Thursday, 28 May 2015

Paresthesia - We Don't All Get It

My fingers are tingling. It never stops. It started with them just "falling asleep". Now it's there almost all the time. It's called "Paresthesia". It's not listed as a common symptom of ALS; in fact many suggest it is not a symptom of ALS at all but of something else. I'm not so sure. I've got it, it's happening. It happened in my legs too, as they began to fail substantially.

That's part of this disease. So much of it is related to other things. You are always suspicious of symptoms; they might be from ALS, and likely are, but they also might be from something else. With my weakening body, all kinds of opportunistic illness can take root, from the DVT in my legs to infections to side effects from medications. I get it all.

The reason I am fairly sure this bout of paresthesia is ALS related is because it's not my first go round. I had it really bad in my legs before I went into the wheelchair. I still get it in my feet on a regular basis. So we can add another item to my list of lifestyle annoyances.

Paresthesia doesn't hurt, per se. It's more of an irritation. As my sensory nerves get a form of cross-talk from my motor nerves, they get more information than they can handle. That data overload shows up as tingling. The tingling is a light sensation, like very gentle pins and needles. It's happening right now, as I type. It's not what I would call pain, except for being a pain in the ass.

I can still feel everything else, plus I get to feel the tingling. The paresthesia is relatively transient; it will go away at some point, especially if I focus on it. In fact, right now, as I type and think about my finger tips, the feeling goes away for a moment or two. It will come back, most likely when I am not thinking about it. That's just the way this stuff works; when I focus my body will do its best to behave, when I don't focus, the ALS takes over.

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