Friday, July 2, 2010

Perhaps the Answer is in Cyberspace??

After what seemed like years of writing out my grief, sadness and struggles here, over the last few months, I've found myself mostly writing about daily life, sharing family and writing around those photos. I love it, and especially love the friendships, wisdom and mutual support system which has become a unique and wonderful part of my life.
Of course, there are other aspects, challenges and great joys happening here at what used to be Chez Ms G, and this one may seem minor in the big scheme of things, but to me it is more and more all-consuming. Last night, as I faced "the dragon" once more, it occurred to me that I could put this worthy opponent out to you, all my friends, and perhaps in your infinite wisdom, would lie the answer, so here it is:
......for 20+ years I have suffered from SEVERE bouts of muscle cramping in my feet and legs....sometimes in my hands, too. I can tell when I will be having a siege of it, as during the day I will have random twitching or tightening of muscles, and a weird shakiness inside. As night comes on, what feels like electric surges will start and my feet will begin to curl up in cramps - it feels like restless leg syndrome, which I've had on occasion, except I am up and moving around when it starts. For many of these years, it would only happen on Friday nights (I know it sounds really strange, but that is me, I guess). As I try to go to sleep, my limbs begin to seize up in pain, twisted and refusing to be straightened......many, many nights, I can only attempt to walk around for hours in my house. I cannot lay down or sit without deepening cramping. There have been times when the pain was so severe from hip to toes, that I have fallen and injured myself, and also,vomited from the pain. Some nights the seizures never abate, and at other times, they die down after several hours. It is so random, as to be baffling. There can be months between episodes, and as is the case now, it happens almost every night. Hours have been spent researching and tracking behavior on the nights/days it happens, even following what I eat and drink.
I used to workout in a pool daily....for probably 10 years. I had to stop after nearly drowning and being seriously injured when my legs, in full spasms of cramps, got caught in the ladder upon trying to get out.
On to what I have done to unearth the cause and stop this torture....of course, I have discussed this with my doctor. She has made many stabs at rooting out causes.....magnesium and calcium and potassium deficiencies have all been dealt with, and yet, these cramps continue. Years back I tried quinine to no avail. I have tried warm baths before bed, muscle relaxants, and natural remedies with no results at all. On a normal night, I have no trouble at all falling asleep, as I use meditational breathing and calming several hours before sleep whenever I can.
Nothing is working here and I am beginning to panic. Last week, this whole thing had reached a crescendo, and after bloodwork, I was found to be severely potassium deficient, directed to immediately take a supplement, eat lots of bananas, and drink orange juice, and right away, I had 5 days without cramping, well, one night, I had a minor foot cramp.

To my complete frustration, I sit here this morning, having had no sleep after an entire night of terrible cramping. I just want to sob. We have a beautiful weekend ahead of us and LM and I planned it to be just for us, with a lot of rest, grilling, and an evening of mini-golf with Kristi (oh, does she love mini-golf!!) sprinkled in, as we celebrate July 4th. Now, I am dreading it all because I fear cramping will disturb our much needed rest......when I am with LM on the weekends, he is pulled into the frenzy of these cramping events and it makes me feel worse.

Some other info....I take a small amount of BP med which has no indication for cramping or leg pain, Protonix for ulcer, also no contra-indications, thyroid replacement, Levoxyl (I lost my thyroid gland to cancer), and Premarin (I have thought this could be the culprit but have been unsuccessful in going off it due to terrible night sweats), again though, no contra-indications. I am once again, trying to go off it.

If anyone out there has any suggestions, I would be ever so grateful. I am at my wits end.
As I sit here today, there are little twitches and the threat of a cramp here and there so I know the siege has not passed. This is all minor compared to the suffering of many, but it sure does affect the quality of my life and happiness.
Any suggestions, shared experiences would be so helpful......

Meanwhile, I wish everyone a great Independence Day weekend, and there will be a special posting on Sunday of some natural beauty around Chatham.


Anonymous said...

I am speechless. I am so sorry you are going through this terrible cramping. It must be terrible. I had a leg cramp one time and it was terrible. I just can't imagine having them all night and during the day. I have taken a good portion of your post and sent it to a Doctor friend of mine. She and her husband are both physicians and I asked them if they could help out or have any further knowledge of your problem. You never know. I'm sure your Dr. is wonderful, but you never know if some other Dr. has come across this or is knowledgable about something similar that might help you. I hope someone out there can help. At least we can send a lot of prayers your way...hugs!! ...debbie

Anonymous said...

Ouch! I'm wondering if you are drinking enough husband gets cramps in his legs mostly at night also,(although not as bad as yours)if he doesn't drink enough water. I know this sounds too simple of a remedy to work but it does.

bySarah said...

I have no suggestion for fixing it, but I will be thinking of you, and hoping it goes away. Have a wonderful weekend just as you had planned anyway.

Cape Cod Kitty said...

Thank you all, another bad night last night. I am determined to find a solution.
Anonymous...I drink a lot of water....never without it. In fact, my doctor cautioned that I should lower my water intake a little so as not to wash away potassium. Seems my daughter has this condition, too.
Baffling and very annoyingly painful.
Thanks, Debbie for passing this along to your friends.

Linda said...

I'm not a doctor so I can only relay an experience in our family.

Flexeril is an old drug but is still prescribed apparently. Two family members suffering severe body cramps from very different health issues. Both swear it was a wonder drug for them.

I'm not recommending it, only passing along their opinions.

I occasionally have leg cramps and can't imagine suffering what you're going through. Bless your heart.

barbara said...

I have leg and foot cramps at night occasionally. Very mild compared to what you are describing, and I have suspected for some time that mild dehydration may be the culprit. I am so sorry you have to suffer such excruciating pain. I think you should get a second medical opinion, but I'm not sure what specialist would be most helpful. If hormone imbalance is causing the electrolyte problems, perhaps an endocrinologist? Just a guess.

Poppy said...

Wow...what a horrible, horrible thing to go through for such a long time with no answers in sight. My heart aches for you! I agree with barbara who suggested seeing a endocrinioligist to see if there is some type of hormonal imbalance going on. Having lost your thyroid and also being on hormone replacement therapy it might be a good idea to have an expert look into that. My mom took premarin for years and she too had a hard time getting off of it but finally succeeded. She took black cohash (I think that's the name) which is a natural remedy for night sweats and that has helped her stay off the premarin. John and his mom both take Protonix for tummy issues and neither of them have cramping issues so I wouldn't think that would be the culprit. Also being found at one time to be deficient in potatssium would also lead me to suggest seeing an endocrinologist.

Keep me posted...I hate thinking of all the pain you deal with! Hugs to you, my friend.