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My Nerves Are A Mess

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There are many different types of pain. The one that affects me is nerve pain. In 2014 my back went out and I had emergency back surgery. Consequently my left foot became numb. Before that in 2012 my right foot became numb. My right foot is worse than my left side. Even with my back surgery I still have bouts of pain from the nerve damage that was done. It affects my life, but thankfully not as bad as I have heard about.  I never truly put it all together until this year simply because my trachea took precedence over everything. Breathing was and is still more important. Now that my trachea issues are managed I have begun investigating and investing in my other health issues. One step, one item at a time. Managing my health is not a fast paced thing. It is a slow process. I’m still learning and discovering new things about my body and what I must do to keep it managed.

Six weeks ago my primary doctor suggested that I see a physiatrist when I went to her about my lower back pain. A physiatrist is also known as a pain doctor. I’m glad that I started seeing a physiatrist. The first visit he sent me to pool therapy, which I start in August. I’m excited. But he started me thinking about different things concerning my health, especially about my nerves, muscles, and joints. One that my pain is with my nerves, not my joints. Yes, I still have joint issues but with the rituximab infusions I receive it helps with that. I haven’t had a joint issue in a long time. Thank you Jesus. Yet, I still had pain in my lower back and my feet. It’s aggravating. My lower extremities are weak. If I do not start doing something to build up my muscles and take care of the nerve damage then it will get worse over time.

I started researching nerve pain after I saw Dr. Kim. This is what I have learned so far. There are 3 different types of nerves in the body. They are Autonomic nerves, Motor nerves, and Sensory Nerves.

Autonomic Nerves: These nerves control your involuntary and voluntary parts of your body. Examples include blood pressure, digestion, and temperature regulation.

Motor Nerves: They control your movements and actions from your brain and spinal cord to your muscles.

Sensory Nerves: These nerves relay information from your spinal cord to your brain and to your brain to your body.

Aren’t our bodies amazing? I never realized there were several different types of nerves. I always thought nerves were nerves. The nerves that are affecting my back and feet are the motor nerves.

Here is why I know this: when your motor nerves are damage you experience weakness, muscle atrophy, twitching, and paralysis. I have experienced all of these symptoms in my lower extremities.

Often times I am overwhelmed with the pain. While I have been attempting to stand to build my lower leg and feet muscles I have been having more nerve pain. I’m only standing for two minutes. How am I to get stronger if it hurts too much? I am supposed to be moving my body and getting stronger. It is hard to accomplish this goal of mine. Since I have seen how pain can diminish someone’s body and mind I have made intentional decisions that I was not going to allow my pain to affect my mood, attitude, or stopping me from doing what I can to move my body. I have had to ask for help and that is why yesterday my pain doctor suggested I take an anti-seizure medication called Gabapentin.

Some of the side effects of this medication include mood issues, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc. Although, the pharmacist said that if taken in a slow tapering up they are lessened and of course, drowsiness.

Here are some things I want to share:

  • I’m not an expert on pain or any of the things I write about. I’m a patient and I ask a ton of questions of my medical team. Plus I research, because like you I want to know what it is my body is doing and what I can do to manage the symptoms. I want to be inform and to make wise, intentional decisions about my wellness.
  • Pain does not go away. We need pain in order for us to know there is something wrong. Many of us have to manage the pain in order to have a life. A life of wellness is achievable if I am to practice and learn new things to put in my tool box.
  • You can manage your pain. We all experience it differently, so of course that means what helps you might night help me and what helps me might not help you. I must be flexible, be willing to try something new, and most of all communicate with my medical team what is going on and what I am doing. Communication is key in being a great manager. I must keep that simple sentence in my mind at all time.
  • I’m going to try my new medication Gabapentin and I am seeing a health care professional to work with me in figuring out my next steps. This to me is a great self-care tool that I am going to be trying. I’m starting a new regiment in my life, pool therapy, and I want to be successful. My goal is to be a good manager of all my condition. Wellness is my goal.
  • Accepting my condition does not mean I am giving up. Accepting my condition, which I am only now beginning to acknowledge and accept, doesn’t mean that I am not giving up on managing my symptoms. I’m still going to work on my attitude, pursue things that make me happy, sleep well, eat well, move my butt, and most of all engage in my life in some way. I’m still a work in progress. And I’m learning new things to help me manage my wellness.

Here are some links that I found about nerve pain and used in helping me write about my own issues. Of course I’m going to keep on writing about it here on my blog, so stay tune.

Links:

The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy

American Pain Foundation

WebMD

Gabapentin

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