It's just nerves, honey...

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Everything falls apart

Why can't one thing go wrong at a time?

So I'm waiting around for my MRI, dealing with my intermittent right-side numbness, tingling, lightheadedness, and occasionally funky vision, and trying to just make the best of it and soldier on. But meanwhile, back at the ranch, my husband is starting a new job on Monday and is therefore working his tail off to finish up the old job, my two year old has been sick for a whopping FIVE DAYS now, I've had various extended-family dramas to attend to, and I've now fallen woefully behind in basically all of my classes due to missing this entire week so far. Did I mention that I'm so tired all the time that I nod off whenever the little one's watching TV?

I need a vacation.

36 hours until my MRI, which will hopefully show something useful this time. Otherwise it's sayonara to Dr. Distracted. I ain't got time for this.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


The neurologist appointment was basically a waste of time, except for the referral for the MRI. It was a big fat disappointment.

I went in there with a list of symptoms, and the dates when they occurred -- I had really put a lot of effort into being prepared and having all of the information that my doctor would need in order to start figuring this out. She barely let me speak. I was so frustrated. I started telling her about how this all started, just over a month ago, and she started shaking her head and saying, "You're a mystery, what can I say..." not looking at me, just looking at my chart. WTF??? Maybe it would seem a little less mysterious if you would actually listen to what I'm saying, hmm?

UGH. I never even got to mention at least half the symptoms, and when I mentioned the double vision, she said, "When's the last time you went to the eye doctor? You should go to the eye doctor." Um, what? Are we assuming that the double vision is some totally unrelated coinkeedink? Or should I go to the eye doctor on general principles because I haven't gone for a while? Or is the eye doctor going to help diagnose this? I have no idea, because I didn't have a chance to ask her.

Whatever. She referred me for an MRI of my brain and of my C-spine (neck), and I go next Friday. If the MRI shows something, then fine, we'll have something to work with. If somehow it doesn't, I'm going to seek a second opinion. Someone who actually seems to care one way or the other whether my body is working right. Dammit.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Seeing the neuro tomorrow. 'Bout time, too.

2pm tomorrow can't come soon enough.

On Friday, after being freaked out enough at what I can now call my *first* episode of double vision, I had gotten myself relatively calmed down by the time I got to Statistics class. And then halfway through class, something really, really funky happened.

I glanced down at the notes I was taking, and it looked like someone else had taken over. A six-year-old, in fact. My handwriting had completely changed in the blink of an eye. I started trying to focus harder, and the fact was that I just could not control my pencil. I had gone from my usual loose, pretty half-cursive (I am often told my handwriting is pretty, this isn't just handwriting-ego) to a printed scrawl that I couldn't even keep on a straight line... my letters kept drifting lower at the ends of words. I had to painstakingly construct each letter, and it was a struggle just to make the letters recognizable (looking back at those notes, some of them aren't). Meanwhile I was trying in vain to focus on what the instructor was saying, since this was tricky stuff, but it was all I could do just to copy down what was on the board.

At the end of class, I called my neurologist. My doctor had left the office for the day, so I described what was happening to the receptionist, and he said he would talk to one of the other doctors and someone would call me back. About 15 minutes later, I got a call back saying I should go to the ER. After I hung up, I thought about that. Clearly, the doctor who made that recommendation doesn't know me, and only knows that these are new symptoms and I don't have a diagnosis of *anything* yet. I thought about it, and realized that it was total CYA. The doctor had to recommend going to the ER, just in case I was having a stroke or something... they couldn't have risked the liability of knowing I was having this weird stuff going on and *not* sending me to the ER to get it checked out.

If I hadn't had anything planned for the weekend, it's possible I might have taken the recommendation just because it would have ensured that I got a MRI without waiting, and whatever other testing I might need, in a nice one-stop-shopping kind of scenario. They couldn't have discharged me without really digging for an answer, and I have a feeling they would have found it. I'd be diagnosed by now, and going about my merry way.

But, I did have plans. I was on my way to pick up the 2-year-old and meet the 13-year-old back at home. My brother, his wife, and my niece and nephew were already in their car and on the road from their house 10 hours away, coming to stay for the long weekend. There was no way I was going to risk spending their visit in the hospital. Especially when I was pretty sure that what was happening *wasn't* an emergency. It's the same old shit, just cranked up to a new level. But I didn't really think waiting 3 days was going to change any of the long-term outcomes.

