I love neuropathy awareness because my family has been greatly affected by this condition. My husband and I have had to make many life altering decisions. Our second daughter was 2 ½ years old when the doctor diagnosed my husband with bi-lateral idiopathic neuropathy. This was around the time that I wanted to start trying for a 3rd child. Sadly, we knew our life would never be the same so we decided that expanding our family was no longer a good decision for us.
Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, drive a minivan, take my kids to soccer and dance, and have a position on the PTO board. Neuropathy changed my dreams. I knew that my life was not going to turn out the way I had wanted.
Shortly after our decision, I went back to college to pursue a career in nursing. Life hasn’t been easy in our family and there were many ups and downs but through all of this, we are still together fighting this condition. My childhood dreams didn’t come true but now I realize that I can still be happy, I just need to alter my life. I love this quote from The Jessicaretor Show, “when life isn’t what you expect, reinvent yourself.”
Now, I’m making new dreams that involve helping people with chronic pain, helping raise awareness, and helping them realize that they are not alone. I wish I would have found a support group in the beginning but I didn’t think anyone would understand what I was going through; after all, my husband was the one that was suffering, not me. Now, I know, this wasn’t true.
Is your spouse or family member suffering from chronic pain? Please let us know how you cope. You can leave a comment or send and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ok, enough about me, what is neuropathy?
Everyday, millions of Americans suffer from neuropathy. According to the latest 2011 report from The American Diabetes Association about 60-70% of diabetics have some form of neuropathy. Neuropathic pain occurs when there is damage to the nerves that are outside of the spinal cord and brain. In neuropathy patients, normal pain signals are sent incorrectly to other pain centers. Usually, neuropathy is defined as peripheral neuropathy.
- Peripheral – nerves that are distant from the spinal cord and brain
- Neuro – nerves
- Pathy – abnormal
There are more than a 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy. Some of the more common ones are: find examples
- Mononeruopathy – problems with one nerve
- Polyneuropathy – problems with many nerves
- Autonomic neuropathy – problems with the nervous system that controls the controls the eyes, lungs, heart, stomach, intestines, bladder, and the sex organs.
- Radiculoplexus neuropathy – problems with the nerves close to the hips and shoulders.
Sadly, physicians have a hard time finding the underlying cause.
- Burning and/or shooting pain
- Tingling and/or numbness
Causes vary but some are:
- Traumatic injury
- Medication side effects
- Metabolic problem
- Amputation – phantom leg pain
- Vitamin deficiencies (vitamin B)
- Spine surgery
- Multiple sclerosis
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
Since neuropathy responds poorly to standard forms of treatment, pain may become better or worse over time. In some patients, neuropathy can cause serious disabilities. Hopefully, through awareness, we can help find a cure!