This is a post that has been going around in my head for two months now. I know I want to... need to... write this. Not just for others, but mainly for myself. I need to get my thoughts and emotions out. That is the reason for my blog. To explore what I'm dealing with as a person with chronic illness. If by sharing I help one person who is also struggling know they are not alone, I have me my purpose.
People dealing with a chronic illness know that, quite often, the medical file usually doesn't stop with one diagnosis. Whatever the cause - genetic, autoimmune, illness, or just pure luck - rarely do we see a person with only one condition in the world of chronic illness. I started my journey in March 2008 with one condition - Type 2 diabetes. Just this year I have added to the list.
In the last few years, I found out I have a fatty liver, a cyst on one of my kidneys, and plantar fasciitis. Earlier this year I finally got an answer to my chronic pain - fibromyalgia. Thankfully it hasn't caused too much trouble in my job as a first grade teacher.
On February 19, my left thumb started to feel numb. I thought that was strange but didn't think much of it. Maybe I'd call the doctor the next day or so if it didn't go away. The next morning, I notice my left upper arm felt a little numb. Not totally numb. I could still feel pressure. Probably best described as the numbness you feel when the dentist first gives you a local injection to fill a cavity. Within less than an hour, my entire left side had this sensation. Off to the ER I went! (Thankfully it was a snow day so I didn't have to request s substitute or write sub plans!)
After tests and doctor appointments over the next several days, it was determined that I had a right thalamic stroke. In other words, stroke in the right side of the thalamus, near the center of the brain. This area of the brain affects sensation which explains why my left side was experiencing diminished sensation (numbness).
I am now officially a stroke survivor.
Chronic conditions are like uninvited guests. You don't want them, but sometimes it's next to impossible to get rid of them. I still have diminished sensation on the left side of my body, most noticeable on my face and upper arm. I may need to learn to live with this for the rest of my life. If you can't get rid of the uninvited guest, you might as well make friends!