Never Heard Back

I know some of you were waiting to hear how that job interview turned out. Well, guess what? They never told me. Anything. Since classes started yesterday and I am still 1400 miles away, I am guessing that I didn’t get the job. A friend of mine said it was ‘tacky’ of them not to get back to me. Whatever. I don’t think I’d want to work at a place that disorganized and inconsiderate.

And so here I sit, wondering where to go next.

I wonder what jobs are available for an intelligent, over-educated, opinionated, middle-aged woman. Yes, I have to confess that I am middle-aged now, and wondering if things will ever get crossed off my bucket list. (I still want to go to Scotland and New Zealand, and dozens of other places.) If only I hadn’t screwed up this last job with my 4 weeks of vacation and $120k paycheck. But my mental health is much better by not working there. So the real question is: what is the price of mental health?

Oh, now that’s a topic that should be a blog post all by itself.

Bucket-list is another blog topic too.

Guess I’m just brainstorming now. Wait, that’s out of fashion. Oh well.

My left arm is bothering me today. I’ve got a dull ache in my shoulder and down the arm, with tingling in the hand. No, it’s not a heart attack. At least, not very likely. I’ve been to the ER on several occasions under similar circumstances and my heart is fine. Stress test is fine. What’s not fine is the damn neuropathy and ‘probable’ MS. It could also be that my shoulder is so cramped up from stress and what have you that it’s putting pressure on a nerve. That’s what it feels the most like. I wish I could afford to go back to my massage therapist!

Blah. My life is still boring, that’s why I haven’t written anything. I did make a couple of cute cards so I’ll post those with a 30 days of creativity post. Soon. No, really, soon.

So what should I talk about? I’m really doing a poor job of creating a post today. I’m all rambley and stuff. Brainstorming. That’s it. It may not be cool anymore but I still like it.

Any ideas out there as to what I should write about? My life is pretty dull. 😦

And my arm hurts. Bummer.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

My Neuropathy

Since my last post, Manic Monday, spurred a lot of interest on the topic of neuropathy, I thought I would share my experiences in hopes that they help someone else.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a MD nor associated with the medical field in any manner.  This information is based solely on my experience.

It all started about 2&1/2 years ago.  At first it was just a light tingling in my fingers and toes that would come and go.  Since I had been previously diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I thought it was just a relapse. I thought, “Great, my first relapse in seven years. Must be all the stress I’m under.”  But then it started to happen more often.  Within a month, I had full-blown peripheral neuropathy: severe pain in my legs, temperature regulation issues, tingling, etc. Within two months, the numbness started.  It began with the side of my big toe on my right foot.  I remember this because I was thinking how it was the furthest body part from my heart.  The numbness spread, encompassing all of my feet, ankles, and eventually spread up my legs.  After a year and a half, the numbness was up to my knees.

You can imagine the terror I felt the entire time.  I’ll try and give some description as to what it feels like.  Imagine a burning, searing pain in your feet.  Like walking on hot pavement in the summer times a hundred.  The pain doesn’t just feel hot, it feels electrical. I also occasionally get stabs of pain which feel like someone has taken a spike with a small, sharp head and slammed it into my toe.  These stabs occur randomly, and are so sharp and shocking that I have been known to cry out, and even remove my foot from the gas pedal.

There’s also the cold.  My feet are constantly cold.  I’ve had problems with cold feet for most of my life.  But now my feet sometimes get really cold – like ice.  Your feet can sweat and be cold at the same time – it’s the weirdest thing.  If you manage to get them warm, that often triggers the searing hot pain.  But there is another kind of cold.  It’s a bone deep cold.  I remember walking down the hallway one time thinking, “this is the strangest sensation.  Something is not right.” (Brilliant deduction, huh?) This feels like is your bones have turned to ice water.  The whole leg doesn’t necessarily feel cold, but the bones are deep and frigid.  It’s more like an ice cold water than pure ice because you feel a little “sloshy” and unsteady. Peripheral neuropathy also causes problems walking and you will trip if you try to walk too fast.  Good comfortable shoes are essential for keeping your balance and to prevent pain.

