Peripheral Neuropathy....

What is peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy describes damage to the peripheral nervous system, the vast communications network that transmits information from the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) to every other part of the body. Peripheral nerves also send sensory information back to the brain and spinal cord, such as a message that the feet are cold or a finger is burned. Damage to the peripheral nervous system interferes with these vital connections. Like static on a telephone line, peripheral neuropathy distorts and sometimes interrupts messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Because every peripheral nerve has a highly specialized function in a specific part of the body, a wide array of symptoms can occur when nerves are damaged. Some people may experience temporary numbness, tingling, and pricking sensations (paresthesia), sensitivity to touch, or muscle weakness. Others may suffer more extreme symptoms, including burning pain (especially at night), muscle wasting, paralysis, or organ or gland dysfunction.

Some forms of neuropathy involve damage to only one nerve and are called mononeuropathies. More often though, multiple nerves affecting all limbs are affected-called polyneuropathy. Occasionally, two or more isolated nerves in separate areas of the body are affected-called mononeuritis multiplex.

In the most common forms of polyneuropathy, the nerve fibers (individual cells that make up the nerve) most distant from the brain and the spinal cord malfunction first. Pain and other symptoms often appear symmetrically, for example, in both feet followed by a gradual progression up both legs. Next, the fingers, hands, and arms may become affected, and symptoms can progress into the central part of the body.

So this is what we have been dealing with...(Michael is having a very difficult time walking and climbing up stairs)...along with starting tomorrow with oral surgery...Michael has so much bone loss in his mouth that he is at high risk for infections from his gums and they have decided that the best course of action is to remove the teeth that he has left....they have to see how he will handle this by first taking out a few....and then see how he heals ...after that things will progress quicker...the oncologist wants them out as quickly as he will be starting chemo again in September....

I have been somewhat in a shell....the change in my system from not smoking caused a lot of ME to close up...well, at least the ME that use to smoke...I also took sometime off and went to the Boston area for a little R and R....I am happy to report that I am starting to feel more like ME again and I am rediscovering my voice.....Thanks to all who have written here and off line to me sending well wishes and concern....

my heart is full....


Merry ME said...

Welcome back. Glad you got some R&R. Sounds like you're going to stay busy for awhile.

I totally get the no smoking thing and promise it will get better.

Sending you big hug and lots of prayers for a good outcome of the surgery tomorrow.

Pat Dalke said...

Dear Pattie:

So glad that you had time away for R&'s sure essential.

When I saw the title of your blog tonight I was startled and it was very hard to read. While our son was here with us last week I noticed the light from the television coming under his bedroom door very late into the night and early morning. When I asked him what was going on he said that the "peripheral neuropathy" in his feet kept him awake for hours. His is burning and tingling like needles in his feet. He said that he sometimes resorts to pain killers, but they usually just make him "loopy" and drugged feeling with very little relief.

He has constant cramping in his hands, I hope that is not the neuropathy!!! Along with potassium pills he eats lots of bananas and that sometimes helps.

He talked this time about hoping he can eventually gain some bone density. His teeth have not suffered to the extend Michael's have, but he does have aching in his bones.

Is Michael able to do any stretching? Dan has gradually worked up to doing stretching and some strengthening. Apparently the stretching helps. It may help Michael with the stairs.

You know Pattie I used to read the books and phamplets that the clinic gave us, but I don't know just how much I NEEDED to know. In reading the info you wrote on neuropathy it brought back all those feelings of fear and worry. As your information progressed it got more involved and more complex and more extreme.

In order to get through this I learned to take it day by other words have the information that I needed immediately and NO MORE.

Dan said that with the neuropathy at night keeping him awake it's hard to turn off his brain and all the thoughts.

Pattie, as I've said, sometimes "vegging out" on the most innane shows such as Law & Order can give you a respite from all "the extreme symptoms". Keeping my art journal has been a blessing too.

I will hold you both particularly tightly in my prayers this week...DO NOT LINGER IN THE DARK PLACES!

"It's agony to move towards death and not drink the water of life". Keep your eyes on the signs of life, don't let fear blind you.

Yours in hope,


Anonymous said...

Pattie, I'm so glad you were able to take a little break. You really needed to do that for YOU! Congratulations on being a former smoker, I hear that it is so difficult to do.

I remember all of the dental work Jason needed before his second transplant. He spent 4-5 hours each day for 4 days in the dentist chair, just to get ready for transplant. At the time, I thought it might be easier on him if they just removed all of his teeth. I hope Michael does well and heals quickly. I'm sorry to hear about the neuropathy, it seems like it's one thing after another, doesn't it. I hope they are able to find something that eases his discomfort. You are both in my prayers, daily.

Be well my friend, continue to take good care of yourself.

Sending big hugs and peaceful thoughts,