Thursday, January 22, 2015

Peripheral Neuropathy -- Again

Zombie portrait found here

Guys. I feel like a walking zombie lately.

I've definitely chalked some of my zoned-out spaciness to recovering from our trip; but I think that this particular fogginess has a different quality than my usual post-vacation crash. It's hard to explain but after this many years of autoimmune fatigue and brain fog, I know what THAT feels like. And this isn't it.

I also suspect that I know what's causing it all. It's complicated. Ready for a long story?

Over the past six months or so all sorts of things have happened to this old body of mine, the biggest being the symptoms from spinal stenosis and the laminectomy that followed. As I healed from the surgery and the compression was relieved on those nerves, I realized that the radiculopathy from the stenosis was masking other neurological problems.

Gee. What a treat.

Make no mistake -- I'm thrilled with the results of my laminectomy. I can walk for any length of time without that terrible radiating pain and numbness in my butt and leg and foot. But the neurological problems that I'm having now have nothing to do with those large nerves that exited my T4 and S1 vertebrae.

When the major pain and numbness went away after my surgery, it unmasked other pain that was not caused by the stenosis: peripheral neuropathy manifested by generalized burning and pain in my feet along with the bizarre sensation that the skin of my lower legs is vibrating. Buzzing. Strange. Worse at night just when I'm trying to sleep.

I have been dealing with PN for quite some time, although to a lesser degree than lately. You can read my earlier post addressing this issue written back in January of 2013 here.

The result is that I have added Neurontin (gabapentin) to my medications, and I have to say that it has indeed reduced my symptoms. But unfortunately along with the good, came my dopey sensations. I have let my doctor know about it's effects, and hopefully after continued use the side effects will decrease.

In the meantime, well....don't be expecting many posts that are coherent.

Do you take gabapentin? How has it affected you?


mcspires said...

I tried gabapentin but with the same results you are having. Reduced the pain quite well, but also my brain function. I am still trying to work, so I had to stop taking it. :( Sadly, anything I have tried that reduces the pain, reduces my brain function.

Kate S said...

Defintitely makes me a zombie....mmm... brains!

Alana said...

Hi Julia,

I have to thank you for the gift of your blog. When I read your posts on auto immune disease it is so refreshing to relate to a fellow sufferer and enjoy your humor which is the best medicine for us all!

I too have severe PN and was on Gabapentin and in my opinion especially when you can't walk it is a wonderful drug, klutziness and all, I was grateful to be upright again.

In the beginning, it made me loopy but it did level out. I was on it for years and wish I could still be. I started retaining fluid to the point it effected my breathing so my docs stopped Gaba.

When you quoted the "vibration" I was relieved and cheered that someone else understood and verbalized this sensation.

Validation in invisible illness is priceless! Thank you again for your support, information and again your humor.

Julia Oleinik said...

Thanks for your support, guys! And Alana, you're very welcome. I'm so glad you find Reasonably Well useful! How nice of you.

Ann said...

Hi, Julia--
I've subscribed to your blog for a long time, but have never quite figured out how to respond. Apparently the little "email me" link at the bottom of the page doesn't work? I'd written you a couple of nice long responses (I do tend to be wordy) before realizing it was a "no reply" address.

Yes, I've been on Gabapentin for a number of years, and at first it made me *very* staggery! At the time I was the director of a public library. Working at my desk wasn't too bad, but if I emerged from my office, my wonderful staff made me push a book cart for support! Being unable to walk in a straight line only lasted for a week or so. After that, I was just appreciative foe the relief if gave me--leg aches, prickliness, and bugs under my skin were pretty much gone. Just recently I've been bothered with it again so my PCP upped the dose a bit.

I hope you have stuck it out, and are finding relief, too!

Julia Oleinik said...

Hi Ann! So sorry that my link isn't working! Grrrr....I've had an issue with it for some time now and as much as I appreciate the free blogging platform here at Blogger; I have to say that sometimes it's a little buggy. Some emails get through, some don't and some end up in my spam folder.

So thanks for persisting. And yes, I am feeling much less zombie-like and also am enjoying some good reduction in my PN symptoms, thanks for asking. I'm hoping that you can get yours tweaked as well.