I almost forgot the deep pain. The surface can feel fine (or most likely is numb) but there is a deep pain. Like your bones are crying out for mercy.  It reminds me a little bit of when I was a kid and the doctor said I had “growing pains” in my legs because of a growth spurt, only this is much more severe.  I had it in my shoulder and chest one time and went to the ER.  That time it felt like the muscles as well as the bones were in agony – I put it as an 8 on my pain scale.  (A 10 is having your hip put back in its socket and waking up after a hysterectomy.)  At least I know my heart is fine.

Lastly, there is the numbness. The numbness feels like it’s on the surface.  In my case, it’s not so bad that I can’t feel a pin or a scratch but I still have it.  When it was up to my knees, I didn’t even want to shave my legs because the sensation was so creepy.  Now it’s only in my feet, from the balls of my feet to my toes. So I both like and hate pedicures.  The warm water and foot massage is wonderful, but I can’t let them work on the balls of my feet because the pumice stone is painful. The sides of my toes and between my toes are partially numb.  It feels like there is sand between my toes.  At the time it was spreading so rapidly, and in combination with my other symptoms, I was convinced I would die within a few years.  Since they have both receded significantly, the absolute terror I lived day to day has also receded, but I still remember it and dread the day it may come back.

There are many causes of neuropathy including diabetes (most common), vitamin deficiencies, toxic chemicals & medications (for example, cancer treatment), and more obscure diseases.  However, 60% of all neuropathies are deemed idiopathic.  What I have described here is peripheral neuropathy (PN).  There is also autonomic, optic, audio and others.  PN is the most common. It can be difficult to find information on the web regarding neuropathy unless you start looking specifically for diabetic neuropathy. I’ve included some links below.  The only way to treat PN is by isolating the underlying cause and treating that.  Certain medications are used to help treat it such as Cymbalta, Lyrica, Neurontin, and topical creams, but those medications are only addressing the symptoms (pain) and not the underlying cause.  Studies in Europe have concluded that alpha-lipoic acid helps to aid in recovering nerve function.  It also lowers glucose levels.

I’m still a medical mystery.  It’s unclear why my PN hit so hard, so fast, progressed so far and then receded. This is NOT typical. My A1C (diabetes test) was under control within 3-6 months. It’s possible that I had a MS relapse that exasperated my symptoms for a period of time. There was a lesion found on my t-spine, which may or may not be related to MS.  Since my spine had never been imaged before, there is no way to tell if this lesion was new or old, so I still carry the diagnosis of “probable” MS.

This is my story.  I hope someone finds it valuable.


Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peripheral-neuropathy/DS00131

Medscape: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1170337-overview

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NIH): http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/

WebMD: http://diabetes.webmd.com/diabetes-neuropathy

American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/neuropathy/

Alpha-Lipoic Acid: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/alpha-lipoic-000285.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10595592

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

High Blood Pressure

It appears that my high blood pressure has resurfaced.  In the past two weeks, I have been to three doctors: the surgeon, the clinic, and the workers comp doctor. Two out of those three visits, my blood pressure was at stroke level.  Seriously.  Yesterday it was 136/111.  This morning, it was 146/96.  I have an appointment to see my primary care doctor tomorrow morning.  In the meantime, I am taking some leftover blood pressure medication, and the pharmacy is faxing a request for a new prescription.

I don’t know if I can handle the neuropathy medication.  It makes me too dizzy.  It may even be contributing to my depression.  I don’t know.  It could be that the Klonipin is contributing to my depression.  Or it could just be my bipolar.  Regardless, I’m falling down.

I seem to be continually beating myself up.  It is one of those things we all seem to do to a various extent.  Even some of the “normals” do it.  But for some reason we bipolars seem to be worse.  Or rather, better at it. It’s like I intentionally put a chain with a weight on it around my neck and allow myself to drown.

The neuropathy has been the worse lately.  So I tried to increase it this morning (as I should be by now) and of course I’m dizzy. It feels like I can’t win.

