A couple of years ago I would periodically stumble to my right from time to time. I wouldn’t fall but I would find myself hitting a wall once in a while and that was embarrassing. It was totally random and it was more annoying than anything. I did go see my doctor who sent me to a neurologist who did a bunch of painful testing. Part of what I learned was that my nerves were either non-responsive, really slow, or misfiring in parts of my leg. As they would misfire or not respond, I would stumble a bit.
Misfiring nerves has been the story of the last eight or nine years of my life. What drove me to getting help for my diabetes was the knowledge that something was wrong because of the pain in my extremities. The pain never left but got progressively worse. Nerve pain is unlike anything else you will ever have and my polyneuropathic pain dominated my life for a couple of years. It was all encompassing and nothing helped. Anywhere I had nerve endings (feet, hands, face) was in overwhelming pain for months at a time. It was relentless. Pain medication didn’t help. Stuff like Oxycontin didn’t help and had some annoying side effects at a time in my life when the last thing I needed was annoying side effect. While nerve pain is horribly painful, it is kind of fun to reflect on. I remember being in excruciating pain and thinking, “This is a new kind of pain, it’s like I am being drilled into slowly” while other times it felt very much like being burned or being electrocuted. While the pain has become more manageable, it is still there, all of the time.
Since then it has gotten progressively worse where now walking is a conscious effort many days. What I mean by that is that it’s no longer natural and I find myself thinking about the constant lack of balance that I feel. They tell you as a kid that once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget. Well apparently that’s not true because I am forgetting how to walk. It’s not noticeable for others unless I can’t see where I am walking, like carrying things down stairs or if I am walking in a residential neighbourhood which really bad sidewalks like Mayfair (the old trees lift the sidewalks). I also can’t use my iPhone and walk at the same time. Fatigue also plays a role. All I know is that I hate this with a passion.
With it getting worse, I went and had more tests done and the result is that I am losing my ability to walk. No body knows how long but it is degenerative and will continue to get worse. There are things I can do to slow it but I can’t really ever stop it. The doctor said that it may plateau and be manageable with a cane but that is a best case scenario. Worst case is that it continues to spread.
I don’t know how to feel about it. Yesterday was a day of cancer, suicides, and serious health issues for the clients I work with and I just shrug that off. It’s part of life. So too is this. It’s part of my life and I need to deal with it. It’s frustrating because it’s not something that I can tackle head on and fight. It’s my body giving up on me and I hate that. All I know is if I get a cane, I want one of those ones with the blade hidden in the handle like all of the spies had in the Len Deighton novels I read as a kid.