled, he was getting ready to launch me into steroid
treatment, but then the whole process stopped. No one asked if I had done
anything to arrive at this. Too bad Dr. Pallis didn’t think to ask.
I now believe at the first onset of MS symptoms one should get a massage. Why not? I
can’t see any possible harm, and the benefits may be beyond anyone’s expectations.
Let this be a cautionary tale.
(This entry was taken from Chapter 3 now found under - more....)