Hyponatremia and Central Pontine Myelinolysis

What is hyponatremia? Information regarding CPM and EPM.

Archive for the tag “epm”

Reversal Of Demyelination in CPM/EPM/ODS

Hello Everyone!

This is it, a new exciting opportunity for possibly reversing the damage caused by Central Pontine Myelinolysis (Osmotic Demyelination Syndrome), and Extra Pontine Myelinolysis.

I was contacted late last week by Dr. James Yarger with ENDECE biopharmaceutical company. He is researching potential drugs to rebuild damaged myelin sheaths due to Multiple Sclerosis, Central Pontine Myelinolysis and Extra Pontine Myelinolysis.

This is the most promising opportunity for those of us who have suffered from CPM/EPM.  The company is looking for interested participants to try the drugs.

The potential to regain any of our health is a magnificent prospect.

If you are interested in finding out more, I would highly encourage you to reach out to Dr. Yarger.

http://endece.com

You scroll to the bottom of the page to “contact”

Or click:  http://endece.com/contact/

I can not guarantee that this will work, but after years of researching CPM/EPM, this is the only option that we have been given for treatment beyond the first few weeks post injury.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

God Bless!

Advertisements

Alternative Treatments for CPM/EPM and Brain Injury:

Hi, there.  I hope all is well, and moving forward for you.

I wanted to include this information from my friend, Adam. I have not researched this product or group myself, so I can’t account for what it says, but it seems like if it does everything that they promote it does, this could be a HUGE step in Brain Injury recovery and prevention of degeneration.

This is from the information that he sent me. It really sounds promising:

I am having a little trouble posting on your blog. Tried to post this
Actually the product I am referring to is at GNC Anatabloc. It has anatabine in it.

See also www.anatabloc.com You can see testimonials all over the internet.
www.gnc.com for one

My sister with lupus and diabetes, my neice with thyroid problems, a friend with MS and 100 other people I know are taking.

Controls and attacks inflammation. See brain studies.

TBI is traumatic brain injury
TBI

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80,000 people in the United States suffer long-term disability from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) annually. Roskamp Institute scientists conducted a research study of TBI and control mice by administering a-natabine to measure its effectiveness for recovery from injury using scientific accepted methods. TBI mice treated with a placebo and the sham (untreated) mice recovered at a similar rate with deteriorated motor and cognitive functions. The a-natabine treated mice however had a significant recovery the researchers believe, by inhibiting inflation and reducing amyloid production. To quote the published research paper; “A-natabine treatment appeared to completely prevent the loss of spatial memory retention following severe TBI. Further study of this promising treatment is warranted and will include treatment in a mild closed head injury model as well as long term outcome from injury. Dietary supplementation for reducing secondary injury after TBI offers an easy path to clinical application and simplifies the administration of the therapeutic.” This pathological information warrant further studies with ongoing research in exploring other models of TBI using anatabine.

Alzheimer’s disease

Research study findings by Roskamp Institute were presented at Neuroscience 2012 about the impact of a-natabine in treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes problems with memory and behavior due to the increasing death of nerve cells in the brain. Most scientists, supported by research done at Roskamp Institute, agree that excessive amyloid plaque buildup (Abeta peptides) and neurofibrillary tangles (twisted protein fibers named tau) are directly related to the brain nerve cell loss. Data from the study using a well-known mouse model of AD shows that a-natabine treated mice have a significant reduction in the accumulation of plaque in the brain as compared to the control population. Scientists believe this occurs because a-natabine reduces or regulates human neuronal like protein BACE-1 (the rate limiting enzyme responsible for Abeta production). Cognitive tests of an ongoing investigation of a-natabine treated mice show greater cerebral functions and improved abilities as compared to the non-treated sample. Data from the study also show a-natabine’s anti-inflammatory results. A-natabine reduces neuroinflammation and STAT3 phosphorylation in the brain of transgenic AD mice. Additional research is warranted based upon results of this study regarding the potential benefit of a-natabine in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

http://www.rfdn.org/inflammaging.html

Here is a summary of the important research done at the Roskamp Institute.

http://www.mullanalzheimer.com/livesite/

http://www.rfdn.org/ms_anatabine.html

A quote re the peer reviewed study from Dr. Michael Mullan, the CEO and President of the Roskamp Institute, “Anatabine continues to demonstrate widespread anti-inflammatory properties in a broad array of pre-clinical models. Given the commonality of inflammatory systems in rodents and humans, there’s much reason to expect that anatabine will demonstrate similar properties in humans. In fact, the team went on to demonstrate that in human blood inflamed with LPS, the presence of anatabine dramatically dampened the inflammatory response, a result also included in the paper.”

After consulting with my cousin, the product that they recommend for inflammation is Neprinol. The difference between the product that Adam is recommending and Neprinol, is that Neprinol actually eats away at scar tissue. It dissolves it. The product that Adam is discussing, prevents inflammation. It makes me think that these two products combined could be a super healing combo for everything from arthritis to brain injury.

I will try to research these products more to find out what validity that they have or what the current research is describing, but these natural remedies tend to hit the market decades before mainstream medicine begins to manufacture information. For instance, my Aunt has been promoting the benefits of probiotics since the early 1980’s. Now, almost every doctor recommends probiotics after you finish an antibiotic. It is key in recovering a good GI system.

 

The Stages:

It’s been hard the past few months, and I think that shows in my “personal” posts. I’ve been told by some that I’ve been a bit negative about what I’m going through. I’ve been told by others that I’m depressed.

