Tag Archive | nervous system

Some questions have more than one right answer

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Taking tests in school I never much cared for multiple choice tests that allowed for more than one right answer, as in check all that apply. I always had an uneasy feeling that I was being tricked somehow, or that I was missing something.

I get the feeling my doctors are feeling the same way right now as they sort through my symptoms and test results. It seems that I have more than one reason for some of my symptoms, and they could be working together in some cases. Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

So let’s narrow this down to one issue I have right now out of the dozens. We are actively working on vestibular dysfunction. The vestibular system is a complex combination of eyes, ears and central nervous nervous. I have several abnormal symptoms, but I want to focus on just one to show how difficult this process is. I have trouble standing on uneven surfaces. By trouble, I mean I get disoriented, a dizzy, lightheaded feeling comes over me, my vision dims, my chest tightens and it gets difficult to breathe, my knees buckle and sway, my leg muscles spasm and tighten, I get nauseous…depending on what it is I fall over, nearly pass out, or need help getting off the surface. Examples are squishy snow, mud and sand. Memory foam. It takes forever to find shoes without memory foam now, but it is absolutely evil. Basically any type of foam. They have a blue bit of foam they keep pulling out at the doctors or physical therapy that I now refer to as the blue bit of doom. It looks like this.71-ZQEqun2L._SL1351_.jpg

Seems innocent enough. But when I stand on that, I completely malfunction. Okay, the first time it was a complete shock to everyone and I did almost fall and we all went “what the heck was that?” But now they pull it out, and I say I cant stand on that, they give me a bar to hold onto and a couple of spotters and allow me to ease my weight onto it.

So it shows a problem with my nerves, that part is clear. But where? The physical therapist was explaining to me that my legs don’t seem to be getting clear signals back to my brain. When we encounter squishy surfaces it engages our balance system and our brain has to make all  these tiny corrections of flex and relax. It seemed like the “relax” portion of the messages were not coming back, so my legs would get tighter and tighter only, never correcting for this position, completely lost and confused.

So I’ve been mentioning this to several different doctors now and with the new data, it may not be all from my lumbar spinal cord injury, but a processing delay in my brain as well. Like all these confused signals jam up my brain and it can’t keep up like it used to. This is my current understanding anyway.

What do I do with that? Meet more doctors of course. I see a spine rehab specialist tomorrow to see if he can help sort out which of this stuff is coming from the spine and which is coming from the brain and then maybe we can make a plan after that. I’m extremely anxious but also a bit eager to meet this new doc tomorrow. He is basically the guy I should have met nearly 30 years after my first back surgery went wrong and my parents didn’t let me have aftercare. I’m hopeful he may have some tips or meds for me to help with all the issues that come along with a spinal injury at waist level: bowel, bladder, digestion, twitching legs, legs moving in sleep, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, drop foot, knee pain…. and now how it has affected my central nervous system, chronic sleep issues, migraines.

I’m very curious if he has another piece of this puzzle, and maybe some advice to make my life slightly more comfortable. It’s going to be difficult and embarrassing to discuss some of these private issues, but I feel I’m up to it. I have my notecard with a checklist so I don’t forget anything. I takes months to get in and see a doctor like this, better be prepared for your 10 minutes with him. I’m only half joking. I’m sure I will be assessed by a PA or fellow or student thoroughly and then the doctor will try to dismiss me, and it will be up to me to make my case both interesting and valid. I’m also being realistic. I understand I have had this injury since I was 12. I am not asking for a cure and I know it isn’t likely that they can improve the conditions of the nerves themselves at this point. But I want to hear him tell me that AFTER he has done some testing and really considered my situation. Which I know means hours of poking and prodding, likely some nerve conduction tests which are not pleasant at all. And hopefully some other tests or procedures that I don’t even know exist that is brand new and high tech and showing promise with incomplete injuries like mine. I’m just so tired of them giving up on me before even starting, so please new doctor, please be open minded.

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Stress Remover Needed: Inquire Within

Desperately seeking someone experienced to remove excess stress from my shaking, sweating, hurting body and brain.  Overload is imminent, must be able to start immediately, work on demand and on call 24/7. Pay will be based on level of sanity and peace achieved.

Inquire within: This actually means I must inquire within, because I now know that nothing external is able to do this for me. No amount of food, alcohol, sleep, exercise, etc can remove this stress. I must do it myself, and it takes time.

