Sleep Ambivalence, Part 2

I first discussed suffering from Sleep Ambivalence here:

I’m sure there’s a lot more to my problems of not being able to fall and stay asleep than I discussed in that post, and for this post, I’ll talk about one more.

I’ve had numerous MRIs, listed here:

My pain doctor ordered the last ones I had taken, and although I received a report with each MRI indicating what was found, I had to see another specialist to discuss my options for treatment.  ($$$$$$$)  For my cervical spine MRIs, I saw two different neurologists.

The first specialist only talked about the option of surgery, which would include fusing together the vertebrae in my neck.  (Maybe this guy was a neurosurgeon, not a neurologist — I’ve seen so many doctors, I just can’t remember.)  Since I already have a limited range of motion in my neck, that didn’t sound like a good idea to me.  After giving me the details of this kind of surgery (but none of the risks or likely outcomes), he asked me when I wanted to schedule the procedure. He looked at his appointment book and said he could do it within the next couple of days…

And I thought I needed a second opinion.

The second specialist I saw was recommended to me by an attorney I used to work for, and I don’t think the doctor would have seen me without this connection.  This doctor actually looked at my MRI films and read the reports.  He asked me if I had numbness in my hands and feet, and I said it was intermittent, but not constant.  So he said that he would not recommend surgery at this point, but when the numbness became constant, to come back and see him.

It was about 3 or 4 years ago when I had an episode of constant numbness in my left arm.  I woke up one day and was unable to move it.  After a few days, the feeling in my arm started to come back, but it took a couple of weeks for it to fully return. I assume this was due to my degenerative disk disease and also spinal stenosis, which back in 2009, was listed as “mild.”

No, I didn’t see a doctor during or after this episode, because all they can do for it is surgery. And since my TMJ surgery just made my pain worse, and surgery is a major trauma on the body (including on the neurons that produce pain), I’m not interested in being cut on again.

While the numbness in my hands and feet have increased as the years go by, it is still not constant. However, I can’t stay in one position for very long or the tingling and numbness gets worse.

This is another reason why I have trouble falling asleep — not only do I have to find a position that doesn’t cause this numbness to get worse, but I also have the fear that I’ll move into a position while I’m asleep that will result in the loss of feeling in one of my extremities.  That I’ll wake up and not be able to move an arm or a leg.

And to top it all off, this numbness doesn’t decrease the pain, as you might think, since most of my pain is in my head.  But also, the tingly feeling of numbness is quite uncomfortable and often painful, which is the symptom doctors call neuropathy (which just means nerve pain).  When I had access to medical cannabis, the neuropathy wasn’t as bad, and the episodes didn’t last as long.

Oddly enough, I also have spots of intermittent tingling in my head.  I don’t know if my head could ever become completely numb, like my arm did, but I don’t think so.  However, if that happens, maybe then the pain will finally decrease.  (Just wishful thinking on my part.)

As always, thanks for reading my ramblings. 🙂

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