Thankfully, my uncle is a doctor - a retired one but someone who knows what he’s talking about. After calling my parents and telling them the news, he was my next point of reference. And was amazing.
Immediately, when I said the neurologist was vague, he scorned, “He was just too scared to tell you the news properly. That’s what these people are like. He’s only flown in to cover a back-log, and he has no vested interest in your long term health.”
Straight away he started thinking positively. His friend and colleague works closely with MS patients and he believes fully in the treatment of Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT). This sort of treatment is a controversial one in the land of MS, some patients feels it gives them a boost, others believe it does no good whatsoever.
It basicially involves sitting in a chamber (not unlike those used to help divers who fall victim to the BENDS), being decompressed to 16, 24 or 32 feet, and once the chamber is decompressed, breathing in pure oxygen through a mask.
The idea is that the decompression allows oxygen to get into the system more effectively and subsequently helps repair the nerve damage in the brain that causes MS. In my mind, there was no question about whether or not I would give it a try - it is simply pure oxygen, and even if it does me no good, it certainly won’t harm me either.
In the immediate six weeks following the inital tentative MS diagnosis I undertook 20 hours of oxygen treatment. Since then, I have tried to get at least two hours of HBOT every month, sometimes four.
Meanwhile, I asked my GP to refer me to see a more permanent neurologist based in my Trust. Going back to see the initial doctor was simply not an option.