I had my first neurology appointment, a long overdue referral that my rheumatologist sent over back in November. At that time, I had just begun having strange headaches and very noticeable tremors in both hands. It was so noticeable that when I eat or pick something up, my hands shake for the whole world to see.
From what I gathered as I sat in the waiting area filling out paperwork, there had been a bit of a mix up within this medical group. So, the four-month delay in getting an appointment was due to the fact that they had no neurologist to see me.
Once I was called in to see her, my new neurologist introduced herself as Dr. M. It turns out that Dr. M is from my original neck of the woods, the DC/Maryland area. She did her residency at Georgetown University Medical School, then moved her practice to my next neck of the woods, Las Vegas, NV. Now, in Reno, she’s establishing the neurology practice within this new medical group.
After her introduction, she proceeded to thoroughly examine me and ask a zillion questions about my strange new headaches, my nerve pain in my back and legs, the numbness in my feet and legs, my tremors, and a bunch of other things.
She reviewed my medical records in great detail, and even asked for more as she identified areas that needed clarification. I knew she was paying attention to every detail, and that gave me great comfort.
She turned out the lights and looked into my eyes with a lighted instrument. She led me to the hallway, asking me to walk without my cane so that she could observe my gait. She had me take off my shoes and socks. Then, she took a safety pin to see if it hurt when she pricked my skin with it. Starting at my feet and working her way up my legs.
It was scary to see how I couldn’t feel much pricking at all until she was well up my shin. I had no idea things had gotten that bad.
Once all the poking and prodding was done, she gave me her thoughts about what could be going on.
Definitely, the Lupus and/or the Lyme disease was affecting me neurologically when it came to the symptoms related to my back, legs, and feet. She said it was most likely something called peripheral neuropathy. The only way to know that for sure was to complete a nerve conduction study. I referred her to the tests that Dr. T, the orthopedist had conducted. For some reason, darn it, I didn’t have my copy.
As for my headaches, she plans to order an MRI of my brain to compare it to the results of my 2009 brain MRI that showed some vascular changes even back then. This new MRI will rule out other conditions, like Lupus cerebritis or some other central nervous system involvement, and hopefully will explain why I’m getting these strange headaches and if they are related to the Lupus or Lyme infection.
She wondered if my rheumatologist had ever mentioned any connection of these neurological symptoms to the Lupus. I told her no. My rheumatologist never really attributes anything to the Lupus. She won’t even commit to explaining to me what a Lupus “flare” really is. It’s like it’s a secret or something.
So, when we wrapped things up, Dr. M gave me my homework assignments:
- Keep a diary of my headaches.
- Get blood work completed to make sure kidney function is acceptable for MRI with contrast.
- Schedule and complete the MRI of my brain.
- Once results are in, schedule follow-up appointment with Dr. M.
Well, that’s it for now. They’ll call me when they’ve faxed over the blood lab requisition….