It is really hard to live through what I’ve lived through, and I found out that all of those things that I’ve experienced are normal.  For those of you who might now be used to going through difficult times in your life, having CPM/EPM might be a slap in the face. I’ve gone through really difficult times, and it was still a slap in the face for me. It seems that most people tend to not quite understand everything you are experiencing, so I thought this post would be dedicated to getting a better grasp on what to expect. It’s  not just what your significant other might live through, but it’s the steps or processes that you might live through too.

I think once you get on the other side of this process, then you can really start to live the rest of your life as it is now or prepare for the future. I want to stress that these steps do not have any specific order. They are NOT an exact science. You might experience one of these steps. You might experience all of these steps. You might live in a cycle of these steps. There’s no guarantee, but I hope it helps you understand what to expect and gives you a few resources on how to cope with it.

You are your own person, so don’t expect anyone to try to identify what you are living through. They can’t know what you are living through, but it’s important to understand that they are living with or around you and because they love you, seeing you in pain will give them pain of their own.

They aren’t trying to make your life miserable, so try to be patient. They are doing the best that they can to give you the support that you need, but it isn’t easy for them. You will find that they will go these same stages too because it is a trauma to their life just in a different way.

I hope that makes sense.

The stages are known as the five stages of death, but it’s actually a more accurate way to describe as the five stages of trauma. In other words, it’s classically known as the five stages of death and dying, but you will find that people live through these same stages when ever there is a major impact to their life…loss of a limb, brain injury, loss of a job, an end to a relationship, terminal illness, etc.

The five stages:

Denial.

Anger.

Bargaining.

Depression.

Acceptance.

For me, I don’t think I went through denial. I think I went into shock and fear. I didn’t understand fully what having CPM/EPM meant. I could recite the worst possible scenarios that could happen, and I felt lucky after I passed through the first 12 weeks without dying, but I was still scared because there is that unknown.

I really didn’t want to make adjustments to my routines because I really thought in time things would get better. Maybe that was denial, but my doctors gave me the hope that I would recover in a year or so, and that I would see major improvements in that time. I did experience huge improvements in the first 12 weeks, even in 6 to 9 months, but now things have leveled off, and I believe in things like memory they are getting worse. So, I don’t know if that’s denial.  I had different expectations.

I definitely experienced anger. I am still experiencing anger. I have to say there are days that I will get in the shower and cry. Yes, I know it’s strange to cry in the shower, but it is one of the few times where I can be alone..no kids, no puppy, no phone calls, and I have time to focus on what I am going through. And what I am going through sucks. It sucks. So, this morning, I was thinking about how this stupid doctor screwed up my treatment for something that EVERY doctor is supposed to know how to treat, and now I am going through SO much stress and anxiety. All I wanted to do was be a doctor, and there was no guarantee that it would happen, but I had made it so far through so much, and so I become extremely ANGRY. Yes, I am. I am hurt and because I am so hurt, I am angry. That doctor will go to sleep tonight and he may only think about what he is going to do this weekend. Is he going to fall asleep tonight and think about how I lost my life? No, probably not.

It’s stressful living this life. It’s hard right now, and I have no idea what I am going to do with my future or how much of a future I have. And so Anger is something that I am learning to live with but that anger comes from the pain and hurt over what has happened to me. I just want to go back to being normal and I can’t.

Bargaining, well I’ve begun to do that. I was in Chicago a few weeks ago, and I found an Irish vendor. It was basically Irish and Catholic trinkets of all kind. I went through the medals of all the saints, and I found the medal of St. Jude. St. Jude is the saint of lost causes, especially when dealing with health issues. So, I had to get the medal. I had to wear it daily. It didn’t take long for me to lose it. I have no idea what I did with it. But, it’s really sad because even though I haven’t stepped inside a church (except for a recent baptism and wedding) in YEARS, I had to buy this medal of St. Jude and wear it and pray with all my heart: Please let me get better. Please let my legal issues work out. Please let me get better. I will help the poor, post an article in the newspaper. Whatever, I can do to fix this I will do it.

I had no idea that this was all “normal” for what I was going through. I mean I think I went through something similar while I was in the hospital. It was a: please don’t let me die, kind of prayer.  It was a scary time, but the only thing I did was pray a bit. It wasn’t the same as when I bought and wore a St. Jude medal recently. It wasn’t until that point that I really started the bargaining: if you make me better, I will……

Heck, if you ask anyone, including me, you’ll understand that I’ve been dealing with depression. I think it goes hand in hand with the anger, hurt, and frustration. It’s a slap in the face when you’re told to just be patient that things can get better, but then you hit a stagnant point. This just haven’t moved, and I don’t have any patience. I really don’t.

It is depressing facing the fact that you are not like other people. Your life has changed, and it’s not for the better. You are facing so many bad circumstances and you have no control over it. How are you going to be able to live the rest of you life like this? Are you going to be able to watch your children get older? You might be facing unemployment or financial uncertainty or be dependent upon friends and family to just do the basic things in your life.

This is depressing.

Eventually, you will move to acceptance. This is one of the more peaceful stages of your trauma. You start to realize that your life has changed and that there isn’t much that you can do to control the situation. It isn’t right. It isn’t fair, but you can not move beyond the other steps until you reach this one. And it can’t just be a process of saying that you are hurt or listing the horrible way the injury has impacted your life. You have to get to a point where you actually feel and accept the injury.

