You may have seen my Health Update from Tuesday morning. Well, it turned out I was having if not an allergic reaction, a very negative reaction to the Lyrica. Essentially I've been taking a medication for the last two and a half months, three times a day, that my body doesn't agree with. The symptoms kept getting worse because the drug continued to build up, of course.
As soon as the offices opened Tuesday morning, Daniel called the original neurologist to see if I could be seen there. They said the doctor would call me back. The last time they said that, it took three days. Daniel called back to ask again if I could please be seen as my symptoms were getting to a point it was pretty worrisome. The receptionist expressed her displeasure as she huffily told Daniel he could bring me in at 1:45 that day.
Because of the rudeness of the receptionist, along with the fact that we already don't trust that neurologist, Daniel called the new office to ask if there was any way he could get me in. The receptionist there told him they were booked, but they listened to his concerns. She told Daniel she would call him back if they happened to get a cancellation, and he should take me to the ER if our family doctor couldn't see me right away.
My family doctor made the determination that I needed to go off the Lyrica, but it can cause seizures if stopped abruptly. I needed to take two of the three doses on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. Ick! The plan was to step up the antidepressant I was prescribed on Sunday as needed, because it is known to have an effect on nerve pain. About the time we got home from that appointment, the phone rang. It was Dr. Patterson's office calling to say they had an open appointment for Wednesday morning!
I was impressed by her office as soon as we got there. Everyone seemed to be in such good moods, and the other doctor in the office greeted his patient so cheerfully. Sure enough, I got the same welcome when Dr. Patterson herself came to get me from the waiting room.
She did something the first neurologist never did. It didn't dawn on me until she examined me that the other doctor never did an exam on me during the follow up visit in his office. He talked to me, but never did look at me. This new doctor asked me to describe the pain in my feet, then she started poking around. Guess what? I don't have nerve damage at all! For two and a half months it has been ASSUMED that I have nerve damage when, in fact, I have plantar fasciitis. Essentially I have tendonitis in the bottom of both feet because of how tight my body got during the shingles. Dr. Patterson is guessing I probably had a little bit of that going on before I got sick, and the shingles really made it bad.
The good news is that this is a treatable condition. For some people it takes a very long time to heal. In RARE people they don't ever run again, but walking is not out of the question. The doctor even said I might be able to do some slow treadmill walking at the gym within a month with a lot of stretching and massage in that area. She showed me exactly what to do before I even get out of bed in the morning and when I've been sitting for a long time.
As for my headaches, she explained that I have two different kinds going on. The first is tension headaches. Again, all my muscles are tight, and this leads to headaches in the back of the head. For this, she recommended heat and massage. The other headache is a migraine. This is another thing I may have been prone to anyway and was made worse by the shingles. I actually haven't had that headache in a couple of days, so I think it may have also been caused by the Lyrica.
So my two worse symptoms are actually going to be taken care of with lots of heat, stretching, and massage. That sure would have been easy enough to handle in the first place! Then there is the issue of the pesky seizures or tremors I had that got me hospitalized in the first place.....
When I was younger, I was diagnosed with juvenile epilepsy. The last seizure I had, that we know of, was when I was in Kindergarten. It is POSSIBLE that the shingles may have caused my body to bring back that epilepsy. I'll be having a EEG soon to determine if I am having seizures currently or not. If not, that would be great. If so, there is medicine that can treat the epilepsy, and I would NOT need to go back on the Lyrica. There are others that can be used.
I can't drive until I see the neurologist again, because she wants to make sure I'm not having seizures before approving that. I appreciate that very much! I would hate to cause an accident and hurt someone. Dr. Patterson also recommended that I have someone at home when cooking, taking a bath, or swimming as well. I don't bathe or swim without someone knowing, anyway, so it all works out.
Some of the side effects of the Lyrica are completely gone already, and some are still wearing off. For the most part, my vision has gone back to normal, I am not breathing as heavy, and the over all swelling is going down. There is no burning in my hands or feet at all. My mind was going way too fast. I'll be taking a nap this afternoon for sure!
Daniel and I have decided that I will still be waiting on putting in applications to teach. We need to get the epilepsy tests done, and the follow up neurologist appointment needs to be put behind us. I need time to digest all that has happened in the past couple of days, and we need to make sure I am going to STAY stable after the problems with the Lyrica. To be honest, I think we both need time for life to get back to normal for us before I start rushing around trying to get a job. I lost a large chunk of time from my life. The last couple of weeks have been scary. I need to REALLY rest now and relax in my own way.
A lot of people have already suggested I report the first neurologist. I will do that in my own way, in my own time. That was part of why I didn't sleep last night. I really don't want to go through the whole process of filing a formal complaint against the doctor. To be honest, I really just don't feel like I have the energy or the "fight" left in me for that. I don't want to answer a million and one questions about the last three months and feel like I am on trial. I want to put this all behind me and move forward. I will be sending some sort of letter to both his office and the hospital, though, explaining that this all could have been avoided had he listened to the description of my pain.
Well, I'm hoping the next time you hear from me regarding this issue is to let you know the EEG went well. I am so glad that none of my fears were realized. I SHOULD run again in my lifetime, but it may take awhile. I will definitely teach again, and that makes everything okay.