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Blood Tests & Inflammatory Markers

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by eightball776, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. eightball776

    eightball776 Peer Supporter

    Hey All,
    I've been struggling to figure out the best way forward with my TMS. It's safe to say my problem is largely inflammatory in nature. A consistent dose of Prednisone combined with an epidural has once again bolstered this theory, resulting in about an 85% reduction in my low back pain. For some reason this doesn't deter the surgeons who think a spinal fusion is the best option for me, despite my confusion about how inflammation can be removed with a scalpel.

    Unfortunately, as anyone familiar with corticosteroids knows all too well that this is a bargain with the Devil. As my tolerance increases, its efficacy begins to decrease, and sometimes (like now), it stops working very abruptly. A week & a half ago, I was making plans to play softball, while today I'm looking for a cane to help me walk. Now I'm left with all of the side effects & none of the benefits. Pretty much all of these side effects can trigger TMS (irritability, insomnia, etc.). The neurological symptoms (burning/pins & needles in calf & foot) persist regardless, but that's more irritating than debilitating. At its worst, the 'pinched nerve' starts to feel like I'm getting an electrical shock from certain movements. My standard response these days is "I can do anything as long as it doesn't involve sitting, standing, or walking".

    The pain & steroids keep me angry - all the time. This constant state of rage no doubt makes the pain worse. As far as the root causes - does the pain make me angry or does the anger cause the pain? The former - without question. Whether or not the TMS is responsible for the inflammation vs. the underlying autoimmune disease? That depends on who you ask, but what I'm trying to learn here today is how often TMS patients have blood tests that look like mine...where all of the inflammatory markers are off the charts (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR), CRP, etc.). All of the values that cause my doctors to blame on 'active Crohn's disease'.

    Is there anyone on here that's managed to reverse this type of trend by treating TMS? All of the other meds I've tried to manage the Crohn's have failed at this point and it's becoming harder and harder to keep the depression at bay. Add to that the fact that every recommended treatment is impossible to actually get because, well, health insurance in this country is pretty much a giant scam...well let's just say that spending half my day fighting them for every nickel...doesn't do much to reduce stress. Any stories that can give me just a little hope would be welcomed.
     
  2. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Hi, I understand your anger, you feel helpless, that’s what I read between the lines. Now, I don’t know what the official position is, whether TMS also includes inflammation. I think I read somewhere that there are diseases which are both, they are diseases where something is wrong with the body and a psychological component is present. The question might be: what comes first? I don’t know.
    However, I want to tell you about a friend of mine. She has Crohn’s disease for many years. She refused to take the medicine doctors gave her, because she felt that with psychological work and a diet she would be able to control it. And she did that. She told me it took her 3 years (maybe she took some cortisone in that time, I don’t know) and then she saw the difference. She is living a normal life now without medicine. I know that she doesn’t eat things with much sugar and also no corn (I think this is something individual). And most important is that she is really very much aware of her psyche and how she is doing. She sometimes says that when she was not good to herself, didn’t care enough about herself, her bowel will tell her. I don’t know about her inflammation markers. She thinks Crohn’s disease is a psychosomatic disease, only that never totally will go away. But, that with the right attitude you are be able to control it and its consequences.
    What I think is very important now is that you don’t beat yourself up for being in this situation. Sometimes it is just bad luck. It is more important how you react to the situation than at once wanting to change it. So, take care for yourself!
     
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  3. eightball776

    eightball776 Peer Supporter

    When you look at my medical history, a clear pattern that shows a correlation between serious flare-ups and emotional trauma. When I was diagnosed back in the early '80s, my doctors never considered stress or really even diet as contributing factors, though the idea that stress can exacerbate the symptoms isn't new. They just focused on keeping me from losing weight and pumped me full of steroids to control the inflammation, which stunted my growth and likely created more problems than it solved. They just didn't have as many options as they do today.

    Dr. Sarno believed Crohn's Disease was another "TMS equivalent". This was the one area in which he & I did not agree (I was a patient of his & he 'cured' me of back pain in my early 20s). I just couldn't wrap my brain around the idea that all of a sudden, despite a generally happy/normal childhood, that I had so much repressed stress/rage at age 6 to develop such a serious MBS. I also began grinding my teeth around the same time, but that I can believe was a stress reaction to the Crohn's diagnosis. It hasn't really moved the needle at all - obsessing over the "which came first, the chicken or the egg" argument, but it might be relevant that many of the medications I've been taking for years (and the autoimmune disease itself) combine to undermine the body's natural defenses against stress. It would make sense that this would leave me more susceptible to MBS. Simply being diagnosed with a chronic, incurable disease as a toddler had to have an impact, even if it didn't really begin to manifest itself with TMS symptoms until I was much older. Crohn's Disease patients are something like 85% more likely to suffer from some form of depression/anxiety, and really everything about it represents a fertile breeding ground for TMS. As long as my adrenal glands, hormones, immune system, etc. are all messed up, it seems impossible to reach a place where I can maintain any consistency with treatments.

    Where I'm stuck however is on how to restore my confidence in the ability of TMS 'treatments' to have an impact when so many things are out of whack because of the inflammation. That feeling of really not being able to see any clear path back to some semblance of a normal life is what keeps me 'trapped'. All of the activities I used to consider my stress relievers are no longer possible. I'm just really feeling it now because of the steroids - so no matter what I have to find a way to reduce some of the anger, but somewhere along the line I decided being angry was better than being depressed. I'm still not sure it's not...
     
  4. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well, this new article from Invisibilia must be meant for you, thanks to @fern

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/03/09/700823481/invisibilia-for-some-teens-with-debilitating-pain-the-treatment-is-more-pain (Invisibilia: For Some Teens With Debilitating Pain, The Treatment Is More Pain)
     
    mister_burger likes this.
  5. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Great article Jan!
    Eightball776, what you describe is that your feelings and your health are a mess. I would say it is not easy to restore health, maybe it is easier to restore clarity of your feelings. And also your expectations. I am very sure that you can heal and have a wonderful life with and not despite your diagnoses. But you need to take small steps and focus on what you can do now. It is e.g. important to have something in one’s life that really is enjoyable. Something that gives you satisfaction. And don’t focus on what you cannot do, focus on what you can do. Maybe also councelling could be relevant for you. Regarding all the medicine you took over the years, I don’t believe that there are too many irreversible side effects. Steroids have an effect, however, focus on to manage these side effects.
    Regarding the chicken and egg problem. Let’s suppose that Crohn’s disease is not psychosomatic. Then, it is more relevant to think about how to deal with it then trying to find the miracle medicine or treatment. To me it sounds that you have to shift your perspective. It’s hard, I know, I also have to do it. But it makes me feel much more active and in charge of what is happening.
     

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