Back in the mid-90s was when I started having some signs of complications. In 1995, I had an upper GI that showed slow stomach emptying – at the time, I didn’t realize that I had the beginning stages of gastroparesis. In 1995 and 1996, I also had a lot of laser surgery for retinopathy. During that same time period, I started getting neuropathy in my feet that got progressively worse.
Sadly, it took going on disability in 2005 that gave me the time to get online and find the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). It was late 2007 when I first found the DOC. By the time that happened, my neuropathy was so bad that I had to use a walker to get around. In 2006, I had stitches put in my foot without needing to be numbed. I had zero feeling in my feet up to almost my knees.
When I found the DOC, I not only learned tips on how to manage my blood sugar, I found hope that my neuropathy could be reversed some day. There were articles posted about nerve regeneration and discussions that followed. One very interesting discussion was how our mitochondria can take 2-3 years to reach our feet in a person of average height. And of course, most of them get killed off on the journey from our spine to our feet.
Yesterday I had an appointment at the wound center. Because I had left and then decided to go back again, I was treated as a new patient and had to go thru the health screening part for a new patient. The nurse practitioner joked about having to do the filament testing – she knew that I had zero feeling in my feet but was supposed to do it as part of the process.
I was expecting to fall asleep when I had my eyes closed because I had very little sleep the night before. I certainly wasn’t expecting what happened: I felt a vibration! I think I shocked the NP when I said that. It took a minute to find the spot again but I felt it again! She asked if it was on the top of my foot or the bottom – I said top and it was the bottom, but I felt a vibration!
That was my bad foot and she did it on my good foot. There was a spot there also! That one was not as strong as the other foot, but I still felt a vibration!
I can’t remember exactly when I stopped feeling those things, but I know it was pre-2003. In 2003, I had changed both jobs and doctors and everything was going downhill fast. I know that I had no feeling in my feet at that time and that was when the neuropathy also started moving up my leg faster. Because we are only a few weeks away from 2013, I think it is safe to say that it has been over 10 years since I felt anything in my feet!
I had some mitochondria survive the trek from my spine down to my feet! It is only one spot on each foot, but I felt the vibration! It is the first sign that I have had that yes, there is a chance that my neuropathy is going to reverse. I know it is only one little spot on each foot, but I believe that the process has started and my neuropathy is going to reverse. I know it is a very slow process, but it is going to happen – the first mitochondria to survive that journey made a path for the others to follow. I know that eventually I am going to be able to walk without my walker again. Mark my words, but I not only plan on walking without my walker, I am going to run again!
I know that I am the one that had to put the effort in, but I never would have been able to see this day without the DOC. You guys gave me the knowledge to do it, the support along the way, the encouragement to keep going when I got discouraged, and there to help me get back up when I fall. Thank you DOC!