Whew, just got back to College City after a whirlwind weekend at home. Last Thursday afternoon I went straight to the airport from class, got into Home City around 9pm and back to my parents' house around 11. On Friday, my mom and I went into Big City (about fifty miles from Home City) for my appointment with Dr. A. Quick review: I last saw him a year ago, which was my third or fourth appointment with him. We had tried a bunch of stuff for my neuropathy (hormones, steroids, physical therapy, wait-and-see...) and things had gotten marginally better but not enough for any significant quality-of-life improvement. So at the last appointment he prescribed capsaicin cream, which worked like a miracle almost immediately - I'd say within a week or two, I was noticing relief for the first time in two years. My pain was almost entirely gone for about six months, during which I ramped up my running to semi-excessive levels. Then my periods started getting wonky, and the pain started bothering me again. I put off making this appointment because I kept thinking that once I eased off the exercise, things would go back to normal. They started to, but not fast enough.
Anyway. I was SO NERVOUS for this appointment because I thought he would roll his eyes at me and basically say "you messed things up for yourself, deal with it." Or, maybe even worse, "the capsaicin was my last trick. This is as good as it gets."
But, he did not. He basically said, "I'm sorry you're still in pain. That is not okay. Let's fix it."
He ended up prescribing another medication that dulls the nerves (a topical version of a tricyclic antidepressant, if anyone is interested). I'll pick it up on Tuesday, and see what happens.
My other main questions for him were: 1) exercise, and 2) birth control. Like I said, the pain really spiked after a period of heavy running, and since then I've been really unsure of how much is okay for me to work out. Plus, my periods have been pretty erratic for the past six months or so, and my gynecologist keeps wanting to put me on the pill. Dr. A told me that birth control is actually the most common cause of this type of nerve pain, due to the huge suppression of testosterone in women with "inefficient" testosterone receptors. The cause for me was anorexia-induced amenorrhea, which essentially had the same hormonal effect as the pill. So whether it's overexercise or birth control, my body CANNOT handle hormonal fluctuations like that. Dr. A has been adamant about curbing the exercise before, but I guess I needed to hear it again.
Best part was, he predicted that if we keep the nerves turned off for long enough with medicine, then they will eventually turn off by themselves = no pain.
Other weird observation: Dr. A looked like he had lost about 30 pounds since the last time I saw him. Both my mom's and my jaws dropped when he came into the room. He wasn't overweight before, just kind of big and hulking, but now he's slim and trim. I swear, he looked like a different person. No, I was not triggered. But dying of curiosity about how and why he got so skinny.