Thursday, January 20, 2011

Life Review Part 1

For various reasons I have been a rather reflective mood recently. It may be the influence of our first Minnesota winter, a record one at that, with large snow piles, some over 10 feet tall, having been present since about Thanksgiving, with fresh layers of snow occurring something like 15 out of the 20 days in the new year. However, I believe it has had more to do with my strong sense of "exhaustion." I use that term in the sense of the exhausting of resources. Referring in somewhat ascending order of importance, to financial, physical, mental, and emotional resources. In some ways these also include spiritual, but I find that seems to have a different "source" and needs to be examined in a very different manner.

The most "easily examined" is my physical health. I just underwent an angiogram, first since 2004, to update the status of my CAD and try to assess the nature of some current discomfort. The result showed that things are about the same as expected. Some slight, but not "significant," increase in arterial "blockage" with no intervention necessary. It was again confirmed that all 3 of the bypasses done in 1998 had failed relatively quickly. One didn't seem to "take" at all, a second failed between 3-13 months after the procedure, and the third was blocked for a year until it was corrected by a stent. The two stents placed in 2004 made a significant difference in my energy and stamina at the time and seem to be holding well. However, as was described at the time, the status does not seem to be "life shortening" but rather "only" limiting as to "activities." I think that just means I can't do as much as I might. let alone what I would like.

Since about the same time, 2004, I have been dealing with peripheral neuropathy. This started as some slight numbness on the soles of my feet. It was significant enough at the time that I underwent a battery of tests, which at first showed signs of MS, but further testing confirmed that it was not MS. The neurologist at the time indicated that he did not know what the cause was and was somewhat "stumped." I did have lesions/"scars" in the brain which had been the cause for the first assumption by the radiologist that it was Multiple Sclerosis (Scarring). Since then the numbness has been spreading up my legs and now includes my hands and lower arms. I visited a neurologist after our move to MN. His preliminary diagnosis was similar to the Oregon neurologist, "idiopathic" (sometimes I think "idiotic") which means "unknown cause." After further tests, including brain function, he indicated that the lesions on my brain possibly were unrelated to the neuropathy and may actually be residual effects of malaria that I had as a child in Jamaica. He referred me to a specialist at the U of MN with the earliest available appointment almost 4 month away. I finally saw the specialist and his first assessment was again "idiopathic," but he was intrigued enough that he asked if I would like to consider undergoing some further testing to possibly narrow down some aspects. The most likely "candidate" for cause may well be a form of auto-immune disorder, but there may not be any real clarification of cause or prognosis even with further tests. The one major "positive" analysis so far is that the neuropathy is almost entirely limited to sensory nerves and has not effected motor neurons. However, I still find it very discomforting that it seems like I have limited sensory function in the hands and arms as well as very limited sensory function essentially from the waist down.

The cardiac and neurological conditions produce physical and financial drains which are evident and of concern but are not the most "exhausting" of what I consider my most "valuable" resources. These conditions seem relatively minor compared to some of the mental and, to a much greater extent, emotional issues that "plague" me now. I will address some of these in my next blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment