Valorie Diamond, Columnist, MSnewsChannel.com
I was diagnosed in February of 1997. That year I had two flares that caused me to go into the hospital for 5 days of IV steroids. That was 900mg a day. The first time in June of that year and then again that year (was in the hospital when Princess Diana died). Well shortly after I got out I started having issues with my walking. I would take a step and fall to the ground from the pain that just hit me with that step. I never knew when this was going to happen and let me tell you that is very scary.
So I went to my Neurologist and he thought that I might have some tendonitis going on. So he told me to take anti-inflammatory medication for about 3 weeks and see if that helped. Well in three weeks I was back in his office and we were discussing what to do. We decided to send me to an Orthopedic doctor. So in the next couple of weeks I went and he did x-rays and said that he needed to do an MRI to confirm his thoughts. So it was scheduled and I returned to his office a couple of days after.
When he walked in he told me that I had what is called Avascular Necrosis. That is where the where there is cellular death (necrosis) of bone components due to interruption of the blood supply. I had it in both hips! It was caused by the steroid treatments I had had for the MS. Well the first step we took was out-patient surgery where he put a battery pack (bone stimulator) in my left hip. Then later we did the right. They are suppose to stimulate the bone to heal itself.
Well unfortunately it didn't work. In November 1999 and in May 2001 I had the right and then left hips replaced. I had to fight to get it done because of my age as I was just 36 when the first was done.
I am not saying don't do steroids for flares but educate yourself. No one ever told me of the possibility that I would have bone damage. My Neurologist apologized. I no longer do steroids for flares, I just wait them out. That works for me but maybe not for you.
All I am saying is knowledge is power and we have to do our due diligence because our doctors aren't perfect. They are human too. We need to be very active in our treatments. Know what could happen!
Believe me I am very active now in my treatment.