Neuropathy and the Impact of Stress

Posted by iceblue @iceblue, Nov 18, 2019

I was diagnosed with Small Fibre Neuropathy only a couple of months ago. I was feeling so good because I was being successfully treated with 300 mg of Gabapentin. Good times!

But it's been a rough week. My brother died on November 16th. This was not totally unexpected as he had so many health problems, but it still took us all by surprise. He's been like a bloody cat over the years – avoiding death over and over and over again despite proclamations from doctors.

So here I am a couple of hundred miles from home – with my mother. Everyone thought it would be a good idea. I'm the oldest, and the child closest from a geographic perspective. But we do NOT have a good base relationship. Add to that, my step-father, a man I haven't been terribly fond of, is dying of cancer. He's in the hospital right now, but is being discharged tomorrow. He is not long for this world – a bed is set up in the living room and they have 24 hour medical care once he's home. Essentially – their home is a hospital right now.

Last night my feet were burning a bit – but not enough to cause concern, just heightened awareness because I have been PAIN FREE for about 6 weeks. But tonight – my feet are on FIRE. Aside from the normal burning, other sharp pains are occurring that I don't remember feeling before in my feet and up my legs. PLUS – my hands and arms have been tingling like crazy in a manner that has never happened before…

So – what I am wondering is: Have others found that intense stress/distress causes a flare in symptoms?

Hi @iceblue, I'm really sorry to hear about the extra stress in your life. I think stress can cause a multitude of problems for different health conditions. I think a person has to take care of themselves first before they can help others including family. I've been in a similar situation and hospice care at home is difficult at best. I'm hoping you can find some relief and support to help. Here's some information on stress related to making neuropathic pain worse and also another article that hopefully provides a coping strategy.

PubMed – Chronic stress exacerbates neuropathic pain via the integration of stress-affect-related information with nociceptive information in the central nucleus of the amygdala: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28225710

Integrative Pain Institute — Seven Ways to Calm a Flare-Up and Stop the Pain
https://www.integrativepainscienceinstitute.com/seven-flare-calm/

Hoping you have a good day…

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@johnbishop

Hi @iceblue, I'm really sorry to hear about the extra stress in your life. I think stress can cause a multitude of problems for different health conditions. I think a person has to take care of themselves first before they can help others including family. I've been in a similar situation and hospice care at home is difficult at best. I'm hoping you can find some relief and support to help. Here's some information on stress related to making neuropathic pain worse and also another article that hopefully provides a coping strategy.

PubMed – Chronic stress exacerbates neuropathic pain via the integration of stress-affect-related information with nociceptive information in the central nucleus of the amygdala: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28225710

Integrative Pain Institute — Seven Ways to Calm a Flare-Up and Stop the Pain
https://www.integrativepainscienceinstitute.com/seven-flare-calm/

Hoping you have a good day…

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@iceblue, @johnbishop, @artscaping, What a challenge for you @iceblue to regain your focus on your health. What a great article @johnbishop emphasizing absolutely essential steps to manage flare-ups or other pain that is stress-related.

It does require some effort. Keep a journal. Develop tested workarounds for known stress hurdles. At first glance, it seems like a lot of work. It is essential for us to do if we want to stay in control of our bodies.

Years ago, my colleagues and I were talking with clients about the limitations we have to fight stress. At that time, we were stating that you cannot stack more than 2 stress hurdles at a time. In your situation…. the first stressor is your brother's passing….you have acknowledged your feelings and grief and will begin to treasure memories Then stressor #2, caregiver for your mother. You may need counseling or clinician support to establish some workable boundaries but you can do this. Stressor #3, your stepfather. That overloads the wagon and your pain will let you know how weighty this extra load actually is.

You can't expect to come up breathing in a world of no pain if you pile a move, and a new job on top of a bad relationship, etc. Maybe I need to be open enough to share my battle scars. Last year, I was a caregiver for my life partner as he went through seven weeks of radiation treatment during which time, we were in Rochester. I did pretty well and kept my small fiber neuropathy quiet by finding a distraction: checking out the amazing art on all 19 floors of the Gonda Bldg at Mayo Clinic.

Unexpectedly, I found out my house had sold after only one week and the close was scheduled for 4 days after the radiation treatments ended. I'm beginning to get a little busy with details and a little buzzy in the head with needle-like pain. I begin to notice that my hands, wrists, and arms are more painful every day…or the pain begins sooner.

Finally, I flew back, signed papers and felt nothing….no sadness….just relief. Then came the overloaded wagon…..I had to say goodbye to twenty years of friends. My heart was breaking because I knew that at 77 years of age, the likelihood that I would see them again was fading.

How can we help you map your journey to ward off stress in your immediate future? How can adjustments be made in your personal boundaries? Do you practice yoga or mindful meditation? You are already strong, so may you be safe and protected. Chris

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@artscaping

@iceblue, @johnbishop, @artscaping, What a challenge for you @iceblue to regain your focus on your health. What a great article @johnbishop emphasizing absolutely essential steps to manage flare-ups or other pain that is stress-related.

It does require some effort. Keep a journal. Develop tested workarounds for known stress hurdles. At first glance, it seems like a lot of work. It is essential for us to do if we want to stay in control of our bodies.

