Back in August, I wrote about the problems I was having with dryness. My skin was super dry and my eyes were extremely dry. When I saw my eye doctor for the second time for the dry eyes the beginning of November, he said my eyes were “bone dry.” I tested negative for Sjogren’s with both blood work and a lip biopsy. I wasn’t 100% convinced that it wasn’t Sjogren’s because it takes on average 6 ½ years to get diagnosed.
When I posted about it on TuDiabetes, someone suggested autonomic neuropathy. Although on one hand that made perfect sense because I already problems with both peripheral and autonomic neuropathies, my control had been fairly good for the last 3-4 years. A few years ago, a friend of mine dubbed me the “delusional optimist.” I didn’t want to believe that things would be getting worse when my control was getting better. I live in the camp that believes that neuropathy can be reversed, no matter how bad things are. Things just didn’t make sense.
Besides the dryness, I was having extreme fatigue. There were probably more days than not that if it had not been for needing to go downstairs to take the dog out, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed. I used to have a really good memory and could remember some of the strangest things. The owners of one company that I worked for thought it was hilarious that I knew the VIN numbers of the cars that they owned. I went from having a really good memory to not being able to remember anything. If I made a phone call that someone would ask my address and phone number, I had a piece of paper in front of me with that on because I couldn’t remember it. I got words mixed up when I was talking to people.
In November, I wrote about a problem with an elastic/spandex allergy. I briefly mentioned reading about problems with memory foam when I was searching for spandex allergies. In the summer of 2005, I started using a memory foam pillow because I was having some problems with my neck and my doctor recommended using a contour pillow. Last summer, I also got a new bed that was memory foam. I first read about the memory foam problems on Monday, November 14th – World Diabetes Day. I decided to sleep on the couch with a different pillow. Several of the people that wrote about feeling better after ditching the memory foam said that it took about two months to really feel normal again. I marked 8 weeks on my calendar and those 8 weeks were up yesterday.
Even though I didn’t sleep that great on the couch, that first morning I woke up having more energy and feeling more alert than I had in ages. I started having a bunch of lows. The one day every time I turned around, I was having a low and had to eat Smarties. Normally when I have a bad day like that, I gain 2-3 pounds. The next morning when I got in the scale, I had lost a pound. It was like my metabolism woke up after a deep sleep.
I closed my bedroom door to keep the animals out. I read that the same problems that people have with memory foam can be found in animals. Both my dog and cat had seemed very sluggish, but I attributed that to them getting older. I didn’t want to take chances so I closed the door to keep them out. Because the door was closed, I also closed the heating vent. No point in heating up a room that isn’t being used.
I was cleaning that Saturday and was in the bedroom. Temperature wise, it was in the low 60s in that room. I started to sweat. I haven’t sweated in a couple years other than when I passed out from lows and the last time that happened was July, 2010.
The next Monday after one week on the couch, I was feeling pretty good and decided to get on the treadmill. I started sweating so much I was soaked – even my hands where sweating and the bar that I hold onto was soaked. It was like someone turned on a faucet. For the first week, the least little thing that could cause me to sweat would end up with me being soaked. It felt like I had several years of sweat just waiting to get out and they weren’t waiting any longer. After about a week, things went back to normal – I am sweating but what you would expect, not being drenched.
My skin is no longer super dry. The conditioner I use on my hair is supposed to be used once a week and with being so dry, I had to use it daily instead of weekly. I am back to once a week with that. My eyes don’t feel dry anymore and I am hardly using anything for moisture in them – I am guessing the little dryness I do have is more from winter dryness than anything else.
I used my treadmill for a few days and then it died. It is almost 10 years old and they want $120 just to come look at it. I don’t feel it is worth putting that kind of money out and there is no guarantee they can even fix it or what it would cost to fix it. I haven’t done any “real” exercise (just moving around more inside) nor have I changed my eating habits, and I have lost 12 pounds in the last 8 weeks. Like I said, my metabolism woke up from a deep sleep.
I was talking to one of my neighbors and she said that her daughter-in-law uses memory foam toppers on all the beds in their house. She said when she visits, she always wakes up feeling drugged – that is how I felt. She said that sometimes her son comes home from work really late so he will just sleep on the couch instead of going into bed and waking his wife up. He said he feels better when he sleeps on the couch. When I talked about the sweating, she said that her son used to sweat a lot and doesn’t sweat anymore. I don’t know that memory foam is causing his sweating problems, but I do have to wonder.
When I first started reading about problems with memory foam, I read on a bunch of sites that studies show that memory foam causes neurological problems. No one linked any of those studies though. When I started looking up some of the individual components of memory foam, I did come across more information on the problems. Your brain is your neurological center, so it makes sense that if you are resting your head on chemicals, there will be problems. Even before searching for the individual components, I knew that memory foam was obviously causing problems for me. I wouldn’t care how many studies were out there saying it didn’t cause problems – I knew that it did for me.
I want to be perfectly clear here that the memory foam did not cause all my problems with neuropathy. I had both peripheral neuropathy and gastroparesis (gastroparesis is a form of autonomic neuropathy) long before I ever used a memory foam pillow or bed. I do believe that the memory foam made things a lot worse and of course since I was diabetic, it was easy to blame any problems on the fact that I was diabetic.
One of the sites I read, the guy said that when you go to the doctor with some of the problems, no one asks you what you are sleeping on. No one asked me what I was sleeping on. I saw my PCP the end of December and when I mentioned it to him, I was surprised that he readily agreed that the memory foam was causing the problems. I have to wonder what he knows and why didn’t he share that before.
I threw my pillow in the dumpster. My mother had a queen sized bed in her spare room and she wanted to trade beds with me. I didn’t really want anyone else sleeping on that bed – I felt it was toxic and I didn’t want anyone else getting sick. While my brother was in Afghanistan, he had a storage unit with his stuff in. We put the bed in his van in his storage unit. He came home last week and will want to start using his van again.
My mother was insisting that I take the bed from her house – she said the other one won’t get used that much. My brother is staying at my mother’s house right now. They brought the bed on Sunday. I told him that he would be back for the bed because my mother was having him sleep on a toxic bed. He said, “think about where I have been.” He isn’t diabetic but his being in Afghanistan will probably be what gets blamed if he has any problems from the bed.
In a sense, I did have a problem with autonomic neuropathy because a problem with sweating is autonomic neuropathy. The autonomic neuropathy was not caused by diabetes though; it was caused by memory foam. If you are using memory foam, whether it be a pillow, topper or mattress, and having problems that don’t make sense, I suggest giving up the memory foam for a few weeks and see what happens. You might be surprised.