That pesky Neuropathy!

So the up and down issues continue along with some additional issues that I could do without. The last couple of weeks have continued to offer their challenges with up and down muscle/tendon type pains and increased neuropathy issues. In particular the burning in my knees has flared multiple times and I’m getting the uncomfortable pin prick type sensations throughout every day at the moment. Both of these are a worsening of symptoms I could do without. I’m also finding that my right eye vision is frequently more blurry and is having a noticeable impact on my vision in general. I did get my eyes tested last week and although my prescription has changed quite a bit in a year he didn’t notice anything suspicious in the eye health or pressure test. I think I will mention it to my GP on my next visit because something is going on there… yet another thing!

In addition to that the prostate concern continues with additional blood taken to day to test PSA levels, full count and a number of other markers. I am concerned about this and hope that it is a case of a benign prostate related issue. I also have an echocardiogram in a couple of weeks time to check out my heart, I don’t imagine they will find anything of concern but it’s good to be checked out anyway.

In my last post I mentioned I had a GP appointment booked and that went well. The GP who isn’t one I have seen very often was pretty interested in the Cipro reaction and asked quite a few questions. He also said he would arrange for some physio and gave me some details about getting help with general wellbeing and dealing with the stress of this whole situation. I wish there was some way to reduce or eradicate the neuropathy and allow the muscles to strengthen again. The pin pricking isn’t debilitating but it is pretty annoying, it’s the tendon twitches, muscle aches and joint pains that cause the most restriction and pain. I know that I’m suffering a bunch of symptoms of autoimmune disease and mitochondrial damage caused by the medicine but the uncertainty of recovery and timescales plays on my mind daily… there’s no doubt I’m somewhat consumed by the situation with my health above pretty much anything else which isn’t unexpected considering without my health my options in life are vastly reduced.

Stress levels have been much higher as well which I think is impacting my mood, my sleep and my physical floxing symptoms. Life is throwing everything including the kitchen sink in our general direction at the moment and it really is overwhelming at times. All I know is that life throws up many challenges and many surprises, some good and some bad, we just have to try and wade through and make the best of what we can.

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Anxiety

Anxiety, stress, tension, worry… Whatever you call it the effects on a person are substantial. The physical symptoms which manifest themselves as a result psychological issues that you have little control over can be debilitating and upsetting, leading to further anxiety and depression.

I first encountered the monster that is anxiety some 14 years ago when dealing with a whole bunch of life stresses, long working hours and the sudden death of a friend due to suicide. I suffered a massive panic attack one morning on my way to work with such extreme symptoms I couldn’t believe there wasn’t some physical illness or condition causing them. That morning I ended up in the Emergency department of a hospital in London after I was carted off in an ambulance as a suspected heart attack case. Some 4 hours later I was discharged after a plethora of tests all of which indicated no problem except for rapid heart rate.

So began over 18 months of learning to deal with anxiety and stress during which I was hospitalised 2 more times, 1 of which was incredibly distressing as they struggled to slow my heart rate below 140 resting and they resorted to using some pretty hard core drugs requiring me to be taken to the crash room in case my heart stopped. Thankfully it didn’t but they still couldn’t slow the heart rate so I remained in hospital for a further 4 days. When I eventually made it home I struggled with weird symptom after weird symptom. Dizzyness 24/7, muscle spasms, headaches and weird pains in my head, palpitations, insomnia, fatigue, twitching, odd burning sensations, adrenalin rushes, digestive issues and many more. I did CBT, read a lot of books, saw a therapist and learnt how to deal with it all for the next 8 years, mostly.

However the last 6 years have thrown a whole raft of stressful situations at me. First was losing my mother to cancer just 4 weeks after being diagnosed. Then my marriage broke down and a difficult divorce followed. My father was then diagnosed with cancer and died a year later during which time I developed some issues with my prostate which lasted around 1.5 years. The end result of that was the prescription of Ciprofloxacin that has left me physically and mentally tortured since May 2015. On top of this are job worries, day to day stresses and the world we live in which is stressful in itself just to be a part of.

This last year I’ve had good days and bad, some of the bad days have been really very low indeed. Depression has been a problem with periods where I couldn’t see point in the future, I struggled to enjoy anything, I would choke up or start to cry out of the blue. Recently I’ve been dealing with increased palpitations, arm pains, sleep issues, digestive issues, fatigue, tight chest and the usual anxiety symptoms. The knock on effect is feeling fed up and depressed about this constant battle of trying to beat the floxing, which in turn leads to more anxiety. So I’m going to try to address that, meditation, more sleep, swimming, peace and quiet to start with. I’d like to do Tai Chi again which I did years ago but physically I can’t right now. I think I’ll remove stimulants from my diet such as coffee and reduce sugar and salt to see if that helps. I’m sure in time this will pass as I hope the floxing will also, I just wish it would hurry up!

Relentless

It’s Sunday morning just past 9am and there’s blue sky outside, birds chirping and warm sunlight streaming in the window. In many ways it’s a perfect morning, ideal for heading out for a walk or going for a ride on my motorcycle, except I can’t.

After just 5 or 6 days of improved gout type pains it has returned to previous levels. Friday I noticed a few niggles but forced myself to go to an astronomy event about an hour away because I wanted to meet the speaker. Matt Taylor works on the Rosetta Mission for the European Space Agency and I’d bounced a few messages with him in the past. So I struggled over there and held out for the evening managing a good chat with Matt after his informative presentation.

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I got home late and I was already feeling the soreness in my toe. I woke up yesterday and I knew things were going downhill again. As the day progressed my toe became stiffer and I could feel the heat again.  By evening I was in a lot if discomfort and feeling pretty down knowing I’ve nothing I can treat it with. My mental state deteriorated pretty quickly as I realised I’d be off my feet and immobile again after just 1 weeks improvement in almost 2 months.

After a rough night I’m sat here looking out the window wishing my life wasn’t like this. I’m tired of the repeating cycle of illness with only few days where I feel up to doing much. It’s almost a year since I took Ciprofloxacin and 5 months since my ADRS really kicked in after a single ibuprofen tablet. In the last 5 months I’ve been largely housebound with the odd trip out which usually I pay for later.

I feel like I’ve lost my life, like I’m not improving just steadily heading downward as my body fights but fails to repair the damage. I can’t see a happy ending ahead and this is making me pretty sad. Last night I missed my girls gig with her band, I hate not being there for her but I felt pretty unwell. I stayed home but just went into an  unhappy place in my head. Will this ever get better? Will I get anything of my life back? I hope so because if my life doesn’t improve in time I have to question the point of it.

I hate that my Ill health impacts everyone and everything else. We can’t plan anything because I can’t predict how I’ll be. I struggle to enjoy anything because my mind is always preoccupied with anxieties and stress. I feel enormous guilt that it’s not just my life being screwed up. How much more can I take? Can everyone else take? This isn’t how my life was supposed to be 😦