Years ago, my colleagues and I were talking with clients about the limitations we have to fight stress. At that time, we were stating that you cannot stack more than 2 stress hurdles at a time. In your situation…. the first stressor is your brother's passing….you have acknowledged your feelings and grief and will begin to treasure memories Then stressor #2, caregiver for your mother. You may need counseling or clinician support to establish some workable boundaries but you can do this. Stressor #3, your stepfather. That overloads the wagon and your pain will let you know how weighty this extra load actually is.

You can't expect to come up breathing in a world of no pain if you pile a move, and a new job on top of a bad relationship, etc. Maybe I need to be open enough to share my battle scars. Last year, I was a caregiver for my life partner as he went through seven weeks of radiation treatment during which time, we were in Rochester. I did pretty well and kept my small fiber neuropathy quiet by finding a distraction: checking out the amazing art on all 19 floors of the Gonda Bldg at Mayo Clinic.

Unexpectedly, I found out my house had sold after only one week and the close was scheduled for 4 days after the radiation treatments ended. I'm beginning to get a little busy with details and a little buzzy in the head with needle-like pain. I begin to notice that my hands, wrists, and arms are more painful every day…or the pain begins sooner.

Finally, I flew back, signed papers and felt nothing….no sadness….just relief. Then came the overloaded wagon…..I had to say goodbye to twenty years of friends. My heart was breaking because I knew that at 77 years of age, the likelihood that I would see them again was fading.

How can we help you map your journey to ward off stress in your immediate future? How can adjustments be made in your personal boundaries? Do you practice yoga or mindful meditation? You are already strong, so may you be safe and protected. Chris

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John – thank you for the links. I will read the articles.

Chris – thank you for sharing your story.

I have become pretty good at self-care in my old age. This experience threw me for a loop though – and I think I made a decision based on what others felt was appropriate even though I felt that it would be risky at best and came here reluctantly.

After posting on this site last night I realized there IS something I could do: I contacted my husband and arranged for him to come and get me on Tuesday (tomorrow).

My step-father was brought home from the hospital an hour ago. The house has once again become a mini hospital. Mom is obviously VERY comfortable with this situation and with the medical staff, as it's been going on for over a year. I have no doubt that she will be well cared for – and will likely do a better job of grieving with the care aids (who she considers to be friends) than she will with me. People who come from healthy families will not understand these dynamics – but that's OK.

The single most relaxing thing I do is sew (which includes machine embroidery), but of course – all of my sewing projects are at home. I have really been missing them. I also do yoga – or some reasonable facsimile thereof. Then of course, there is simply the comfort of being in my own home, and in the company of my husband.

I am sharing a couple of the projects I've completed in the past year for your viewing pleasure. I kept the pillow but the rest of the items have been gifted.

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@iceblue – very sorry to hear about your brother's passing. You do indeed have a lot to deal with right now with that plus relating to your mom and your stepfather's health.

I would like to also bring into this conversation @kathrina @lioness @budmeister @tigreyes2004 @sherryw, all of whom may have some input on the impact of stress on neuropathy.

Have you found anything that helps with the feet on fire and the tingling you talked about?

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@lisalucier

@iceblue – very sorry to hear about your brother's passing. You do indeed have a lot to deal with right now with that plus relating to your mom and your stepfather's health.

I would like to also bring into this conversation @kathrina @lioness @budmeister @tigreyes2004 @sherryw, all of whom may have some input on the impact of stress on neuropathy.

Have you found anything that helps with the feet on fire and the tingling you talked about?

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Thank you Lisa. The only remedy available to me is Tylenol with Codeine (T1's and T3's) , and I made use of them yesterday. They do help, but I was taking so many of them every day prior to the Gabapentin and I don't want to get back on that wheel again. I also removed myself from the living room when they brought my stepfather home from the hospital. They have a separate sitting room, so I made myself at home there. Believe me – even though it is mere feet away it is a much more peaceful room.

My mother and I had a good calm, healthy talk (our first in 4 days) last night – and during that conversation she admitted that she 'can't feel anything'. I told her I was not surprised because she has so much going on, and I suspect that after her husband dies she will grieve them both. I also told her that it appears she really does not need me to support her right now, but I DO need the time to grieve my brother and I cannot do it here. She understood that. So thankfully we will part on good terms with a better understanding of each other's needs.

The question is: Will going home be enough to sooth the nerves in my feet? I will let you know…

REPLY
@iceblue

Thank you Lisa. The only remedy available to me is Tylenol with Codeine (T1's and T3's) , and I made use of them yesterday. They do help, but I was taking so many of them every day prior to the Gabapentin and I don't want to get back on that wheel again. I also removed myself from the living room when they brought my stepfather home from the hospital. They have a separate sitting room, so I made myself at home there. Believe me – even though it is mere feet away it is a much more peaceful room.

My mother and I had a good calm, healthy talk (our first in 4 days) last night – and during that conversation she admitted that she 'can't feel anything'. I told her I was not surprised because she has so much going on, and I suspect that after her husband dies she will grieve them both. I also told her that it appears she really does not need me to support her right now, but I DO need the time to grieve my brother and I cannot do it here. She understood that. So thankfully we will part on good terms with a better understanding of each other's needs.

The question is: Will going home be enough to sooth the nerves in my feet? I will let you know…

Jump to this post

@iceblue, Thank you for sharing this episode in your journey. Will be thinking about you ….check in as you learn more about your feet. Be free of suffering today. Chris

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