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Saturday
Aug282010

Not so cakey...

I've been absent from my hobby for a while now and I've been meaning to tell you why...

I'll put it simply, numbness is bad!  If you feel any sort of numbness in your body or mind for that matter (although this isn't THAT kind of story) search out a doctor, immediately.  I first noticed it on July 21st, in left side of my torso along my rib cage.  By the end of the day, my entire left side, armpit to navel, was numb.  

"Weird," I said and went about my day.  

The next day was no better, so I stopped by Urgent Care on my way home, just to see what they thought since there was no rash, no bug bite, and no pain to explain it. 

"Weird," they said, "but it doesn't seem to be negatively impacting your life.  So go on, do what your doing and let us know if anything changes."  In their defense, I think they thought it was shingles.

Speed up a couple of days, Boyfriend and I go see a movie that Saturday night (Inception = AWESOME movie!!!), but I realize then as we're munching on popcorn that the numbness is spreading into the top of my left leg through my hip.  Now I start to worry.

By Sunday night, Boyfriend and I are sure I need to go to the ER.  8:30pm we check in at the Hoag Memorial ER.  Before 9, I'm in a private room and am seen by a doctor.  At 10:30 I'm taken for an MRI, two actually, and get back to my room after midnight.  I'm admitted to the hospital around 1:00am with "something" on my spine.  A lesion?  Inflammation?  A tumor?  Hmmm, not what I was expecting.

In the first conversations with doctors on Monday morning, news was scary.  More scans were needed to define it, surgery would be scheduled to remove it, yada, yada.  Truth is, I just wanted them to get on with whatever they needed to get on with so I could go home.  So even scary news was good news because it was more information than we had before.  It was soon decided, however, that the "something" was definitely an inflammation of sorts, no surgery would be needed and by Wednesday, I was headed home with a diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis and instructions to follow up with a Neurologist as soon as possible.

The next two weeks were spent recovering from a three day hospital stay.  I'm still not sure if it was simply the stress of it all, or the spinal tap, or the steroids, or the Vicodin, or all of the above that had me laid up with migraine-like headaches and horrible back and neck pain.  Not fun.  Not fun at all.  

The Neurologist I had been initially referred to had a ridiculously incompetent office assistant/receptionist and after days of trying to get an appointment, or even a straight answer, I went back to my admitting doctors office for another referral, which, as it turns out, was for the best.  Boyfriend and I are both extremely happy with my Neurologist, Dr. C, she's incredibly compassionate, competent (her office staff is as well), and has such a great sense of humor!

It's now almost seven weeks since the onset of my symptoms and this is where I'm at... the left side of my torso is still numb, as is my left hip and entire left leg.  Add insult to injury with the fact that I sprained my left ankle a week ago walking out to my car on my way to work.  Since I can't "feel" my foot all that well, I didn't realize that I had started to stepped down on the side of my foot rather than on the bottom until it was too late.  It's healing quickly though and I'm wearing an ankle brace to keep it from happening again.  Good news, though, is that all of my other tests came back clean.  None of the obviously markers for MS were found in my spinal fluid, no other infections were detected, no anemia, no diabetes, no this or that.  Blood pressure's good, heart rate, too.  Other than this sudden numbness thing, I'm perfectly healthy.  Weird, I think.

What does it feel like?  It's as though I've been wrapped tightly with ace bandages.  I can feel pressure, and oddly enough, I can still be tickled to some extent, but general light touches do not register.  It's as though it's fallen asleep, but just won't wake up.  Initially, there was a hypersensitivity to it, in that if I were to brush against the "numb" skin, it would instantly feel like a like sunburn, but fortunately, that has subsided.  I did have a follow-up MRI of the Thoracic Spine the day before yesterday and will see Dr. C on Monday for the results.  We did get to bring home a copy of the scan as well my original to look at on our computer.  Kind of strange seeing all my innards on screen like that.  But it's there, bright as day with the contrast, about a centimeter long at T2/T3.  To our untrained eyes, it looks the same on both scans, but we'll find out for sure soon enough.  I will have to have another MRI of the brain soon because they did see one tiny lesion there while I was in the hospital, but my Neurologist said it could quite possibly be something I was born with, and at this point, she's not too concerned.  So I keep telling myself that I won't be either.

It should go away.  It might not ever come back.  But we're able to see our life differently and we are making changes now so that if it doesn't go away or if it does come back, we won't be derailed so suddenly again.  This is our wake up call.  

At the end of the day, this is all scary, a bit annoying, a lot weird, and even humbling to an extent.  But it could be so much worse.  I have an amazing boyfriend who's been there for me every step of the way, a wonderful family who are right behind him, incredible friends who keep me laughing, and a fabulous employer who gave me the time off to rest without hesitation.  Thank you for letting me share, I feel better now that I have.  Free therapy.  I'll get back to caking soon enough, but for now, I'm simply enjoying life.  

We now are off to LA for the evening to celebrate Boyfriend's birthday, cakelessly.

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