27 August 2008

Shut up brain, or I'll stab ya with raw spaghetti noodles

I've been writing about my dumb numb toes a lot lately. Every time I twitter something about them, a few people respond with a pinched nerve story. Though no actual doctors have replied, the twitter stories have convinced me that I have a pinched nerve situation.

It seems probable.

A few weeks ago I was having sharp pains from my lower back/upper butt region, down through my legs. It kinda fizzled out somewhere in my calves, never making it to my toes. Though I'm not having those pains anymore, I have been extremely busy, stressed, and doing a lot of lifting. My back is kinda stiff, but there is no pain. That last sentence I wrote, that's why the doctor said my toe numbness has nothing to do with my back. She even said that for a stiff person, I'm more limber than most.

If it's not a pinched nerve in my back, what else could it be? Last week my doctor said, "It's not your back. I think you have a B-12 deficiency or a thyroid issue."

Say what?

A member of her staff took blood and the tests came back normal. She wanted to see me again.

When I saw her this morning I asked if she could just go ahead and treat me as if I had a pinched nerve; it never hurts to ask. She said she would, if she thought that was the problem. It's not. She is convinced that the back pain is not related to the toe numbness. This next part of the conversation, she could've totally left out.

I'm thinking, 30 year old caucasian female, numbness in toes... there's a rare chance it could be MS. You need to have an MRI of your brain.

Blank stare. Eyes blinking. Me thinking, MS? WTF? Lady, you don't know who you're dealing with. Thanks an effing lot because now I'm going to be worrying about this until I see the neurologist.

After about two seconds, because that's how fast I think, I asked, "So what happens if the MRI comes out normal?" (Okay, not the most insightful question, but at least it's a conversation starter.)

[shrugs shoulders]
That's why I'm sending you to the neurologist.

I ask, "Are you sure you don't want them to have a look-see at my back? I'm going to be there anyway."

Nope, just your brain. I know this isn't related to your back, but your toe numbness could have something to do with that migraine you had two weeks ago.


I think she's using a tactic called freak-my-patient-the-eff-out in order to motivate me to get the MRI sooner than later.

Totally unnecessary.

Listening to: Man Man - I, Manface


  1. Man, some doctors really don't like being questioned.

  2. Thinking about you and hoping everything comes out normal.

    Actually, this is all probably because your brain is too big.

  3. WHAT?
    Do doctors really not get it. How much stress they put on a person when they spout off words like MS?
    *I am sure everything will be just fine.
    That won't help your mind shut off in the meantime. Sorry.
    Damn doctors!
    **Let me know who your doctor is, so I can NEVER go there. *gasp.

  4. Once when I was moving, I moved an especially heavy box and felt this pain in my back. Later that night the left side of my lower back really hurt. By the next day my left leg had shooting pains all the way down to my foot. Then that night and for the next few days, my entire left leg was numb, right down to my foot. It really freaked me out. I went to the doctor, who did an MRI of my spine. As it turned out, I had a "bulging disk," which was causing "sciatica." The sciatica was the numbness part. Did they mention anything about that? After I rested my back and lost the weight they advised me to lose, I've never had that problem again. Hoping for the best for you.

  5. In line with other Anonymous, the piriformis muscle runs from the lower back, along the upper butt, and attaches to the hip (I think). I had creepy crawlies down my legs and feet, pain in my upper butt, but no leg pain. After a podiatrist and an internist had no answers, my yoga teacher informed me that my piriformis was inflamed/pinched and, in some people whose sciatic nerve runs through this area in a specific way, this "tight ass" can pinch the sciatic nerve and cause such symptoms. I'd bet on that or back pain.

  6. Jake wanted me to remind you that the entire side of his body was numb for awhile. They did all kinds of tests and never found a cause. It did go away eventually.

  7. I'm not a professional by ANY MEANS but please get checked, even if it's nothing. My mom had MS and hers started with random weirdness. I am so not trying to freak you out, I promise. I'll go with you and hold your hand, if you want. Or buy you lunch afterward.

  8. I TOLD you raw spaghetti noodles were worse than q-tips!

    I'm banking on it being MS. A rare form of MS that is non-existent. A specialized rare form of MS that is actually a pinched nerve and not MS at all. That's what I think.

  9. Hang in there until the results of the MRI....when that comes back NEGATIVE....maybe go see a chiropractor (I have a fabulous one that doesn't take insurance and you pay him what you can afford!) and see what magic he can do....he really is great.

  10. My wife had a similar experience but the numbness and pain she experienced spread to her hands, arms legs and back as well. She also experienced quite a bit of dizziness and unexplained physical and mental fatigue.

    After numerous doctor's visits that about put us in the poor house, a doctor we saw did an MRI scan and he concluded that it was in fact MS. That was four years ago. And she is doing great despite the diagnosis.

    Better safe than sorry. Get the MRI for your own peace of mind. I hope all is well and it is only a pinched nerve, which I hear accupuncture does wonders for. And in the event it is worse, it's not the end of the world. There is effective treatment that people who have MS do very well with. Good luck to you. You'll be in our prayers.

  11. i had this. my doctor, dr. "crazy eyz" ridlin, told me it was probably the early onset of numb skullness. it always starts in the toes.

    at the time, i paid no attention because the doc is a wackadoo like there's no tomorrow. but nothin' for nothin', it turned out he was right for once. this comment being evidence of it's advanced stage.

    good luck kiddo!

  12. Hey, it's Mary. I'm just going through and catching up on your entries. I'm going through the same MS scare right now, only my big scary symptom is vertigo. You'll be in my prayers and I hope you are OK.



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