Once a seed of doubt is planted, it inevitably grows into a tangled garden of questions. If left untended, a twisted jungle of anxiety is liable to follow. I chose to tend the garden.
I wasn’t sure whose assessment I was hoping to be correct, which may seem crazy on the surface. If Dr. B, the “Plan B” expert’s opinion that there were no changes in the two MRI’s was correct, then that would mean that my Copaxone was working. Great news in and of itself. However, if this were the case, it would also mean that my MS specialist was mistaken; lying? Both are uncomfortable answers. It would be easier to deal with it being an error on Dr. B’s part, but I also felt that if he were wrong, then I wasted nearly two months waiting for an incorrect assessment.
The day after Dr. B’s report arrived, the case manager from “Plan B” called and asked if I had any questions. Did I ever. I explained the discrepancy in the most looming question posed to the expert and she, of course, understood my concern. She said she would speak to her director, who also happens to be on the board of directors for my MS Center’s Hospital. She called me back and assured me that they would resubmit the question to the expert for reassessment. She told me that “Plan B”‘s director emphatically stated that the radiologist who read my MRI at the facility I go to, is the leading neurological radiologist in the country. I couldn’t help but replay in my mind the fact that Dr. K, my MS specialist, had initially failed to include the November MRI in the records that were released to “Plan B”. I was beginning to imagine a scenario whereby Dr. K was pushing for a medication switch for some kind of personal financial gain, or to get more people on Gilenya to improve its market share. I really felt like I was becoming paranoid. Here I was trying to ease my mind by getting the second opinion and it instead created a convoluted conundrum.
A complicated convoluted conundrum was the last thing I needed. I was in my second week of acupuncture treatments, my fourth week of yoga, my eighth week of my diet; I was doing all the right things to balance my Qi, to calm the “monkey brain”, to feed my damn mitochondria and the medical community was just not cooperating. I had no choice but to, once again, wait it out and a grueling three weeks later, “Plan B” emailed me the addendum to my report. I was almost afraid to open the email. I wasn’t sure what to hope for. I had recently seen Dr. W, my primary care physician, for my 6 month check up and I broke down in tears as I relayed my saga to her. We discussed the possibility of changing specialists, which given the fact that I was being cared for at one of the leading facilities in the country, seemed counterintuitive, but I felt that I had lost trust in my specialist. At the time of this appointment, the addendum had yet to arrive. Dr. W thought we needed to wait for that report. She suggested that I needed to go over the MRI results with my specialist at my upcoming appointment and share with her my concerns before jumping ship. I finally opened “Plan B”‘s addendum and slowly read Dr. B’s report which reiterated that he did not, in fact, see any change between the June MRI and the November MRI. My appointment is in 5 days. I have blisters from all the gardening.