Literally for the past year, I have been very vocal about my experience and how it has changed my life, but that didn’t mean that I accepted what was going on with me personally. I was in denial about how permanent these changes are. I still hold out hope that things will get better, but I’ve come to accept that I will NEVER be the same person. I have been changed, physically, mentally, emotionally by my experiences. I have come to accept that I will have to write things down to make sure I can track how much I’ve spent. I will have to label places around my house and make a conscious effort to keep placing things where they belong. I will have to trust my son when he tells me that he didn’t take money from my purse or the cashier when she tells me that I received the correct change.

IT IS EXTREMELY HARD FOR ME TO DO THIS. EXTREMELY. I’m an unbelievably independent person. I’ve always had an unbelievable memory that I took for granted. I’ve never had to label things, etc. But now I am accepting that those changes have to be made, and I will have to commit myself to doing them.

It’s hard. It’s not fair. It sucks. I shouldn’t have to do it. I’m still very angry about it. It’s depressing, but I am going to have to accept it, learn to live with it and adjust or I will never be able to move past it, and I’m ready to move past it.

I really hope you find support in this post. I would have never realized that these steps are a process, and keep in mind that with any major change in your life just because you go through the cycle of these steps once doesn’t mean that you won’t go through them again.

Take care 🙂

Just another day:

Hello All!

I’m sorry it has been so long since my last post. I have a million excuses as to why, but none of them are really good. I’ll give them to you anyway: I wasn’t home. I’ve been busy. My hands keep cramping. I have the attention span of a gnat. I have lost my train of thought on what to blog about next.

Okay, so some of those might be good reasons.

So, what’s happening with me?

It’s almost 10 months since I developed hyponatremia and subsequent myelinolysis! I can’t believe it’s almost been a year.

I have to say that some of my more concerning symptoms, mainly the speech issues, have become significantly better. Oh, I’m not going to pretend that I’m completely back to normal, but from where I was to now, there’s been a dramatic and miraculous improvement. I am extremely grateful. It gives me a new appreciation for people who live with speech impairments. They say people first judge you on how you look, but the very next thing is how you speak.

Despite the fact that I work at Victoria’s Secret Catalog, I do not have an extraordinary fashion sense…well, I do have a pretty good fashion sense, I just don’t have the financial means to support it. So, the fact that my almost everyday ensemble consists of jeans, a tee shirt, and a pair of worn out Asics sneakers, probably doesn’t scream fashion guru or speak volumes about who I am as a person, that means that the way I speak probably has a little bit more influence on people’s opinion of who I am.

This means the more that I stutter, stammer, and trip over my thoughts, combined with the super sloppy, casual wardrobe choices that I can afford might lead a person to suspect, I’m slightly retarded.

Previous to my impairment, I had the ability to impress people with my wit and vocabulary fluency.  I was viewed as more of a nerd who didn’t need to worry about fashion because I had more important things to be concerned with than wardrobe choices.

Ok, so to prove my point…it has taken more than 30 minutes to write this. This isn’t an epic story. It’s not even utterly brilliant. It’s just an explanation of my speech issues. My mind skips like an old vinyl record.

I will literally go from thinking about what I want to write, to trying to find the words that I want to use, to trying to convey what I mean in a way that makes sense to everyone else.

It is so freaking frustrating!!

It really is, and if you have CPM/EPM, than you might understand exactly what I’m describing. If you have a brain injury or learning disability, you might also understand. It’s not WHAT you know or understand, it’s an inability to express what you know and understand.

See, just writing this jogged my memory; I wanted to continue to write about brain injuries and how to find support through the Brain Injury Association.

So, now, I’m thinking…I should be writing about the BIA, but this is the wrong place to write about the BIA. I need to stay focused and try to regain a sense of this post.

Getting back to my original topic…my speech has improved, but I still have ongoing issues, especially when I’m nervous. I would have to say my biggest obstacles are the movement issues (tremors, jerks, spasms and cramps), and cognitive deficits (learning impediments, memory problems, attention problems, and recall).

The movement issues aren’t extreme.  I mean a person with late onset Parkinson’s has greater issues than I do. Some person’s with CPM/EPM have greater issues than I do. (I’m going to post a few YouTube videos to demonstrate my point), but I still have movement issues.

Right now, I am having a hard time keeping my left hand steady enough to type. My left thumb keeps twitching rapidly. It’s so annoying. I can’t do anything to stop it. Then it becomes painful. I really have lost function in my abilities to do certain things.

I was at the Columbus Zoo several weeks ago, and I tried to make a video of a leopard stalking an unexpecting rabbit that had wandered into its cage. After about five minutes, I was unable to hold my cell phone up to take the video, my arms were cramping so badly that I couldn’t hold the camera.

These movement issues are getting worse. I am not certain as to why. I know that some people who have experienced damage to the basal ganglia have late onset movement issues with dystonia and Parkinson’s like tremors. I am 90% certain that this is what I’m experiencing.

However, I have autoimmune issues, and I have to wonder if my autoimmune issues are contributing to the neurological manifestations of EPM.

I have a feeling that it will be extremely difficult to get an answer to this, but if I do find out more, I will keep you posted.

The other new symptom that has become apparent is autonomia. I’m not sure if I’m classifying this correctly. It’s actually a dysfunction in your autonomic nervous system. There has been reports of having irregularities in heart rate, blood pressure, central nervous system caused sleep apnea, etc.

