Body Betrayed | Body Disabled

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Then and Now, Sunday March 21, 2010

Today is Sunday, March 21, 2010 and it has been almost two weeks since I began the plasmapheresis treatment at Vanderbilt Medical Center. I thought it would be a good idea to compare my condition now with my condition during the months before treatment. I have used a "then and now" format to share this information. The "then" statements were taken from previous posts. So, here we go with a symptom comparison.

Then: "I do not feel needle pricks over almost my entire body. I can feel pressure and touch, but not sharpness."
Now: This has not changed.

Then: "I tingle all over; legs and arms more than the rest of my body. The intensity of the tingling can vary slightly with exertion."
Now: I still tingle all over but to a lesser extent. My arms do not tingle nearly as much as they did.

Then: "My legs ache from my upper-thighs down. My arms ache from my elbows down."
Now: My legs still ache very much. My arms are not aching at present.

Then: "I feel tired and exhausted all of the time. I never get rested, stop tingling, or aching."
Now: This has not changed too much. I am a little more rested.

Then: "I feel extremely weak and cannot do what I once did. When I try to do some physical activity for a length of time, my body just seems to stop trying."
Now: My physical strength is slowly improving. I am still a long way from recovering my full strength, but I can tell some improvement

Then: "I have trouble walking and keeping my balance. I really have to concentrate on walking to make my legs move. Walking any distance (a few blocks) is a real problem."
Now: My walking and balance is better. I can walk a little faster and a little further. My balance seems better, too.

Then: "I have trouble climbing stairs and getting out of chairs. It feels like I have a lack of strength in my knees and legs. I become short of breath easily with almost any activity. It is then difficult for me to catch my breath."
Now: I can climb stairs better, but I am still having trouble catching my breath.

Then: "I have greatly reduced sweating. I basically only sweat on my forehead on rare occasions. If I have on a lot of clothing and if I am very hot, I may sweat under my arms a little. I normally have sweated heavily for most of my life."
Now: This has not changed.

Then: "I am almost constantly cold. In the past, I was never cold. But, my body seemed to change a few years back. I am colder this year more than ever."
Now: This has not changed.

Then: "I have noticed my voice getting weaker and raspy over time. I pastor a church and I preach four times a week (three times on Sunday). My voice is becoming a real concern for me."
Now: This has not changed.

Then: "I was diagnosed around 2005 with a partial CN-10 palsy that effects my throat and gag reflex somewhat. I do not feel hot or cold on the interior left of my throat when I swallow. I have not had any trouble swallowing, but I do not feel the temperatures."
Now: This has not changed.

Then: "My vision changed somewhat in July 2009. My peripheral vision field is less than normal for me."
Now: I have noticed some improvement in my vision. My peripheral field is increasing some. It is still not back to normal, but is decidedly better.

Then: "My jaw muscles hurt when I eat anything hard, such as M and M's."
Now: There is no change here. I like M and M's, but since it hurts to eat them I have opted for cheese cake instead.

Then: "I feel my entire body is being effected to varying degrees by whatever this condition is."
Now: This has not changed.

Then: "The condition is now definitely evolving to include my autonomic nerves. The autonomic nerves control all bodily functions including breathing, heart rate, kidney function, sweating, etc."
Now: This has not changed.

Then: "In mid-January, I started having kidney trouble. My local physician found blood in my urine on January 18, 2010 (hematuria). "
Now: I am happy to report this is no longer a problem.

Then: "I feel constantly full and am almost never hungry. I could go literally a day without eating. My current weight is 257 lbs, down from 282 lbs on July 13, 2009, without trying to loose weight."
Now: I still feel full and have no appetite. I force myself to eat and have been able to keep my weight around 260. I did have a lot of fluid retention from the plasmapheresis.

Then: "I feel shaky and trembly from the inside-out almost all the time, but it does not feel like hypoglycemia. Another person on a neuropathy website described the feeling like 'vibrating all over'."
Now: I still feel trembly, but not as intense.

Then: "Sunlight, or bright spot-lights, make my face feel like it has been sunburned or like ants are biting me. I avoid sunlight."
Now: This has not changed.

Then: "Orthostatic hypotension (blood pressure drops upon standing) on January 18, 2010.
My readings on January 23, 2010 at 9:30 AM, two hours after eating were as follows:
          Lying down: 146/81 pulse: 59
          Standing one minute: 133/83 pulse: 102
          Standing three minutes: 126/83 pulse: 86
          Standing five minutes: 132/86 pulse: 84
          Standing ten minutes: 130/88 pulse: 102"

Now: I did notice an increase in my pulse rate since the treatments. Before, my pulse would be in the 50's while resting. Last week my pulse rate was in the upper 80's while resting. On Saturday and today, it seems to have dropped to the upper 70's while resting.

I also did a quick check of my blood pressure this morning. My readings were:
          Lying down: 157/74 pulse: 67
          Standing one minute: 126/69 pulse: 103

Later, I did the full twenty minute orthostatic hypotension test. My readings were as follows.
          Lying down: 157/76 pulse: 83
          Standing one minute: 141/83 pulse: 107
          Standing three minutes: 139/89 pulse: 108
          Standing five minutes: 146/90 pulse: 109
          Standing ten minutes: 148/93 pulse: 120
          Standing twenty minutes: 134/95 pulse: 126

This has not really changed except for an increased pulse rate while resting. I still have orthostatic hypotension.

There are a variety of nerve types and fibers in the human body. Some are large fibers and some are small fibers. Some control pain, perception and some control touch, feeling. Some control balance and others control motor functions. Since, my condition involves various types of nerves (polyneuropathy) some of my symptoms may change or improve at different rates than others. The type of nerve fiber effected has a direct bearing on the symptoms I experience.

It seems the symptoms related to my large nerve fibers are improving, while the symptoms related to my small nerve fibers and autonomic nerves has not changed much, if at all. Was the treatment worth it? Yes!

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