Sunday, April 2, 2023

I Woke Up One Morning and I Couldn't Walk...

***sorry, another long-winded post but mainly I jot this down here mainly for my own reference in the future

Sep 2023

A few people whom I met up with asked me what actually happened to my leg/foot. As I mentioned before in my personal Fb & IG page that I was initially thinking if I should share about my leg/foot condition.

Initially I was too overwhelmed that I did not have the energy to share.
All the various doctors and the many hospitals visit made me really exhausted by the end of the day.
I was also weary of the overwhelming response I may get from my good-meaning good hearted friends on Fb.
On one of the better days, I was ready to share my story in Fb & IG one month later...

Well, to cut the long story short;
This happened one morning in early Sep 2022 last year.

Almost 7 months ago, I woke up one morning in pain with me couldn’t put weight on my right foot. If I did I would have shooting pains on my right foot, which led me crawling to use the toilet.
My husband sent me to the ER.

Doc initially suspected herniated disc/slipped disc based on my symptoms and so I was admitted to the hospital.
But then the MRI results came up and my spine looked totally fine. 

Admitted to the hospital

From then on, I'd seen 5 orthos and 3 neuro surgeons.
I'd done 3 MRIs, several CT Scan and ultrasound tests, and also did Nerve Conduction Study/Test.
I'd also done injection, extraction and some other non-invasive procedures but so far none got me better then. 

The docs also ruled out herniated/slipped disc by then, as well as spinal injury, plantar fasciitis and many others. I was later being diagnosed with Idiopathy Neuropathy with suspected Tarsal Tunnel.
But then all the doctors could not determined WHAT caused the neuropathy because there was no injury, I am not diabetic etc. So Idiopathy Neuropathy it was…

(For those not so well-versed in these terms, Neuropathy stands for nerve damage. Docs basically knows I have some form of nerve injury, but they do not know what causes it, thus they don't know how to treat it.)

MRI and CT Scan did find a ganglion cyst behind my knee near my tibial nerve.
The doctors did an extraction of the cyst but symptoms still persisted.

Ganglion Cyst Extraction

In just 2 weeks, my acute pain was no more but my symptoms progressed to intense tingling/pins and needles, numbness, pain, burning, sensitivity and cramps.
All on my right foot sole only. 

This made me not being able to walk as usual (the initial weeks I was confined to only a wheelchair!). And also I couldn't walk far. 
I couldn't drive because it was on my right leg.
I also couldn't sleep too because of the constant 'pain' in my foot. 


My right foot was so sensitive until I couldn’t bear for a blanket to brush through my foot. I would be burning with pain.
I could not step on the floor with my right foot.

I'd also prayed to various ang-kongs, drank burnt 'hu/fu', seen herbalist, done physio etc.
I had such a bad experience in one of the ang-kong trance that I told myself not to go through that again. 😖

The herbalist wrapped up my foot

One of the initial physio session

It was really suffering.
I would lie awake for hours at night, feeling super tired but the pain was keeping up. I had no way to reduce the pain my in foot. 

I am 40+yo then with 3 young kids, and I was devastated. I was in a wheelchair as I couldn’t walk for more than 10 steps.
I couldn’t sleep due to the pain even when I was not walking.

Of course there were good days and bad days.
Some days I was all good. Some days I broke down and cried.
Cried not because of the pain, but because I was feeling so scared.
Scared that I may never be the same again. Scared that I may need to live with this constant pain and being a 'cripple' for the rest of my life.
The scary feeling was really real then, guys. 

My kids were confused why mummy was not getting better even after so many hospital visits.
My house was a mess. My mind was a mess then.

If you had looked at my my right foot, you would find that it looked 'normal' as if nothing was wrong. 
It was like I had this 'invisible' pain that it was difficult for me to describe to someone else.

Tell me, how can you explain to someone that your foot is very sensitive to touch and yet it is numb? 
These 2 sensations are opposing each other, but yet that was how I felt!

I even needed to be on a wheelchair at home - This wheelchair is just outside the toilet waiting for me to finish my business

I was then on strong meds (which I read that besides treating nerve damage, it is to treat epilepsy as well) and also on a nerve supplement. I also took Vit C as well.
Nothing helped much then.

I then started going to a Orthopedic specialised in foot & ankle. He started me on physiotherapy to help with my foot muscles and also to desensitize my super sensitive foot.
I cried to my physiotherapist on my first session there as I was feeling so dejected!😭

I also went for acupuncture session once a week (This was not being referred to by my doc though the doc said it won't harm me in any way and I could give it a try!) 

One of the acupuncture session
Acupuncture with light/heat therapy

And just about a few weeks later, I also went to a new Neurosurgeon (recommended by my Orthopedic). Although she still didn’t know what caused my neuropathy, she recommended me to up my strong meds to TWICE a day.

I was reluctant at first (because I was afraid of being too dependent on it). And also some of the side effects of this medicine is weight gain, brain fog and a lot of others...😱
But I gave it a try anyway.
And I am sure glad I did!

And a few days after I upped my meds dose, I could feel noticeable improvement on my symptoms.
All my symptoms reduced my 50%.
From wheelchair to on a crutch while walking and then progressed to walking without crutch, but still with a slight limping while walking.

And because of the 50% less pains n sensitivity in my foot, I could progress during physio session. I can do more exercises now.
Could not believe that in just 3 months of not walking, my right foot muscles has weakened so much so I needed to build up the strength again.
My physiotherapist then scratched her head on how to build up my foot strength when my foot was so sensitive it couldn't be touched! She said it was her first time encountering a case like mine!😂

I went for physiotherapy sessions once a week. I also continued going for acupuncture every week too. This went on for several months. I don't know which of these two help or maybe both things helped (in addition to my meds of course). But seeing my progress during my physio sessions really boosted my confidence level.

I now can walk up to 10,000 steps a day (ok, I won't be pushing it yet!) although uneven surfaces still make me cringe and I still can’t walk down a steep slope.

However, I still can't jump or run or dance. 
And there are still certain shoes I can't wear. 
But it is OK. 

And about 2 months ago, I started driving again. The feeling of getting of being able to get behind the steering wheel, after 5 months of depending on felt so good!
It was the feeling of freedom and independence!✌

Happy to be behind the steering wheel again after 5 mths

Doctors tell me that they are not too sure how much I can be healed. I may be healed 100% in the future, or it may be that I will only reach to a certain level and may not be all well again as last time.

I am not pain free yet but it is now manageable and I am making progress.
For me to reach to this level, I am extremely grateful...

p/s - I am grateful for my hubs who is my pillar of strength.
And to my sis whom I don't know what I will do without her. 
And to my cuz whom I can share heartfelt conversations with. 

To my fam & friends who are always there checking on me. 
And also to my docs and physiotherapist who helped me in every way they could! 
Thank you so much!

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