When I had my sleep study (after diagnosed with EPM), I had one instance of central nervous system induced sleep apnea. I had taken ambien and I think that influenced my study because I did sleep better than what I normally do, but I do not know if it would make central nervous system induced sleep apnea better or worse.

I had issues prior to EPM with tachycardia. My heart rate has now become extremely erratic. I will have a pulse varying from 45 to 116. Literally, I will watch my pulse go from 59, 65, 80, 95, and then drop back to 50 in 10 to 20 second intervals.

My EKG has also shown “new” abnormalities.

The abnormalities in my EKG appeared when I was seeking treatment for EPM before I had an official diagnosis.  I’m almost 100% certain that EPM caused the change in my EKG.

I hope to get further testing that might be able to determine if my issues are being caused by my autonomic nervous system, but it most likely won’t occur until July or August. I will keep you posted.

I have to say one of the most positive experiences I’ve had recently is meeting with my cognitive therapist.

I am seeing Angela C with Kettering Medical Center, Kettering Ohio. I can’t say enough about this person. She has offered me hope for the first time in my recovery.

She completely understands what I’m experiencing, and that is refreshing both physically and mentally. Trust me, not all of the doctors I’ve seen in the past 1o months have been supportive or understanding. Angela gets it. She KNOWS where my deficits are. She understands that I was bright before my injury and that I was inspiring to be a doctor, and she is working with me to manage the deficits that I have to navigate around them to learn ways to succeed.

I am really excited to be working with her! I highly recommend that if you are experiencing any type of brain injury or even ADHD or ADD to  find a cognitive therapist to help teach you techniques so that you can become more successful.

One thing that Angela has stressed that I want to share: Be kind to yourself! It’s easy for me to criticize myself when I hit a wall, when I can’t think of a word, or when I become distracted for the 100th time in an hour. She’s teaching me to not beat myself up over it. The more I stress over these mistakes the more I derail myself.

The other thing I’ve been working on: breathing. Yep, I really didn’t know how much I tend to hold on to things when I’m not exhaling. I’m great at inhaling, but exhaling..well, I’ve got to practice. More importantly, breathe in deeply through your nose and exhale loudly and completely through pursed lips…a slow, steady exhale. It really does help.

SO, there you have it folks. I’ve discussed the physical and mental issues that I’m experiencing with EPM at the 10 month point.

I hope it helps 🙂

Have a great night, and feel free to contact me with any questions!!!

Oh, yes the videos…click below to see some of the videos of CPM, EPM issues. Keep in mind, I think these are extremes. My movement issues pale in comparison. I’ll post a few of my movement videos in the future.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnvcSGj7vY8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58jik7RgZzs&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-_xNbZ5ef8&feature=related

March 19, 2012

Today has been one crazy day. I woke up in the middle of the night last night with an unbelievable sense that I needed to vomit, but I was extremely tired, so I rolled back over and went to sleep.

I swear that is what happened, but I can’t remember for certain because it feels like it might have been a dream.

I’m just not sure.

I woke up this morning with this nagging abdominal pain, and I contemplated going to the ER for it. I literally thought, “Wow, I haven’t been to the hospital in awhile. Maybe I should go.”

Now to be fair to myself, this abdominal pain has been coming and going for the past several weeks, probably a month or longer. I truly can’t remember for certain, but it’s been a long time and it’s just gotten to be horrible. Not because it’s excruciating, but because it’s continuous and random.

It’s so freaking frustrating to the point of where you would love to cut your abdomen open with a butter knife and dig around in that spot to take whatever it is that’s causing it out.

I’ve never had a toothache, but I’m really certain it would be like that. This deep throbbing, aching pain.

SO to have that continuously happen and then to awaken from a dead sleep with extreme nausea, well, I thought maybe today would be a good day to spend at the ER….but I didn’t go.

No, I couldn’t bring myself to spend at least 3 hours or more sitting in an uncomfortable, being prodded with needles to only be told, “we can’t figure out the problem. You aren’t dying, so here’s some pain meds. Follow up with your doctor tomorrow and come back if it gets worse.”

Instead, I decided to WALK to a nearby park with my 6 month old puppy and 3 year old daughter. The park is only a mile away or just over, but it seemed to be 3 or 4 miles at least. My daughter loved it. The puppy actually loved it, and I felt proud of myself for doing it. And then I made it back home and crashed for an hour before I had to leave for work.

Here’s the thing..this was a really crazy thing to do. I mean I didn’t feel well, and my poor puppy literally plopped on to the ground and refused to walk further about a block into the walk, so I had to start carrying her. She’s pretty small, maybe 6 pounds. I carried her for about a block but then my hand and arm started cramping.

It started as a dull ache and it built to this fairly excruciating pain. My arm became stiff and sore. The cramping became intense to the point that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to extend my arm. The same type of feeling was moving through my hips and right leg as well.

I wondered if it is all related. Is the abdominal pain, the nausea, the cramping all being caused by the same problem? I’ve had the cramping in my hands and feet for months now, but this is becoming a daily problem, and it’s becoming so severe that I wonder what I’m going to do in the future. How am I going to get past this?

So if you add this to the abdominal pain, the ER sounded like the right call this morning, but I didn’t go.

I’m certain that none of the doctors in that are in the local hospitals will be able to figure this out. I don’t know if it’s related to EPM. I don’t know if it’s related to one of my autoimmune issues. I don’t know if it’s purely random.

The only thing I do know is that this these issues are not getting better. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know how I’m going to live past it.

