Neuropathy Path Takes a Twist

Like so many others who have lived with hep C and who may have treated with interferon once, twice, or more, we have something called neuropathy. Some of us may be undiagnosed, and imagine that (sarcasm). Like hep C was for me; diagnosed by accident after years of being sick without answers I was never diagnosed with neuropathy until I treated with interferon. Sound like you? Maybe it was before treatment with interferon but in my experience most people who have been diagnosed, it was after treatment. Either way, it really has been a nuisance for many of us. OK more than that!

Years of Pain

Now it is several years of dealing with burning and aching feet and hands and when really bad flares occur it is all over pain and last year a terrible itch would accompany flares. This was the final straw for me.

It was bad enough that neuropathy had caused me pain for years but with the added itchiness that would drive me bonkers it was time to go back to the doctors for more or better answers. I had been using a drug for years and despite some not so wonderful side effects, it was helping – I think. I did some research where I live, in a big city, and came up with what was portrayed as the best neurologist for neuropathic conditions. Appointment made, lots of painful tests and loads of blood work followed. The neurologist recommended having a special skin biopsy to look at my small nerve fibers to see if that was the culprit for certain. The payer approved a special test that is expensive, and only done in New York City.

Answers…Finally

Two months later the results were in. Another appointment was made to discuss results from the small nerve fiber testing. Yes it was true; my small nerve fibers were damaged. Now what? As you can imagine, that was my question!

As it turns out, my neuropathy had been much less a problem for months. We discussed possible reasons and came to a conclusion that sounds totally plausible to me and it did to the specialist too. Back in November of last year my PCP had tested my B12 and discovered it was low-very low. He suggested taking vitamin B12 and wrote a prescription. He did not think I needed an injection and so I started taking a B12 supplement daily. The specialist said that is likely why my neuropathy had improved and considering I had done anything else differently I am confident it helped me. Another thing the specialist said was to make sure I keep my blood sugar managed because as I know, diabetes is a cause of neuropathy and if I had that on top of the damage already I am going to have serious problems.

I am not suggesting that this is the answer for you. You should talk to your doctor about possible solutions. It is helping me and who knows for how long, or how well over time it will be, but I am sure pleased about this twist in the neuropathy path.

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