The Delusional Optimist Returns: A Flicker of Hope

Back in the mid-90s was when I started having some signs of complications. In 1995, I had an upper GI that showed slow stomach emptying – at the time, I didn’t realize that I had the beginning stages of gastroparesis. In 1995 and 1996, I also had a lot of laser surgery for retinopathy. During that same time period, I started getting neuropathy in my feet that got progressively worse.

Sadly, it took going on disability in 2005 that gave me the time to get online and find the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). It was late 2007 when I first found the DOC. By the time that happened, my neuropathy was so bad that I had to use a walker to get around. In 2006, I had stitches put in my foot without needing to be numbed. I had zero feeling in my feet up to almost my knees.

When I found the DOC, I not only learned tips on how to manage my blood sugar, I found hope that my neuropathy could be reversed some day. There were articles posted about nerve regeneration and discussions that followed. One very interesting discussion was how our mitochondria can take 2-3 years to reach our feetin a person of average height. And of course, most of them get killed off on the journey from our spine to our feet.

Yesterday I had an appointment at the wound center. Because I had left and then decided to go back again, I was treated as a new patient and had to go thru the health screening part for a new patient. The nurse practitioner joked about having to do the filament testing – she knew that I had zero feeling in my feet but was supposed to do it as part of the process.

I was expecting to fall asleep when I had my eyes closed because I had very little sleep the night before. I certainly wasn’t expecting what happened: I felt a vibration!I think I shocked the NP when I said that. It took a minute to find the spot again but I felt it again! She asked if it was on the top of my foot or the bottom – I said top and it was the bottom, but I felt a vibration!

That was my bad foot and she did it on my good foot. There was a spot there also! That one was not as strong as the other foot, but I still felt a vibration!

I can’t remember exactly when I stopped feeling those things, but I know it was pre-2003. In 2003, I had changed both jobs and doctors and everything was going downhill fast. I know that I had no feeling in my feet at that time and that was when the neuropathy also started moving up my leg faster. Because we are only a few weeks away from 2013, I think it is safe to say that it has been over 10 years since I felt anything in my feet!

I had some mitochondria survive the trek from my spine down to my feet! It is only one spot on each foot, but I felt the vibration! It is the first sign that I have had that yes, there is a chance that my neuropathy is going to reverse. I know it is only one little spot on each foot, but I believe that the process has started and my neuropathy is going to reverse. I know it is a very slow process, but it is going to happen – the first mitochondria to survive that journey made a path for the others to follow. I know that eventually I am going to be able to walk without my walker again. Mark my words, but I not only plan on walking without my walker, I am going to run again!

I know that I am the one that had to put the effort in, but I never would have been able to see this day without the DOC. You guys gave me the knowledge to do it, the support along the way, the encouragement to keep going when I got discouraged, and there to help me get back up when I fall. Thank you DOC!

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Comment by MegaMinxX on December 8, 2012 at 5:09pm

Awesome ! Your glass is definitely half-full, and slowly but surely filling back up ! Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Kelly WPA on December 8, 2012 at 5:23pm

Thanks MegaMinx!

Comment by Clare on December 8, 2012 at 5:37pm

Wow Kelly, that is awe inspiring, and I feel exactly as you do about how much the DOC has enriched and strengthened by life and my knowlege about how to better manage my D and hopefully help others along the way. While I have been very lucky avoiding complications to this point in time I realize how tenuous that line is between an uncomplicated life and the next micro-albumin or dilated pupil exam.I wish you good health and a return of more than just a tiny vibration but am thrilled with that for you.

Comment by Betty J on December 8, 2012 at 6:20pm

Congrats!! I know how you felt I had that revelation a few years ago when taking a shower and when I cut off the water, not quite cutting the hot off fast enough. I was able to feel the hot water I realized I had done it and had feeling back in my feet and have had it since then. For many years my feet had been numb, can't quite remember how long I had been that way....keep doing what you've been doing.

Comment by Teowyn on December 9, 2012 at 6:32am

Congratulations! That's wonderful news for you.

Comment by Brian (bsc) on December 9, 2012 at 1:20pm

Sometimes we can try so hard to control our blood sugars and it just doesn't seem to make a difference. Thanks for reminding us that we can make a huge difference and giving us hope.

Comment by Mike on December 10, 2012 at 1:49pm

You're an inspiration, Kelly. Thanks for sharing this.

Comment by Doris D on December 11, 2012 at 9:59am

glad to hear it Kelly!!! U go girl!!!!

Comment by _Danny_ on May 16, 2014 at 8:32pm
Hope all is well in your life Kelly.

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