Hello all, for a while now I've been reading this board and dealing with some off symptoms that have me troubled. Before you say anything, I know this isn't a place to come for a diagnosis but I haven't yet put all my thoughts down in written format and I am looking for some opinions from people with neurological disorders.
On May 2 I got a very odd sensation on the left part of my face. Just above the corner of my lip. At first I described it as numb, but I had complete feeling over the area (about
the size of a dime). Later that week I was brushing my teeth and I noticed that after brushing the inside lining of my cheeks (the mucous lining) would shed. This was really disturbing to me and the small "strange feeling" patch was persistent on the left side of my face. Well, I didn't have health insurance at the time and I'm a fairly resilient person so I shrugged it off. I switched toothpastes to Biotene and the shedding in my mouth stopped immediately. Oh, well, that is very strange but I have heard of people being allergic to toothpaste before so I let it go.
The facial issue continued and on May 15th I felt completely drained. I was starting to get anxious and depressed about
this thing that would not go away. I slept almost that entire weekend and for 3 weeks following I was having fatigue. Whatever was wrong with my mouth would resurface when I used my old toothpaste, I did a little self experimentation of a number of occasions.
These symptoms stayed the same and around the beginning of June I had an all day work meeting and man did I feel out of it. I wasn't concentrating. I was focused of feeling like crap, and now the anxiety that "Taylor, there might be something really wrong here!" was setting in. I muddled through the two days and at the end of the second I was verging on a panic attack - I recognize that, I have had them in the past. Well, I was going to do something about
it and I headed down to the Urgent Care facility. The doctor on call didn't know what to do with me, I explained about
the facial feeling and prescribed me an antibiotic. Looking bad it was my mistake for going to an Urgent Care, there isn't a whole lot they can do and I am sure the guy wanted to do something
rather than just send me on my way. I took the 3 days worth of antibiotics (Azthrosomething) and I didn't notice any change.
The fatigue continued and I started having another odd sensation, this time in my left upper arm. In that small crease where the shoulder muscles meet your upper arm muscles I was getting that same feeling I was having on my face but accompanied by a very, very small amount of pain - like a mini cramp. I was becoming a wreck, very emotional, etc. So, the next step of course was to see a GP. Throughout all of this I don't have any health insurance so seeing the doctor at 100 dollars a pop isn't exactly lovely, but c'est la vie. My first doctor's visit was around June 20th and I explained all my symptoms as best as I could. We did a few exercises to determine if there where any neurological deficits (squeeze my fingers, look this way, look that way, etc). I was acing these tests no problem. My doctors took out a cotton swab (like one you would use to swab someone's mouth) and brushed it along my face asking me if I could feel it. Yes, I definitely could feel everywhere she touched with the swab.
"You don't have insurance" she said, "so let's start small." We did blood work that day. A CBC, Metabolic Panel, and something else (the name escapes me at the moment). Also she proscribed my Methylprednisolone that day and we talked a little more about
what this may be. Possibly some inflammation somewhere, lets start on the cheap and work up. The steroids cost me 4 dollars, and I was happy as a clam to try and get this thing kicked. 6 days on the steroids and no change in my symptoms except a few slight nauseous moments when I took the steroids on an empty stomach. The blood work came back and looked fine: no infectious processes at work, nothing out of the ordinary. I felt good about
that but all my symptoms persisted.
Back to the GP and this time, I knew what was coming. "We need an MRI, that's the next step." I am sure for all of you uninsured you can understand that this is nearby cost prohibitive, but I found a radiology lab that was willing to perform one for 420 dollars with and without contrast. Cool beans, I'll take the hit for the peace of mind. Around this time I started getting the same type of feelings in my lower left leg. Oh dear, I was caving and nothing was going to stop me. My MRI was only of my brain, I did not have a spinal (that would have been another 420 dollars and that just isn't feasible). My doctor said, "If you are having the feeling on your face then if something is there, it should show up on a brain MRI." I understood and accepted the logic. This "strange" feeling was and has always been most prominent on my face. I had the MRI two weeks ago and the results where sent to my doctor. I got the call and they said, "Good news, the MRI looks perfectly healthy." I was pleased, but still, no idea what this thing is and it made the news bittersweet.
I sat myself down and I did a little self evaluation. I probably should have called them back and asked what is next, but I was really worried now that these symptoms where psychosomatic. Well, I thought, if it's in your head it'll go away in time and that's where I am today.
Things I am sure about
- Anxiety and worry heighten the negative feelings I have. I feel worse when I am worried and better when I am not focused on this.
- I have a good GP doctor and I am confident with her conclusion that the tests haven't yielded any results; I'm not worried that they missed something.
- I self diagnose, which is counter productive. This feeds anxiety and generates depression.
- I have not seen a neurologist and have not had any test that are not listed above.
Things I am not sure about
- Should I continue to pursue a diagnosis or take a "wait and see" approach.
- Because so much of this seems to be centered around anxiety and depression I wander if I should look down that road.
Throughout this I've been counciled by friends and family that these are in fact the effects of stress and lack of social interaction. I work from home, 12 hours a day, at a computer and that have whittled my social life to almost nill.
Some other medical issues that might proven relevant:
- I have a very slight case of what the doc's would like to call IBS. It's completely stress/food triggered, I have gotten a handle on this just fine and need absolutely no medication.
- August of last year the top of my left thumb went completely (and I am taking like your slept on it) numb. This was after I started riding motorcycles again and thought that it was a pinched nerve. Eventually this worked itself out without any kind of treatment.
- October of last year while on a 250 mile, bone chilling ride to Flagstaff Arizona I had the same thing happen again on my left hand but this time it was the top of my hand from the wrist to my knuckles. When I got in to Flagstaff I couldn't feel anything at all and once I started to thaw out I noticed the numbness. I cracked it up to my hands being so cold I couldn't feel whatever damage I was doing to them. That has mostly gone away but since then my left hand has remained much more stiff than my right.
- 25 year old male, smoker, 200 pounds, no serious medical issues. One head trauma about
8 years ago, minor concussion. History of anxiety, not currently taking (or seeking) medication.
When all this initially started I described the "strange" sensation as numbness. Since then I think that descript
ion is misleading. It is not, in fact numb (like when you wake up in the middle of the night and you've slept on your arm). It's like you've slept on it and the skin feels "tight", almost like something is touching your face every so slightly, or how your skin feels after you wake up and roll out of bed when you've been sleeping on one side all night. I suppose it's hard to describe, but my first descript
ion of "numb" tends to indicated that "you can't feel anything" and this simply isn't the case.
I like in Phoenix, it's very hot (should be 110 tomorrow) and I don't have any issue with going out in to it - other than it being hot and miserable. Hot showers don't cause me any problems, in fact I enjoy them immensely.
My vision is pretty good. Some times at night I get some flashes, but only when I close my eyes after a long day at the computer. That passes in a few minutes.
I wear a full face helmet almost everyday. This is nonnegotiable.
I can't think of anything more to add, but this is the first time I've had the opportunity to get all of this down in a written format and I would like to hear opinions from people. I really wish I had health insurance because I would simply take 3 days off this week, go to the ER and say "run all the tests guys, everything", but that isn't going to happen.
I'm attaching a picture here to illustrate the areas where I am having this feeling:VIEW IMAGE
Thanks for listening.