I think I might have MS, Is my career over?

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IThinkitsover
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I think I might have MS, Is my career over?

#1 Post by IThinkitsover » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:51 pm

Well, that’s what I am dealing with right now. I fly for one of the biggest carriers in the country, my dream job. Actually I have a dream life.....I am not even 40 yrs old.

Several months ago I became dizzy for a short time, I felt off for several weeks... it was a rough time because nodoy had any clue what was going on, myself included. I ended up getting an MRI completed, my Dr. Said it was fine, except there was some (less then 5)Hyper intensities, usually associated with Migraines or head trauma, I remember I had a head ache once when I was like 20 yrs old, I barely made it home before I threw up. Went to sleep and woke up fine. I have crashed a couple motorbikes and banged my head once. I never knocked myself out but I did forget where I was and who I was dating etc for like 10 mins.

So it got me a little worried, I don’t think any of the above would cause what I had.

I started digging online, and the first thing i have come across was MS. I have read everything possible about this disease, and over time have since come to get a lot of the symptoms. My hands burn, I feel off balance, this gives me extreme anxiety, something I’ve never felt before.

Anyways my Neuro specialist appointment is next week, I am trying to brace myself for what’s to come.

I searched online and can’t find very much regarding MS and Airline flying.

Does anyone know what the ruling is with holding a CAT 1 medical and MS?

I am a long time member here, I changed my name for confidentiality reasons, I am very nervous and worried about my situation. Appreciate any insight you folks could provide.
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Re: I think I might have MS, Is my career over?

#2 Post by ahramin » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:05 pm

I wouldn't worry about MS until you've actually been diagnosed with MS. Going through symptoms on Google is not a useful way of getting a diagnosis. I know of a Harvard med student who was sure he had menopause, which was a real kick in the teeth as the week before he had leprosy.

There are 2 kinds of MS: progressive and relapsing remitting. If it's progressive then a career is the least of one's worries. If it's RRMS then I suppose TC would have to get a neuro doc's assessment and make a decision based on symptoms. I doubt if someone could fly while they are having an attack but maybe it's possible to fly the rest of the time. Even if it's possible it would be a massive uphill battle as MS is one of those diseases that conjures up the worst in medical people. I could easily see it as one of those situations where every test and exam known to medical science showed a pilot was capable of performing their duties but the TC medical person denies a medical without other reason than "because".
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Re: I think I might have MS, Is my career over?

#3 Post by North Shore » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:08 pm

Every time I visit my Doc and mention "Dr. Google says..." I get the eye roll and a sigh, and then we get down to the business of figuring out what's actually wrong. Most often, abetted by my human instinct to hypochondria, Google's diagnosis of SARS is wildly inaccurate, and I just have a bad cold.

Leave the medicine to the experts - once they pronounce, get it sorted with TC medical..

Good Luck!
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Re: I think I might have MS, Is my career over?

#4 Post by ahramin » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:26 pm

NEUROLOGY TRANSPORT CANADA

GENERAL

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has a prevalence of about one in a thousand in Canada. The peak incidence is in the early 30’s with more females than males being affected. It is the third most common cause of severe neurological impairment in the 15-60 year age range. The course is variable. Some will have a relapsing, remitting course and 20 - 30% will have a benign course. Fatigue is one of the most disabling problems in patients with multiple sclerosis. In 60% of the patients the symptoms are exacerbated by an elevated ambient temperature.

Flight Safety Concerns

1. Functional Disabilities
Though many of these will be readily apparent from a practical flight test, (eg. weakness, lack of coordination etc.) they also include problems with excessive glare in bright light and increased levels of fatigue.

2. Neuropsychological Deficits
40% of the patients with MS have been found to have neuropsychological problems. This is significantly but weakly correlated with the degree of functional disability.

3. Paroxysmal Events
Epilepsy occurs in 5% of patients with MS. Trigeminal Neuralgia is commonly a symptom of MS when it occurs in the young. Paroxysmal dysfunction of motor or sensory systems may occur with this disease.

Recommendations

1. Functional Disabilities
Individuals with functional disabilities that interfere with the mechanics of flying or those who have a progressive course of MS will be considered unfit. This is also true of those who suffer significant fatigue or heat sensitivity. Individuals who have a remitting/relapsing course may be considered fit when they have been in remission for three months provided the remission is complete or with minimal residua (eg. Expanded Disability Score of less than 2 on a scale of 0 - 10). Such individuals will require neurological follow-up every six months.

2. Neuropsychological Sequelae
Because of the concern for subtle neuropsychological deficits, applicants should probably be followed by a neurologist with expertise in M.S. Neuropsychological testing should be considered periodically especially in those who have significant fluctuation in symptoms. Flight simulator testing may be useful in assessing cognitive function. The role of MRI to delineate those who may have neuropsychological deficits has not been defined at this time. Those with marked involvement of the white matter with MS plaques, particularly if the involvement is bifrontal, should have neuropsychological testing and, if indicated, a practical flight test.

Paroxysmal Events

A. Epileptic Seizures
These individuals are permanently unfit.
B. Trigeminal Neuralgia
Applicants are unfit during periods when they are symptomatic. It is unusual for these to resolve and most continue to be unfit.
C. Other Paroxysms
Usually these are of limited duration. If they resolve and are absent for four months off medication the individual can be reconsidered for medical certification.
Multiple Sclerosis
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