I guess it’s like everything else. You do it one step at a time.

It’s just like the walk I went on this afternoon. I was very much like my poor puppy. By the time we got to the end of the parking lot, my hips were cramping. By the time we got a block away, I felt like I could join the puppy, sprawled on the sidewalk, four legs to four corners and wait for someone to come and pick us up. I actually contemplated calling a friend to come and get us, but I kept saying to myself, “we’re almost there. we can do this.”

We didn’t make record time, but that’s okay. It wasn’t a race. Eventually, we’ll get to where we’re going. It’s all a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, and when things suddenly start to get more difficult, we keep on going because we can.

Don’t worry if you start to lag behind a little. I’ll walk beside you.

 

A new MRI for identifying brain injuries:

Did you know that in it wasn’t until 1843 that a physician linked having dirty hands to passing infections?

Click the following link to learn more regarding the history of hand washing: http://www.accessexcellence.org/AE/AEC/CC/hand_background.php

Originally, hysteria was categorized as an ailment that inflicted women after having babies. It apparently caused a host of symptoms such as, “anxiety, nervousness, fullness in the lower abdomen, erotic fantasies, paralytic states and fainting…”

Until the mid 1800’s to early 1900’s, it was believed that a woman experienced these issues because her uterus was “floating” around her body and choking her. Doctors treated it by causing orgasms in women. This was an actual selling point for vibrators. They “cured” hysteria. Use the following link to learn more, http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/4/904.full

So, what’s my point? Modern medicine and treatments are NEW. We know more about the human body and health than what our ancestors did, but there is still so much we need to learn, discover and understand.

This post is dedicated to a new technology that is in process to help those with minor and major brain injuries. This new advancement is promising as it is supposed to detect actual damage in neuro fibers in the brain. In my earlier blog posts, I mentioned how the injuries related to CPM/EPM are like having a short circuit in an electrical wire. This new type of MRI(High Definition Fiber Tracking) actually detects those short circuits! Where normal MRI’s and CT scans will show inflammation and bleeds, this MRI scan actual shows the neuron damage and can potentially predict how successful recovery will be.

This is exciting news for us!!! This might give us a definitive proof for the cognitive issues that we experience. It might show us how likely we will be to recover and to what extent. YEAH!!

For additional information on the upcoming information regarding this new MRI(High Definition Fiber Tracking) use the following links:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/finding-unseen-damage-traumatic-brain-injury-15830461

The following is a research article written about the MRI:

http://schneiderlab.lrdc.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/Pittsburgh%20HDFT%20TBI%20Diagnosis%20report.pdf

I had to copy the image (below)  from the above link, just because it is that freaking awesome!!

New MRI

I really believe that this technology could greatly benefit those of us who are suffering from the “unseen injury”. Be patient friends, because this new scan will probably not be covered by insurance companies nor will it be offered in the next few months. I’m guessing it won’t be available for another year or more. (If you are interested in possibly getting it earlier, there are research studies being done at the University of Pittsburgh now.)

 

Brain Injury:

This might seem utterly ridiculous, but up to this point, I did not realize I HAVE a brain injury. EPM and CPM causes a BRAIN INJURY. Maybe it would be more appropriate to state, that I didn’t realize what it meant to have this injury.

Of course, I’ve known that I have had damage to my brain, but that already happened, and for whatever reason, I did not consider that injury along the same line of having an injury caused in a car crash or stroke, etc.

The injury was in the past. It happened. It’s over.

This is the reaction that I’ve had from all of my doctors up to this point. Every doctor that’s treated me for issues related to EPM has stressed to me that the injury has happened. It will not happen again. The damage has been done and from that point forward I will only get better.

Many of my doctors have stressed that because my MRI has shown improvements, healing, then it’s just a matter of time before I’m 100% normal again.

Let me stress, this is NOT true. As, I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions, the MRI detects inflammation in the brain and even though the inflammation does dissipate in the months after CPM/EPM, it does not mean that you are going to be 100% back to normal. You may or you may not. The MRI images do NOT correlate to the symptoms you experience with this injury.

My MRI images have shown improvements. My doctors have told me that I am certain to get better, and I have been left struggling with wondering; Why am I not back to my normal self? It’s almost 9 months post injury, why am I not normal yet?

Further, NONE of my doctors touched upon the issues that have been most concerning to me, deficits in my cognitive abilities. It is extremely difficult for me to stay on task. I have short term memory problems. I have problems with reading and writing. I have difficulty thinking of words. I have attention deficits. The list goes on.

I recently was in training for work, and after 30 minutes, I couldn’t retain any more information.

Have you ever made manicotti? If you aren’t familiar with it, is a large cylindrical shell. In most cases, you stuff the shell with a cheesy filling.  The shell is hollow and open on both ends. My ability to retain information is like a stuffing a manicotti shell. You can keep adding filling, but it’s just going to leak out the other side.

I might have retained some of the information from our recent training, but at this point, I’d say 70 to 80% is gone. I might remember parts of what I learned at points in time, but I almost guarantee that I couldn’t sit down and recall everything.

Here’s something that I don’t think I’ve discussed previously; I have found that my past memories have become extremely vivid and are constantly at the forefront of my mind. It’s so frustrating. I don’t know why these things are so blaring and concrete. I have no control over when they occur. I have no idea why they occur. They aren’t even significant events, but just random memories that are mundane and non influential.

Not all of them are mundane, and I have to say that’s even worse. Events that I would rather not think about come to my mind as well, bringing with me emotional turmoil and grief.