It is getting more difficult to write this blog because of the depression.  I am using the speech recognition, but I still need a a better microphone.  I am going to order one.  I’ve been planning to do so the entire week.  Yet I have not done it.  Do you see where this is going?  I never seem to be able to accomplish anything.  Depression is taking over me.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

In the beginning…

Like many of us, I struggled to find a topic to blog about.  A million ideas went through my head: I could talk about random things, I could talk about television shows, I could talk about my hobbies – any number of things. I’ve been going through some health issues recently and I thought about blogging my mystery illness and my quest for a diagnosis and cure.  I sat on the examining table, after having gone through the litany of coordination tests, and listened to the neurologist’s conclusion. He told me that my most significant problem is that my bipolar is out of control.  This upset me.  Wouldn’t it upset you?  But at some level, I recognized the truth beneath the pain.  And I realized that what I should be blogging about is my struggle with bipolar.  It’s the largest thing in my life.  I can’t avoid it, or side-step it, or ignore it, because as soon as I do, it clubs me over the head and drags me off into a deep, dark alley that’s difficult to crawl out of.

As I sat there, listening to the neurologist tell me that my symptoms were related to my bipolar, I grew agitated.  At that time, all I could hear was, ” it’s all in your head.”  The doctor asked me many pointed questions: If you know you’re bipolar is out of control, why haven’t you done anything about it?  Dredging up my past, he wanted to know why did I stay in an abusive relationship for seven years?  I told him it would take a week to explain.  I felt as if I was on trial.  I felt betrayed.  I wanted to ask my husband: why are you siding with them? Why are you ganging up on me?  Why is it not enough for me to say: yes, my bipolar is out of control, but let’s talk about what is really wrong with me?  What has bipolar got to do with my aching joints? What does it have to do with the deep, throbbing, chest constricting pain that sends me to the hospital?

I have neuropathy – idiopathic of course,  because only 40% of neuropathies can be identified.  A 60% failure rate.  How do you like those odds? Also, I probably have multiple sclerosis (MS), but it isn’t active and doesn’t really require treatment at this time.  He said that I don’t display any neurological symptoms.  Ha!  So I can touch my nose with my eyes closed and I can flex my feet and feel a pin.  But I can’t walk too fast or I will trip and fall.  There’s an odd stitchy feeling – like a tickle but not quite – that wraps around my torso and it will trigger the neuropathy pain.  I can’t find a word I want when I want it, or I substitute a different one and never realize it.  I don’t know what I am saying anymore and I can’t remember what I’ve said.

But it’s all in my head.

Except that’s not what he said.

But in a way he did.

There was the explanation that it’s all in your head because all pain is in your head since the brain interprets pain, etc.  The nurse was no better, trying to explain to me that the guy in the room next door has broken more body parts than he can count and yet he wants to know why his arm hurts.  It’s all in his head too, she explains since that’s where the interpretation of pain is.  But I’m not buying it.  No.  She gives my husband the schedule for my new neuropathy medication – 3x/day, evenly spaced, gradually working my way up from 300mg to 900mg.  She gives the instructions to him, because the crazy lady wouldn’t understand.  Or wouldn’t be willing to follow it.

My husband was there acting as a translator between what the doctor said and what I heard through my mania, but all I could hear was his betrayal.  He was on their side.  When did I lose my only ally?   I didn’t hear the doctor say that my symptoms are real, but that my instability is amplifying the pain.  The doctor kept saying, the bipolar is preventing you from dealing with the pain. Whatever that means.  It still sounds like “it’s all in your head” to me.

But yesterday I made an appointment with the counselor.  It had to be done sooner or later anyway, and this is as good a time as any.  I’ll have trouble finding a psychiatrist since I live in a small town, full of (apparently) crazy people because they aren’t taking new patients.  However, I have accepted that the neurologist was right about one thing – my meds need to be reevaluated and I do need therapy.  But I think he’s wrong about one thing too – the pain is real and it’s not in my head.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.