Chemists dx with small-fiber neuropathy
I would like to share my story b/c it may shed some light on some of the things you may be going through. I was finally dx with nerve loss in Sept. of 2006 after seeing 3 neurologist, cardiologist, orthopaedic specialist, and an occupational-environmental specialist. In 2004 I had a brief episode with facial numbness(5 days) which was explained away with a migraine headache. About the same time I had episodes of my feet turning blue and burning only after exercise. I saw my cardio. b/c I have mitral valve prolapse and had a test for peripheral vascular disease which came back normal. So this symptom was explained away b/c of the MVP. I am a chemist, and the bldg. where I worked had long corridors. I then start to notice that I was really off balance, and instead of checking this out me and my co-workers would laugh this off and they would say I couldn't pass a sobriety test. My feet continued to worsen during exercise so I quit exercising so I wouldn't have to think about that. On Jan. of 2006, I woke in the morning and my face felt strange. I remember reporting to my co-workers that my face felt numb. B/c of the prior event and the fact that I was only 36, this had to be another migraine coming on. After a week and no migraine, I started to get concerned so I made an appt. with a neurologist. His initial exam revealed more that a numb face. I also had arm and leg weakness. His initial assessment was that I had probably had a stroke. MRI's of my brain and cervical spine showed no evidence of stroke but a slight bulging disc at C-3 and C-4 which I had for several years. I had no pain in my neck or back. On my third visit he suggested we wait it out but I did not want to do this b/c the numbness and tingling was spreading. Needless to say I ended up at a famous teaching hospital where I had another round of MRI's,blood tests, a EMG, and Nerve conduction test which all came back mostly normal. I was in the right age group for MS so that had to be ruled out next. The spinal tap was normal and I'm releived that I don't have MS. All other blood tests accept for some elevate liver enzymes, a slightly low calcium blood level and blood in the urinalysis were normal. Of course everyone was baffled. How could I have progressive loss of sensation in my face, legs, and arms but no explanation. I also had decreased vibratory feelings in my toes. Finally, a long 9 months later it was evident that it had to be something in my work environment. I worked for a state government which is not regulated by OSHA, and the conditions of the work environment had bee a concern for years. Well to finally rap this up, I have been poisened by organic solvents. They have damaged the small-fiber nerves which can't be tested by EMG. There have been some breakthroughs in dx this through skin-punch biopsies which count the number of damaged nerves. The bad thing for me is that I have hit a plateau. My initial numbness went to my shoulders and to my hips. It is currently at the level from my hands to elbows, feet to knees, and most of face and I have been out of the env. for 10 months. Organic solvents are in almost every profession. If you have unexplained numbness, tingling, burning, and pain check the things in your envi. To date I experience all of the above plus fatigue, muscle twitches, and cramps. I am currently taking lyrica and nortriptilyne which have helped make some of these symptoms more bearable. I hope that this will help someone.