So why is it that I can remember sitting in the backseat of our beat up brown SAAB, as a kid, in the middle of the summer and arguing with my brother’s about Garbage Pail Kid cards, as we waited for our mother to come out of the grocery store around the age of 8, but I couldn’t remember to call my doctor’s office to schedule an appointment for the 4th day in row?

Folks, the stuff that filters through my mind on a daily basis in such GREAT detail about my past..from the weather and temperatures to clothes that I was wearing. It’s mind numbing. Why am I remembering these things constantly, but can’t retain 1/10th of events happening now?

After doing the research on my last post, Cognitive Therapy, I realized why. I HAVE A BRAIN INJURY!

CPM and EPM did more than just cause a temporary damage. I am utterly clueless why my current doctors who are treating me for this have been so adamant about not acknowledging this! I’ve spent the past 8 and a half months struggling to come to terms and prove that this isn’t something I’m making up. I’M NOT FAKING THIS, and now I understand why these things are happening to me.

I’ve had doctors tell me it was stress. It was from fatigue.  I’m faking these issues. It’s test anxiety. It’s not related to EPM. It’s long term ADHD. It’s from having high cortisol.

I’ve struggled to understand why these issues became a problem after I developed EPM. I’ve questioned my sanity. I’ve questioned the severity of these issues. I’ve wondered if I was exaggerating these problems.

I’ve had people try to tell me it’s normal. It’s what happens when you get older.

If you are reading this, then I’m here to tell you, those people are FULL of it.

Let me stress, the reason you have the issues that you do is because you have had a trauma to your brain!! The damage is not necessarily ongoing (though that is also questionable), but the cognitive issues ARE or at least can be.

I now have answers and understanding to why these issues are occurring AND I can share with you, hope.

I had no idea as to how much support there is for brain injuries. There is actually a tremendous wealth of information regarding what might be considered “minor” brain injury.

Now, I’m not going to classify EPM and/or CPM as a minor brain injury. There are people who are living their lives completely incapacitated, requiring 24 hour support. That’s not minor. On the other end of the spectrum, you have people like me, who have are “functionally disabled”. You can live your daily life with little or no assistance, but you have not returned to your former self.

The following information I found online from Dr. Thomas Kay a renowned neuropsychologist who has specialized in minor brain injuries:

There is a known natural course of recovery for concussion, and the vast majority of persons appear to recover completely. (“Appear” is italicized because there is increasing evidence that there may be sub-clinical residual damage that can become manifest under certain circumstances, or can accumulate and cross a threshold after a series of presumably fully recovered concussions.)

There are predictable clinical deficits that occur immediately after most concussions: problems with attention, concentration, and short term memory; irritability; headaches; dizziness and balance problems; sensory sensitivity). These are often referred to as the “post-concussion syndrome.” However, because only some of these symptoms come from an injury to the brain, while others come from non-brain body systems, I prefer to avoid the phrase “post-concussion syndrome,” and try to refer to “post-concussive symptoms.”

A subset of persons who suffer concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries, have long term residual symptoms, and a smaller subset remains highly dysfunctional. There is a long standing, often bitter, debate about why some people do not recover completely from concussion or mild traumatic brain injury. At one extreme, some advocates maintain that all problems are due to permanent brain injury. At the other extreme, skeptics maintain that anyone who fails to recover from a concussion/MTBI either has psychological problems or is malingering, and maintain that it is not possible to sustain permanent neurological damage from a concussion.

He goes on to state:

It is important to realize that multiple factors other than neurological ones can contribute to the appearance of brain injury, or exacerbate the apparent severity of brain injury. These include pain, sleep deprivation, depression (which is extremely common), anxiety, PTSD, and the results of medication (especially narcotic analgesics).

The evaluation of MTBI is complex, and needs to sort out the various contributing factors. Comprehensive evaluation should be delayed until the natural course of recovery has been completed (often up to a year), and major psychological complications have receded. Briefer screenings can track cognitive recovery. Patients who are depressed will often perform much lower on cognitive tests, than when they are not depressed.

Tests of effort are also an essential part of neuropsychological testing. Multiple studies have shown a tendency for a high percentage of persons with MTBI to fail tests of effort, and underperform on cognitive tests. In my opinion, tests of effort may be failed for a variety of reasons having to do with motivation. In order for neuropsychological test data to be interpreted as valid, tests of effort must be passed. (Failure of tests of effort does NOT necessarily mean a person does not have a brain injury.)

Clinical treatment of persons with MTBI will depend on the relative contribution of neurological, physical, and psychological factors. The neuropsychological approach I take is determined entirely by the presentation, dynamics, and needs of each individual person. I conceptualize treatment of MTBI as the restoration of an effective sense of self. Limits on this restoration may or may not be set by neurological injury. Each individual is different.

I am going to elaborate on this post in the near future, but before I end tonight, I just wanted to share this exciting news. Yes, folks, we have a brain injury, and if you are experiencing these issues than you are not alone and there are people who will believe you and your issues. Most importantly, now you have a source for help. 🙂

Keep checking back on this post for the next few days because when time and energy allow, I will be updating with more detailed information for support and direction.

 

The Updates:

This is I believe an amazing quote:

Brain injury is not an event or an outcome. It is the start of a misdiagnosed, misunderstood, under-funded neurological disease.

This quote is from the Brain Injury Association of America:

http://www.biausa.org/

I really believe it is absolutely true. I’m hoping it is not true for you, but it describes me to a T.

