“N” is for Neuropathy, Peripheral Neuropathy

where caterpillars grow their wings

Last night while PJ and I were putting everything away so we could settle into bed, I irritated the crap out him. In the process of trying to move my pill cups, I dropped them, sending my meds into a hundred different directions. Then I tried to grab one of my cups, which are the acrylic cups with lids & acrylic straws that don’t fall out for this very reason, and dropped it too. Since it’s essentially a sippy cup for grown ups, only a few drops came out. Since I have some mobility issues, I have a Winnie the Pooh crib organizer hanging on my wall next to the bed. I keep things like my hair brush, lotion, deodorant, facial moisturizer, headbands…things like that in it. Well, as I was trying to put my brush up I missed the pocket and dropped it onto the night stand right where Prince Charming had just put the laptop, and he told me to stop helping. lol

Now, from the outside looking in, you’d think my name was Grace. That’s the problem with an invisible illness though, nothing is what it seems from the outside looking in. Because even though I have been touched with klutz stick, what was going on was Peripheral Neuropathy.

A few years back, I started getting this really odd feeling in my hands and feet. It was almost like they fell asleep, but it also felt like my hands & feet had swollen to the point of stretching my skin. They felt very slick to me. I chalked it up to another attempt by Lupus to try and make me look completely crazy. Over the course of the next year or so, those sensations would happen more and more.  After a while, the tingling sensation started to precede these very strange feelings that I can only describe as an electric like buzzing bolt that would shoot down my arms. The first time it happened, it happened in my left arm only, about 6 months after a heart attack {oddly enough that was 3 years & 2 days ago…seems like a lifetime ago though} and I was terrified that I was having another one. After a visit to the E.R, I had yet one more new medical diagnosis to add to my collection, Peripheral Neuropathy.

Peripheral Neuropathy is a condition resulting from damage or disease to the peripheral nerves-the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves-that connect to the spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs. The causes can range from Diabetes, an unbalanced diet, heredity, and you guessed it…autoimmune diseases, especially systemic ones.

As it has progressed, the sensations have evolved. I don’t get the tingling as often anymore, but the recurrence of my hands feeling slick has increased. It got harder and harder to turn a door knob, or open things when it required grip. And about 6 months ago I started dropping things a lot, and even though I was using my walker I started falling again. I couldn’t understand it. It was like the air was tripping me and gravity went into hyper mode to pull things out of my hands.

And then I found out that if your sensory nerves become damaged that slick feeling in your hands & feet prevent you from being able to tell that you don’t have your feet firmly planted or that you don’t have a good grip on things you’re holding even if you feel like you do. Which meant that neither the air or gravity had it out for me.

Since Peripheral Neuropathy is unique to each person, and the sensations are so odd, it’s easy to over look the signs and even easier for people to look at you like you grew a second head right there in front of them when you’re trying to describe the symptoms. But because there are some treatment options that might be available to you, you need to talk to your doctor as soon as you start to experience any of the symptoms to help prevent any further damage or possibly a cure.

If you have a Facebook account, tomorrow The Neuropathy Association is hosting a Facebook chat, “Advances in Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Research” on their Facebook Page, starting at 7 pm Eastern time.

Today’s post brought to you by the letter:

Day "N"

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10 responses to ““N” is for Neuropathy, Peripheral Neuropathy

  1. Interesting. If it makes you feel better, I irritate Tony and the kids and I don’t even have a medical condition. 🙂 What can I say, it’s a gift.

  2. I love that you wrote about this, makes me feel a bit better that I’m not alone with this. I’ve been recently noticing this happening more and more often to me that it just adds more to my klutzy self. It’s even got my boyfriend warning me that he’s going to force me to wear some football gloves so I can have a grip lol!

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