Posted by DJ (220.127.116.11) on May 28, 2001 at 03:28:50:
I thought I'd share a way you can skip your next cluster cycle. You may not want to try this one, but it worked for me this year. Still not sure I like the 'trade off' very much...
Here's how it works...
Start with some intermittent numbness in the hand on the opposite side of your attacks. After about a month of occasional numbness, have your hand (and the bottom part of your forearm) go completely numb 24/7.
As soon as this happens, make a STAT appointment with the GP you normally see to find out what the hell is going on. He'll tell you you have a pinched nerve somewhere, give you some anti-inflammatory, and make a routine referral for you at the orthopedics' office.
You'll make several calls back to the GP's office over the next couple of weeks (while anxiously awaiting your specialist appt.) trying to get into the ortho sooner because the numbness seems to be getting worse instead of better.
He'll tell you to be patient and not to worry, a pinched nerve isn't anything dangerous (just slightly inconvenient) and the anti-inflammatory will help eventually. He may even get you one of those tennis elbow wraps to try and shut you up.
After you've waited the 'mandatory' 30 days to see the ortho, he'll tell you he doesn't think it's a pinched nerve after all and he'll refer you to a nerve specialist. Once again, it'll be a routine referral so you'll have to wait at least another 3 weeks to get into the Neuro's office.
In the meantime, you will start to have trouble doing normal, everyday things (like buttoning your shirt or holding on to things in general) because you can't feel your fingers.
About a week before your Neuro appt. (almost 2 months after your hand went numb to start with) you'll call the GP again to see if you can get to the Neuro any earlier because now the numbness is occasionally moving up your arm and down the entire side of your body, especially to your face and tongue, instead of being confined to just your hand.
The GP will tell you there isn't much he can do for you. He'll tell you to keep taking the anti-inflammatory because they'll eventually help. He'll tell you "since your hand has already been numb for 60 days, another 5 days won't make a difference".
You'll finally make it in to see the Neuro. He'll give you a full examination and ask you a TON of questions. He'll be intrigued with your symptoms (or lack there of since the numbness is basically the only symptom) but won't be quite certain exactly what's wrong yet. He'll tell you if you were older, he'd think you were having a stroke but since you're only 34...
He'll send you for a MRI, MRA, ultrasound, and a bunch of blood work. This time, it won't take quite so long to get everything done because there seems to be a sense of urgency now. The same sense of urgency you were expecting from the beginning.
Your tests will all get analyzed and will confirm you've had a mild stroke. They will show you have a partial blockage in the internal carotid artery which supplies blood to your brain on the same side you have your clusters. The tests will show why your had has been numb.
You'll remember you haven't had your clusters yet this year and will wonder if the blockage has anything to do with having clusters to start with.
You'll wonder how it happened.
You'll wonder what will happen in the near future.
You'll wonder ALOT of things, trust me.
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