Lake Havasu City, AZ
I am a 54 year-old female and have had IgM monoclonal gammopathy for 11 years. It has caused very painful peripheral neuropathy (PN). I take lots of neurontin, which causes forgetfulness and reduces the pain very little. I do not take other pain medication. I had rituxan treatment a few months ago but there's been no improvement so far. I went to Mayo Clinic this year for PN and was diagnosed with leukemia, which is asymptomatic so far.
I've had back pain for 35 years. I have degenerative arthritis in my back and hips and sciatica in one of my legs. The pain has spread to my right elbow, right thumb and neck, which causes headaches. I cannot take vioxx or aspirin (Tylenol does not work for me) since being in hospital last week with inflamed intestines and ulcer near bleeding. It takes 2-3 hours for me to get to sleep because of burning feet (PN). I wake up every hour with pain from arthritis (which is worse while lying down). I do not usually take sleeping medications since they make me feel lousy next day.
I go to an oncologist/hemotologist, neurologist and PCP, and I've been to a pain management clinic. None have helped much with my chronic pain. I think about suicide a lot, but would not do that to my family (so far). My husband said he would understand if I did it. He puts up with so much, helps me in any way and is a great guy. I am afraid to take addictive pain medication for fear of abuse. Most PN patients take them. I use to have a couple of alcoholic drinks at bedtime; it helped me go to sleep. But my ulcer put a stop to that.
Otherwise I am quite healthy (HA HA) and exercise (treadmill) 5 days a week. It is painful and makes the PN really bad for a couple of hours, but I would probably be in a wheelchair by now if I did not do it. I am lucky compared to a lot of people with PN (mostly diabetics).
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WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Jose Pedro Greer, Physician
W.F. Nagle, Physician
Ronda Riebman, Exercise
Cathleen Schilling, Case Manager