Neuropathy, Claudication, or both?

This was originally posted to my old blog on September 15, 2014

Today I went in to see my primary doctor.  The official reason was to follow up on an infected bug bite I’ve been dealing with since July 3rd.  The real reason I was there was to push the issue of terrible leg pain that I’ve been trying to have addressed for a long time.

The doctor came in and asked how I’ve been doing.  “Oh, alright, I’m OK.”

“Not too good?  Could be better?”

“Well, I have an issue I need addressed and I’d like to discuss with you.”

“”Well, let’s hear it.”

I told him all about my leg pain.  That it had started in 2007 and I saw my primary at the time about it and she had told me it was poor circulation and prescribed a medication.

“I can’t remember what it was called, it started with a T.  But I never took it because I lost my insurance right after that visit.”

I told him I had gone without insurance up until 2013 and when I got to see a doctor again the concern was now all about my heart and not my legs.  I went on to explain my heart surgery and that after that I had told my cardiologist about the leg pain on three separate occasions but no one will address the issue.  I told this doctor today that I am in terrible pain whenever I do any walking, but I walk anyway.  A lot.

“And does the pain get any better the more you are exercising?  Or is it getting worse?”

“I am in agony.”

He asked what the pain feels like and where exactly it is  at.  I explained that it starts in my calves and the more I walk the more it hurts.  It feels like the muscle is trying to rip itself away from the bone.  and the more exercise I do the more it hurts and spreads up the back of my thighs and down the sides of my ankles.  Eventually I get numbness in my toes and around my thighs.  Sometimes my fingers go numb, too.  I also pointed out that from my mid shin down, my lower extremities are beginning to look kind of sun-kissed. Oh, and of course I mentioned the ankle, foot, and toe swelling.

“OK, OK.  We need to take into consideration that you’re type I and also that you have heart trouble, even if these symptoms started before your chest pain.”  He went on to explain that this could be one of two problems, or a mixture of both, neuropathy and/or claudication.

The doctor prescribed a medication called Gabapentin for neuropathy.  It should help the pain if the pain is caused from neuropathy.  I am to take one pill every evening for two weeks, and then can increase to two a day if needed.  He also set up an appointment for an ultrasound of both my legs to see if there is any narrowing or clogging of my arteries and veins in my legs (claudication).

I am to go back for a follow-up with him on the 29th to discuss if the medication is helping and also to go over the results of the ultrasound.

I am so glad I am finally having this pain issue taken seriously!  I hope I can be pain free soon…or at least have much less pain in the near future!

After the discussion about my leg pain, he asked about the infection.  I showed him the scab and we both agreed it is finally healing up quite well and needs no further medical attention.

And then, after all this discussion of pain during activity, I walked 2.5 miles home.  It hurt.  I stopped and sat down twice to rest my screaming legs.  Of course this only gives me immediate relief and the pain starts up again as soon as I start walking.  The first stop was more to sit and rest while I drank a Hansen’s to bring up my rapidly dropping blood-sugar.  My shoe for some reason didn’t want to stay tied and I had to stop and tie it twice as well.

I made it home in one painful piece.  It took me one hour and fifteen minutes to walk two and a half miles.  I think that is good considering my poor health.  Maybe in a year I’ll be able to jog it in no time flat without even breaking a sweat!  Yeah, right.

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Author: Tamra K. Garcia

Stephen King says to "Write what you know." I know diabetes, I know me; so this is what I write about.

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