The Night Terrors 

I suffer from peripheral neuropathy (PN), a condition similar to but different than that from diabetic neuropathy. Although a lot isn’t known about PN, there are some general symptoms that are often shared by those afflicted by it, including but not limited to: it generally starts and worsens at night (nocturnal progression), it can be caused by a wide variety of things, some of which are “unknown”, it is generally managed with medications to some degree (better in some patients and not so well with others), can strike without warning even when one is doing as they should to manage the disorder, and varies widely in its intensity and the location effected. 

Unlike many afflicted with PN, I don’t have too much trouble with the common symptoms of feeling numbness and “pins and needles”, similar to when ones hand/foot “falls asleep” but to a greater degree of discomfort and longer duration. My symptoms are mostly managed by proper diet and being well hydrated along with my medication. However, I sometimes experience a phenomena called “break through pain” where the pain overwhelms the medicine and my body and puts me in a miserable condition. 

My flesh, which is normally, for me, desensitized (I feel no sence of touch and almost no pain/feeling at all in the affected areas) becomes hypersensitive, to the point that even a sheet or blanket can’t touch it. The pains are best described as someone taking an ice pick, dipping it in acid, and then stabbing me over and over, in different spots and in untimed succession (they may be seconds – or less – apart or minutes of reprieve may be experienced. These “stabs” then cause muscles, which normally don’t work at all, to spasm, a different and unpleasant feeling altogether. 

I mention this today because I am coming off of a night of pain-filled sleeplessness due to a visit from, as I have not so endearingly dubbed then, “the night terrors”.  

At one point in my life I would go days, weeks even, with little to no rest due to these relentless demons attacking me frequently and regularly. One day I mentioned the misery I was experiencing to my neurosurgeon and he explained this side effect from the nerve damage that Cauda Equina Syndrome had caused. (If you are interested in more on CES, see my other pages or see these links:

Within weeks of starting on a new medication I felt relief for the first time in years. And, other than the now rare “break through” incidents I have, I feel and rest much better much more of the time. 

While the medicines do have their potential side effects, which God has mercifully spared me front, in my case at least the risk outweighed the benefits by a large margin.

If you are unlucky enough to suffer from PN I would highly encourage you to talk to your doctor, PCP, medical team, etcetera about your symptoms. While no cure is available at his time, relief is readily available. And I think you will be very pleasantly surprised by just how much relief you can obtain in a relatively short time frame. 

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