Update:  This person found my site and after reviewing it, I really found the information extremely beneficial. I recommend checking it out: http://brainhealthresources.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/there-is-help-for-battered-athletes-and-tbi-patients/

02/17/2012

This week I had yet another appointment, and this appointment has stuck with me the rest of this week.

First, I want to apologize for not posting more recently than this. If you have CPM/EPM, you will find that your life seems to be full of the unexpected. You will find that there are days that seem normal and days that you wonder how will you be able to live the rest of your life in this manner.

It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. It’s unfair.

It seems like everyday is chaotic and for someone who used to be so focused and moderately organized, this is driving me freaking crazy!!!

IT’S STRESSFUL!

SO, now I’m starting yet another category for my blog, but I still have to go back and add to hyponatremia, to CPM/EPM, and to my story!!! However, what I experienced this week needs to be addressed before I forget it, and it has really consumed me, so I feel I have to write about it.

C’est la vie!

This week I traveled 4 hours to meet with a neurologist who is a movement disorder specialist. I also had a MRI and something else….what was it. For real!! Another five minutes gone to trying to figure out what it was that I actually did while I was there. I only had three appointments. Oh, yes, the skin biopsy.

I thought I was going to go to the neurologist to get a TREATMENT for my tremors, jerks, shakes, twitches, spasms, etc. In other words, my neurological problems with movement.

I guess this is where I made my mistake. I had already met with a neurologist who is treating me for EPM, and she was sending me to get treatment for my EPM movement issues. She told me that she was sending me to a movement specialist neurologist for this purpose. I assumed that this was going to be the reason for the appointment: I was going to get medicine for my neurological issues related to EPM.

If I thought that I was going to be examined to determine on whether or not my movement issues were related to EPM, I would have been more prepared. I would have brought materials on EPM.

Here’s the thing: EPM IS RARE. CPM IS RARE. MOST DOCTORS HAVE NEVER TREATED A PATIENT WITH THIS INJURY, and it’s not that they are stupid or trying to be judgmental, they are purely ignorant!

This doctor was the same way.

I had no idea what the true intention for this appointment was, and this set me up for disaster.

This doctor did a complete neurological exam. He was pretty thorough.

After the examination, he told me: Well, you have an essential tremor and it is not related to your EPM. It’s fairly mild, but I can give you medication to treat it. I would also like you to test for Wilson’s disease. You don’t have any of the symptoms for Wilson’s, but it is a cause for tremors in a person who is younger. I don’t think you have it, but we’ll do the test as a precaution.

Before, having EPM, I would have just nodded my head and left. I would have spent the rest of the day biting my lip and waiting to say the things I wanted to say.

I don’t know what would have been better. I really don’t.

I literally started arguing with the doctor. He told me that because my MRI images were normal that the tremors weren’t caused by EPM.

Ok, folks, you know I’ve done research. I’ve spent the past 8 MONTHS researching this injury, and my first question to the doctor was: how many patients have you treated with this? His answer: ONE!!!

I then went on to say: My MRI still shows the injury (and it does). This is what my other neurologist has told me. However, if you were more familiar with EPM/CPM, you would understand that there is no correlation to the findings on an MRI and a person’s symptoms.

The doctor didn’t cotton to my pointing this out to him.

We literally started to ARGUE.

He basically told me that he wasn’t going to have me lecture him on this, but then I explained to him that I wasn’t pulling this information from WebMD. My information comes from credible medical research documents, and that I was preparing to go to medical school.

He warmed up a little bit at that point.

He tried to explain to me that the ONE patient that he’s treated with this disorder had the Parkinson’s like tremor that is associated with EPM/CPM. He told me that he had a video that he took on that patient. This particular person had both significant injury to the pontine region as well as the extra pontine regions AND that this person’s MRI still showed the injury.

He believed that my movement issues have nothing to do with EPM. He thought they were random.

He told me that I did not have Parkinson’s, and I did not have a Parkinson’s tremor.

Okay, so what’s wrong with what he was telling me, and how could I have better handled it? How could have this appointment gone better? What should I have done?

First, I should have been prepared. Really. I’ve been to hundreds of appointments. When you have something rare or not clearly understood, you need to come ready for everything. You need to have any research that you’ve found regarding your disorder. Make copies of your labs, of your reports, of research that you have found.

I had no idea what a Parkinson’s tremor was and how it was different from the tremors that I have. I will make a separate post on tremors and how they differ. Of course, with everything that is medical, there is disagreements on what is and isn’t a Parkinson’s tremor.

Basically, if you have a tremor or movements that impact one side of the body (at least in the beginning stages) that are present when you ARE NOT moving, they suspect Parkinson’s.

The tremor that the movement neurologist suspected is something called essential tremor. This type of tremor is usually found in both sides of the body. It generally becomes worse when you are moving. For instance, if you are trying to get food to your mouth or trying to get a cup to your mouth, but your hands shake so severely that your food falls off your fork or you spill liquids from your cup, they suspect essential tremors.

Now, I had no CLUE what the difference was. I had no idea that there was a difference. All I knew was that this issue became extreme when I developed EPM.

If I was prepared for this appointment, then I would have been able to produce information regarding my tremors. I would have also been able to represent the different types of tremors that are associated with EPM.

I did not know until after the appointment that this doctor really did not know what he was talking about: EPM/ CPM can have both, either, or neither…Parkinson-like or bilateral tremors.

