Monday, March 22, 2010

To dream the impossible dream...

This has been a topic I have said little on until now, because I have a hard time even believing some of this going on. And the truth is years of dealing with the medical establishment has me very uneasy about trusting my own judgement related to my body. Year of having a disease that very few doctors understand has resulted in years of being questioned about whether the symptoms I  feeling are real or in my head,  and it has left me hypersensitive to trying to be sure something is real before I mention it. But this has moved far enough that I want to share.

So what am I babbling about, the nerve damage in my right side. For those who didn't read the earlier post on this, most of my right side - head to foot - was rendered numb in 1996 due to a surgical error. I also have severe drop foot on the right side (inability to pull up my foot). And I had long ago accepted it was part of my life. I had hoped that working out would help my strength and balance and that as I got thinner it would be easier because I would be carrying less weight, but never that it would make a real structural change in all this.

I was so not hoping for it, that I didn't even get it when something started changing a couple months ago. The first thing I noticed was clothing bothering the right side of my chest (which I couldnt even feel before), next I noticed I was able to better sense where my foot was which I couldn't before and then the next development was that when I spend a lot of time on the treadmill I notice pins and needles in my calf and foot.

There is no logical reason for these changes. Losing weight doesn't cause nerve regeneration, there is no documentation of working out causing nerve generation. It shouldn't be happening, but something is.

When it first started I reached out to my prior Neurologist looking for answers, she was as surprised as I was, but a lot more optimistic. She has connected me with a dr at the Mayo Clinic here in MN and I found out this morning that I have been accepted into the program and will be going through at least a re-evaluation of the damage in late April.

I am excited, nervous, scared, and tenatively hopeful. I am trying really hard to keep my hopes in check on this. I don't want to set myself up for let down, but I have to admit the idea of getting some use back out of my leg is my wildest dream, which I had long ago written off. Now I feel like maybe, just maybe there could be the smallest chance.


  1. Shalom Pam,
    As someone who has experienced severe spinal injuries, I can definitely agree with you that nerve regeneration is quite impossible these days. however, the ability to regain certain functions upon the resolution of extraordinary medical problems in other seemingly unrelated areas ,can, and often do, bring some relief to symptoms long believed to be chronic.
    For example, obesity contributed to a plethora of associated disabilities, among those are musculo-skeletal deficiences exacerbated by excess weight causing massive strain on the body's ability to support itself and the difficulty of connective tissue to complete its job. Also, the added strain on the circulatory system amounts to a lessened flow of oxygen to the extremities, like the legs and feet, which can further retard movement and sensation.
    Medical science has a long way to go before we can hopefully, one day, be able to repair severely damaged nerve tissue, but we are just beginning to notice the massive damage that obesity causes, including not the least of which, is premature disability and early death. Perhaps the growing awareness of this huge medical problem, with its insidious growth among the youth and the explosion of illnesses like juvenile diabetes and an entire family of related debilitating conditions, will bring about the application of new medical technologies and drugs that will allevite, if not lessen, your own physical problems.
    If it is of any solace to you, you know that in me, you have a fellow traveler along the path to better health and fitness.
    Let's hope that the weather in April will be accomodating!

  2. I have to respectfully disagree with Irwin...nerve regeneration does occur in the peripheral nervous system, not so much so in the central. So it largely depends on where the damage was done. Maybe some new pathways were generated and the weight loss released some pressures, who knows. sometimes we don't understand why, sometimes it just is. I know that drives you crazy Pam, but such is life :)
    I try not to say something is 'Impossible' or kind of like Fievel says..
    Never say never, whatever you do.
    Never say never, my friend.
    Ah, tais-toi!

    If you believe that your dreams will come true
    They’ll come true in the end.
    Keep up your courage, don’t ever despair.
    Take heart and then count to ten.
    Hope for the best, work for the rest
    And never say never again.

    go in with an open mind...miracles do happen..and we are not always blessed with knowing exactly WHY ;) so question and delve but know you may not find all the answers.

    big hugs!