Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The nerve!

Well, I know it's Winter when my body says "I'm shutting down for awhile." This year, it's saying it a little more loudly than usual.

Part of the fun of lupus (and I do want to raise a little lupus awareness through my little blog), at least for my lupus, is exacerbation of symptoms during changes of weather, particularly to Winter. I have Reynaud's Syndrome, not uncommon for those with autoimmune disease, which turns my fingers and toes blue (literally! it's kind of cool!). Of course, blue extremities isn't really cool -- in fact, it's not a good thing at all -- so I have to keep them toasty warm, and am used to hot soaks and quick massages when I don't do such a great job of that.

To make it a little more complicated, I also have peripheral neuropathy, also not uncommon for those with autoimmune disease, and I would give up eating chocolate, I think, if it meant I could be cured of this one. Your nerve cells are lined with sheaths that help control/manage the impulses travelling from nerve to nerve. My immune system has attacked those sheaths in my extremities (largely feet and toes, but also hands), so that the impulses are wonky, creating a sort of madness in my feet: burning, iciness, numbness, excruciating stabs of pain, itchiness, crawling sensations, etc. And all of the above can occur in the space of minutes, and gets a lot worse at night. Drives me absolutely bonkers. What does one do? I wear nice thick warm socks (which I need to put on right now, looking at my slightly blue toes). I spend time before going to sleep massaging my feet with lots of really great foot creams, then covering with very comfie socks. And I take a wonder drug, without which I don't sleep at all, and I have difficulty walking during the day.

But why stop there? Now, with this diabetes business (which I'm addressing more severely right now), the neuropathy is worse (you've probably heard of diabetic neuropathy, or at least know that diabetics have to be very careful with their feet and toes). The diabetes makes the neuropathy worse, and affects all major organs, which creates increased risk for lupus affecting major organs. Ironically, the lupus can make the effects of diabetes worse, so this is just a viscious cycle.

I kind of had to write that out to understand what's going on.

Explains the nonhealing toe.

Explains my bone-deep utter fatigue.

Explains the constant ache in my bones.

Explains the increasing dizzy spells and the mental fog.

Explains the chest and joint pain and the bright red rash on my cheeks.

These are all the symptoms that I started out with when I began this lupus adventure, and they re-emerge periodically to remind me to slow down.

Doesn't explain why I beat myself up for not being able to handle everything going on right now ... but I'm trying to learn to not be so hard on myself. Maybe that will be my New Year's resolution. :)

So, I'm doing what I can do. I'm working on orders, working on work, trying trying trying to rest and not overdo it. I'm off to the doctor shortly, fingers crossed. Boy, I sure wish I had a hot tub -- that would be wonderful to soak in every night! (might have to go check Craigslist on that!)

I'm not dying. Today, anyway. I hope. I'd really like to die in my old old age, while sleeping, with a gentle smile on my face, so bear with me as I slow down for a bit to help accomplish that goal.


Summer said...

Do take care!

June Shin said...

Wow, that is a lot of stuff going on in your body. Rest up and take it easy.