So I've spent the weekend playing with my family, showing my brother and crew around town, cooking some fabulous meals, and all in all enjoying life. Tomorrow I will report to the neuro and tell her all that's been happening (and perhaps be berated for not going to the ER, but I think I can take her). And we will get the ball rolling on finally getting a diagnosis for this crap. I am optimistic. I am hopeful that we will have answers soon, and whatever they are, it will be a relief to have them.

I am going to need to know exactly who or what to blame the next time some six-year-old takes possession of my Statistics notes.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Please remain calm

It is taking all of my energy to not freak out. I have an appointment with my neurologist on Monday. Nothing that is happening is life-threatening. Don't catastrophize. Just take a deep breath and try to accept that this is the new normal.

My whole right side is numb. Not totally completely where-the-hell-did-my-limbs-go numb, just like someone dialed down the sensitivity of all my nerves on the right side. Like instead of a clear radio signal of "itch!" and "pressure!" and "cold!", there's just a lot of static. I can still *feel* stuff, just like you can still *hear* your friend talking when you have a tea party on the bottom of the pool. My nerves are just dialed down to a really low volume, and kinda garbled.

Just the right side. Arm, leg, right side of my torso, and right side of my face. This is the third time this has happened in the past week. It is the firmest evidence I have so far that the source of this is in my brain. You could draw a line down the middle of my body: left side normal, right side not. I'm gonna bet that if I had a do-it-yourself-home-MRI machine, I could see something funky happening on the left side of my brain.

And then, it its latest attempt at guerilla scare-tactics, my body decided to throw me a new one right at the beginning of my "Major Works of Shakespeare" discussion section today: double vision. So bad that I couldn't read the handout she passed out at the beginning of class, and trying to get the lines of text in my book to behave was making me start to feel nauseated. With a lot of effort and concentration, I got my eyes to line up again, enough to get through the class. Enough that I can pretty much read what I am typing now. Enough that I can proofread the massive amount of typing errors I'm making right now due to the partial numbness of my right hand. But it's still kinda blurry.

I refuse to be scared. Being scared isn't going to help anything. It is what it is. If I frantically call my neurologist right now, what is that going to solve? She's not going to be able to tell me anything over the phone, and she's not going to be able to see me before Monday anyway. Time to sit tight, focus on the Statistics quiz I'm going to have to take in about 40 minutes, and above all, remain calm.

My nerves are frazzled enough as it is. Ha. Haha.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'm ba-ack...

I see it's been about 7 months since I posted anything. That's about right. The nerve stuff really calmed down after the move, and since all those tests turned up a whole lotta nothin', the neurologist said I only needed to come back if I was still having symptoms in six months. And it looks like my time is up!

The sparkiness and tingling really got better as the summer went on. With the move behind me, stress levels went wayyyy down, too. My husband thinks these things are not unrelated, and I tend to agree. But what is causing it anyway?

I would say my symptoms pretty much disappeared for several months. Or at least got down to such a low level that I wasn't even paying much attention.

Then, about two months ago now, I started occasionally feeling warmth in my legs. It would feel like I had dipped my leg in a really hot bath. Several times I actually touched my leg to see if it was really a) wet or b) warm to the touch. But nope, it seems to have been some kind of nerve mis-fire. I "feel" sensations that aren't actually there.

About two and a half weeks ago, I thought I had the flu. I had a low-grade fever for two days, bad headaches, and I was totally exhausted, just bone tired. And I felt really achey. After two days, the fever went away and I started to feel a little better, get some energy back. But the general achiness had become really bad joint pain. Supposedly I have psoriatic arthritis, so this shouldn't be a shock, but my joints had been pretty good for a while. It's been over a year since the last *really* bad episode. (Of course, I'm not sure it really *is* arthritis, so I'll just call it joint pain for now.)

My right wrist hurt (still hurts, actually). But it didn't just hurt, it felt weak. I had trouble opening jars, doing buttons. My right hand felt clumsy. I kept dropping things because they were just slipping out of my hand, like I couldn't keep a good grip on anything. Both knees hurt so badly, I was limping for a few days. But there was no swelling. None. Pain so bad I could hardly bend my leg, but no swelling.

And then as my knees started to get better, and the joint pain in general lessened, I noticed that I was sparky again. It's the freakin' Fourth of July in my nervous system. I've got the tingling, the stinging, the electric-shock type stuff. It seems to all be in my arms and legs. It's annoying, and it hurts, and mostly I'm just angry that it's back. I thought we were done with this. I thought whatever the mystery thing was, that it was gone. I didn't mind not knowing WHAT it was, as long as it had already run its course. But now I'm stuck with this damn mystery again.

Just call me Sparky. Again.