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Leg Pain Journey over Two Years

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by BonnieLass, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. BonnieLass

    BonnieLass Peer Supporter

    It started with what seemed like sciatica in my right leg in the fall of 2018. Excruciating pain when walking. I couldn't even put on socks, because I couldn't bend my leg to put my right ankle on my left knee. Went to my PCP because I thought it might be a blood clot. I didn't have any other symptoms-- no discoloration or tenderness in my leg. They sent me to physical therapy in January 2019, but after a few visits, I stopped going and just started doing the exercises at home. I had a stretching routine I did in bed morning and night with an exercise band. It helped a little some days, not so much on others. I had been in the habit of walking for 45-55 minutes every day (5,000 steps on my Fitbit), but throughout 2019 I rarely made that goal on any given day.

    I can't remember exactly, but the pain would get better and worse and better and worse. I had read Sarno years ago (in fact, I saw the John Stossel item on 20/20 when it was first shown!), and I got out his book and started reading. It seems to me that over the fall of 2019, I made progress, such that in January 2020, I committed to walking every day again at my former level. I did this and experienced no or at least minimal leg pain. For a couple of months I did this...and until COVID hit, I had made my 5K every day, 7 days a week.

    Over the last couple of months I've been consumed with anxiety over COVID, my own health, being totally alone, having to give up the minimal (yet still emotionally sustaining) activities I engaged in with other people, and have gone into total lockdown. I am fainting from loneliness-- phone calls and zoom book club/worship/online seminars are like slow starvation. My underlying anxiety has been off the chart. I do talk to a therapist every week-- we had to discontinue in-person visits.

    In June 2020 the leg pain came back with a vengeance. Not originating in the butt like before, but lower down on my leg (just the right leg), mostly from the knee down and primarily in the back of the knee. It doesn't feel like a cramp, or like a burning, but it feels like a pulled muscle or tendon. I'm not saying it is that, but just describing the pain. I should mention that I've had type 2 diabetes for about 12 years and I do have neuropathy in both feet, more on the right side.

    I made an appointment with a vascular specialist for the end of August to see if it's perpheral vascular disease. I couldn't get in to see him for two weeks and during that time the pain went completely away, and I was able to walk with no problem, so I canceled the appt.

    But last week it came back again worse than ever. It's at the very worst in the middle of the night. The pain doesn't wake me, but if I wake up or get up, when I go back to bed it is insanely excruciating pain. Last night, it must have been at level 8-9 (out of 10). Again, not cramping or burning, just straight-out pain, all down my right leg. I took two ibuprofen and when that kicked in, I could go back to sleep for an hour. And yeah, I'm obsessing over it. I'm checking in with the pain or lack of pain throughout the day. It does come and go and I can't identify a pattern. Walking doesn't help like you would expect if it were a cramp due to poor circulation. Walking sometimes makes it worse, but not always.

    I made another appointment with the vascular specialist for a week from Friday and I'm going to keep this one. Sarno and the others say to rule out medical causes before you fully commit to TMS/MBS. I'm afraid the doc will feel compelled to come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan. I'm going to ask him if he is familiar with the work of Sarno/Schubiner/etc. I hope so, because it would be hard to explain.

    Of course I've googled the symptoms of peripheral vascular disease, and I really don't have any of them except the pain-- no temperature differential between my two legs, no discoloration, no cold feet, no tenderness in my leg. My cholesterol is 175, my a1c is 6.1. I want the doc to tell me the state of my leg so I can throw myself 100% into TMS.

    I know this doctor from the past-- 20 years ago, actually-- and I really like him. It was he who was operating on my late husband to save his remaining leg when my H had a heart attack during surgery. He died from that 10 days later. My husband had a boatload of doctors by that time in his life and this one and one other were the only two who sought me out to express condolences after he died. Even his PCP did not (that hurt, as we were very close to him, or so I thought... but I digress). Anyhoo, my point is that I know this guy and we had a good relationship, so I feel I can be completely frank with him.

    By way of background, I have a history of anxiety from childhood and have plenty to be anxious about. I'm discovering this when doing the very painful journaling exercises. This world has never seemed a safe place to me. I've been in therapy off and on since my 20s.

    In the summer of 2018 right before the first leg pain hit, the man I loved (for 10 years) died a slow, very painful death from a childhood genetic condition that there was no escaping from. He was in hospice for a month. I visited him every day and held his hand as he drew his last breath. The man I dated before him (two years after my husband's death) had quad bypass surgery at one point. I've been surrounded by other people's-- men's-- health problems.

    I had breast cancer in 2015, a lumpectomy and radiation (no chemo) and five years of an estrogen blocker that played havoc with the nerves in my legs as well as my personal bodily thermostat. I had a biopsy with my last mammogram in June (during lockdown) that found some "atypical" cells that aren't cancer or even pre-cancer, but my cancer surgeon wanted to do a lumpectomy. Surgeons to like to cut things out, dontcha know. I didn't want to go into a hospital for any procedure at that point. I'm going to have another mammogram in December and see what it looks like.

    That's my current story. I want to rule out peripheral vascular disease, at least as something that needs treating right now, so I can fully commit to the TMS/MBS way.

    ETA: After writing all that out, I just went outside to round up my cat like I do every night at this time and NO leg pain AT ALL. Not even a twinge. WTF, ya know?? :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020

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