How do I know I am stressed?

Physical symptoms: IBS and indigestion, acid reflux, too hungry at times, not hungry at other times, too sleepy at times, not sleepy at other times, headaches, annoying cracking sores on the corners of my lips (not cold sores, though I do get those at times too), deep dark circles around my eyes, itchy skin, twitchy legs, crushing pain in my legs (stress makes my spinal cord injury worse), racing pulse

Mental symptoms: irritable (ok-general foul mooded pissiness – I don’t mess about being slightly irritable), foggy brain, difficulty concentrating-especially reading instructions or listening to others talk, obsessive-type pre-worrying about events that will likely never happen but my brain tells me they are possible, real-life avoidance through books, TV and computer games, this feeling like I want to give up or wish for cancer or some way out of life-that life is too hard and just not worth living (I am not suicidal or completely depressed, but my thoughts involuntarily turn this direction when stressed)

Why am I stressed?

Let’s look at the summer events.

Visit from A-hole creepy inlaw that makes me feel unsafe and sexually harrassed

Youngest son in the ER twice! In May he had severe croup and I rushed him there not breathing. This past weekend he had an episode of severe vomiting (unknown cause) and suffered severe dehydration requiring IV and overnight stay.

My dog nearly died in May. I had flashbacks of my childhood dog my psychopathic father poisoned.

My cat died in June. Although he was 18, his death was unexpected, happened so quickly when I was still worried about the dog. He died on the way to the emergency vet, guessing kidney failure from old age. We had a tearful funeral with him with the kids. They sweetly picked flowers and all said goodbye. The sensitive child really struggled – cried hysterically and needed lots of support the following days. I remained strong – somehow. Though they did see me cry, we all cried together for kitty.

Hubby’s schedule changed at work, causing many pre-scheduled calendar events to need changed. Many phone calls.

Refinanced house. This was a good thing, but process was stressful with decisions, and very stressful that closer wanted to come to my house. I hate strangers in my house.

I was named as a lead on an important project for our company, demanding time/precision/quick thinking/strong leadership. I did it, and was successful. This was very positive, but even good stress is still stress – as I now know all to well.

My supervisor went on vacation and I had to take her place in many meetings – again I found it exciting and loved it, but all in all it was just another stress.

Keeping kids busy during summer while I work from home is challenging and a constant drain.

Mother’s Day and Father’s day Suck Rotten Eggs and should be removed from the calendar.

Hubby got a tick bite, I had to remove the icky creature, and now we are watching that red mark to see if a rash spreads.

My brother that took in my abusive father has had a mental breakdown and lost his job. He is in therapy. His new girlfriend comes with her own baggage, and they needed to drive many states away to rescue a kidnapped son from her Ex that was trying to avoid the custody agreement. Luckily the boy is OK, but now my brother has yet someone else living in his house – with my father.

And to top off the creepiness, all my mom could say about this 14 yr old boy was how handsome and good looking he was. Ewww! I get shivers thinking she is a bit creepy too, and how she must have enabled my father to hurt me for so many years. I have not thought a 14 yr old was handsome since maybe I was 18. I taught 14 yr olds when I got out of college at 21 and guess what, they looked like boys, not handsome young men.

What am I going to do with this stress?

I have an evening to myself. (Thanks to Hubby and Grandma) A precious few hours to work on this snowballing situation.

Step 1: Blog. Vent. Brain dump. Pour it all into writing without worrying what the computer or readers might think. Let it all out. Whine, pout, fuss until I can’t find any more complaints.

Step 2: Draw. I have an art exhibition coming up later this week and I’d like to plan and practice my composition. I will be drawing live in front of hundreds of people at a festival. This does not make me nervous, I love performing and listening to everyone as they walk by and say “oohh look at that one”

Step 3: Walk. Attempt to run. Although my leg is stronger, so much stronger, I can’t do anything that resembles a run or even a jog. I will set my treadmill to slow/warm-up and go as fast as I can for as long as I can.

Step 4: Shower. Then jammies.

Step 5: Mindless TV. Snack. (hopefully healthy, or partially healthy, but no pressure)

Step 6: Sleep. Hopefully dreamless and restful. (I doubt this, but again, no pressure)

 

Any other ideas? Step 1 is done, so I’m off to do step 2.

 

 

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