acceptance, autoimmune disease, daily life, education, ms, multiple sclerosis, numbness, symptoms
Since the beginning of my MS journey, I’ve always had trouble with my left leg. I periodically “lose” it (it just goes numb and seems to disappear), or I get pins and needles, or (my favorite!) I get burning pain that can impact my toes, my leg, my hip, and sometimes all of it.
In late July I was in bed one night and realized that I had no feeling on the top of my big toe. My RIGHT big toe. I decided to approach it in as zen-like a state as I could and just shrugged and thought maybe it was the new shoes I had bought recently. The numbness continued and started to move slightly so that it was numb around the nail bed and a bit along the inside of the toe. I stopped wearing the shoes for four days. No change. Still, I refused to panic – typically my go to response. I decided to monitor it to make sure it didn’t spread and to move on with life. I mean, it’s just the big toe right?
The following three weeks were pretty stressful. I had a few crazy days at work and wasn’t sleeping much. I spent a bit too much time in a very hot building and noticed afterward that both feet were completely numb instead of just the left.
I stood up one day at home shortly afterward and started to fall. My right foot had basically turned outward somehow without me noticing that it wasn’t holding me up. This happened a few more times. I started walking slower and focusing on my gait again and paying attention to the right foot to avoid walking on the side of it. I tried my best to adjust, but it was challenging. One of the docs showed me some exercises that would help to strengthen the muscle on the right side of the right foot which seemed inexplicably weaker then my usually troublesome left side. I even woke up one morning early when my right calf muscle seized (this feeling may go down as one of the worst ways to wake from a deep sleep).
At this point I thought it may be good to get a neurologist involved. Clearly the problem wasn’t just going away. I called my local doc who was out of town and his assistant recommended that I call the MS Specialist. They ordered some lab work and we waited for the result.
So, it turns mild UTI that I’ve had for ages has become significantly worse. Apparently it is fairly common in MS to have UTIs. I’ve had no symptoms that would make me think of that possibility. I also understand the lack of symptoms to be a fairly common occurrence when patients have spinal lesions.
Long story short, I’m on an antibiotic and am anxious to see if the feeling returns in my right big toe once the infection is under control. As stated in the article linked above: “A person with a UTI may experience a pseudo-exacerbation. Although no underlying disease activity exists, the infection and accompanying elevation in body temperature may cause other MS symptoms to flare up temporarily. Once the UTI is treated, however, these symptoms should subside.”
We’ll chalk this up to yet another learning experience?