After a few days, his parents took him to a local clinic where he was diagnosed with muscle strain. Yet despite taking medication, the tingling became worse. The family went to a different clinic, where the doctor performed an MRI. They were told that Ahmed had ‘MS’ but were offered no further explanation.
Ahmed says, “When I was told I had MS, I was very scared because the doctor didn’t explain what it was. He didn’t even say it was Multiple Sclerosis. He just told me it could lead to death and I was terrified.”
As soon as Ahmed received the worrying diagnosis, he isolated himself and the illness consumed all of his thoughts. He had always led a very active life, but as his condition began to deteriorate, he was unable to perform simple tasks like doing up buttons. The symptoms caused him to have a very negative outlook.
Mohamed Al Hosani, Ahmed’s father, says, “As my only son, I had great plans for Ahmed’s future. After the initial diagnosis, our family were all greatly affected. I immediately knew that I wanted to take him to an advanced medical facility, possibly abroad, for answers. One of my friends recommended Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – it was a relief to know that we didn’t have to travel, and we had access to such a facility here.”
The family visited the Neurological Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and met with Dr. Victoria Mifsud.
Mohamed says, “from our first meeting with Dr. Mifsud, we felt relieved. Our first appointment was scheduled for 30 minutes – we stayed for 3 hours! She explained the condition in depth, and from that first meeting, we understood the disease and how we could deal with it.”
MS is an extremely complex condition, in which our own immune system starts to attack the nerves cells within the brain and spinal cord. This affects their ability to send messages within the brain, and from the brain to the rest of the body properly. The team at the Neurological Institute performed another MRI and biopsy to get their own, accurate assessment of Ahmed’s condition, and to confirm his diagnosis. Due to his young age – he was still under 18 at the time – ensuring a balance of treatment that was effective, but also safe, was critical. Initially, nine different treatment options were offered, so the team could assess which would work best for Ahmed, with the least side effects.
Dr. Mifsud says, “We began with steroids, and physical therapy, to help Ahmed regain function. Thankfully, over the coming months, he returned to almost completely normal. But this was just the short-term – we then needed to consider a long-term plan and medication that he can take on a regular basis, to prevent permanent nerve damage.”
From the moment he began treatment, Ahmed became a different person. He trusted his team and his outlook on life completely changed. His confidence grew and he is now self-dependent again. He plans to finish his education, and one day, start his own business. His ultimate dream is to become a chef.
Ahmed says, “With Dr. Mifsud and her team by my side, I was able to remove the idea of death from my mind, and the illness didn’t scare me anymore. The most important thing in life is health. Not money, or cars, or any other luxury. I want to thank everyone at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi for all of their efforts and care.”
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the Sheikha Salama Foundation, for their unlimited support towards the Multiple Sclerosis Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.