In other words, my “essential” tremors, are probably caused by the EPM.

Furthermore, the doctor told me that there were no reasons to think that these tremors would not be long lasting if they were indeed caused by EPM. He believed that because the MRI images were improving then my symptoms would also improve.

I can not say whether or not this is true. I would have to point out to anyone who states that because your MRI images get better does NOT mean that your symptoms will improve. Further, if your MRI images DO NOT improve, that does NOT mean that you will not improve. The MRI, at this time, WILL NOT show anything more than that you had this injury.

The doctor also tried to state that symptoms will NOT get worse after the injury has happened. THIS IS TOTALLY NOT TRUE. DOCTORS DO NOT KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH CPM/EPM!!! They do NOT KNOW.  People do see a progression in their symptoms even AFTER 8 and 9 months.

There has not been enough research in this area to know with any certainty what will happen. I know of 4 individuals with CPM/EPM that had improvements, but after a period of 1 to 2 years, their symptoms worsened. I really believe that this is related to just normal aging.

I would compare it to my cell phone that I dropped in the toilet. (It was an unused toilet at the time). I made the mistake of turning it on as soon as I fished it out. Now, anyone who is familiar with electronics knows this was a mistake. It basically fried it. However, I did not want to go out and buy a new phone. So, I took it apart. I sprayed it down with electronic cleaner. I let completely dry out and put it back together. IT WORKED! 🙂 BUT, there were certain keys that did not work, the pound and star button. I was perfectly fine with that because I didn’t really use those buttons that much any way.

So, I was happy, but several months later, other keys started not working properly. Some numbers would repeat a dozen times when I pushed them once. Sometimes, letters wouldn’t show up.

And this is my point, truly the brain works in a fairly similar way. We don’t understand how it works completely. Medicine is really archaic in this field. However, we know as we age the body breaks down. They don’t work as well. This is true for the brain. So, if you already have an injury in the brain, yes, you are likely to see improvements, but it’s like my cell phone, you just don’t know how long those improvements will last, and you are most likely to see these areas degrade over time as your brain ages.

Getting back to my appointment:

I tried to explain that the delay in new symptoms is believed to be caused NOT BY CPM/EPM INJURY directly, BUT BECAUSE YOUR BRAIN TRIES TO REBUILD CONNECTIONS, and it is believed that these new pathways can cause the new symptoms.

Therefore, people have seen NEW symptoms months and EVEN years after the injury. The doctor I saw agree with this, but he felt that new symptoms would not be seen after 1 or 2 months after injury.

See this article for a description on how this isn’t true:

Journal of Clinical Neuroscience 19 (2012) 179–180

And this one:

Journal of  Neurology (1995) 242:450-454
© Springer-Verlag 1995

Regarding the types of tremors that are experienced in CPM/EPM injuries, most are considered Parkinson’s like, resting tremors; however there are also studies that show that both types of tremors can be present, parkinson’s and tremors that worsen with movements.

Here is information from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_pontine_myelinolysis:

 Permanent disabilities range from minor tremors and ataxia to signs of severe brain damage, such as spastic quadriparesis andlocked-in syndrome.[14]

Okay, the following is what I have. I do have a bilateral resting tremor that gets worse with movement:

A 56-year-old man developed drooling and bilateral hand tremors 3 weeks after correction of hyponatremia from 103 to 125 mmol/L over 14 h. He had a prominent 6 Hz resting tremor which worsened with action and mild cogwheel rigidity. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed changes consistent with central pontine myelinolysis and increased signal on T1-weighted images in the putamen bilaterally. His tremor responded well to L-dopa therapy.

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10833626)

I could go on all day quoting journals regarding tremors and EPM/CPM. Here’s another:

Rigidity was present in all four limbs, with orofacial dystonia and dystonic posture of hands and feet and with tremor in both hands.

http://dmc.academia.edu/MahmudurSiddiqui/Papers/893372/Selective_Extrapontine_Myelinolysis_in_Osmotic_Demyelination_Syndrome_in_a_Case_of_Previously_Undiagnosed_Sheehans_Syndrome_with_Recurrent_Hyponatraemia_-_A_Rare_Association

If I had been better prepared, I would have been able to bring these things to his attention.

More importantly, I showed him two videos of my tremors. He believed these videos demonstrated that I indeed have essential tremors. And I cannot disagree with this statement. I don’t know. I’m not an expert in tremors.

That said, I only recently started recording my tremors, and more importantly, I have spasms and jerks in certain fingers, in my legs, or feet, but these jerks are fleeting. So, I will have three or four twitches in my finger and there’s no way that I can record those particular movements without making a video diary of my every waking moment. I never know when these movements will occur.

This is extremely frustrating because by this point in my appointment, there was no trying to communicate with the doctor. I was too emotionally involved and so was he.

His take away message was: you’re going to be fine. You aren’t going to get worse. You are going to get better. You should try this medication to help with the essential tremor that you have, and I am almost positive that your tremors are not related to EPM. Even if they are, the medicine should help them. You do not have Parkinson’s.

Now, this seemed to be a crux in the conversation that I haven’t hit upon previously. He kept stressing that I did not have Parkinson’s. He stated that he was an expert for Parkinson’s.

I really did not understand why he kept bringing up Parkinson’s disease. I DO NOT HAVE PARKINSON’s. I did not think that I had Parkinson’s. I believe that I have Parkinsonism. Now, I’ve previously discussed Parkinsonism. From the knowledge that I have, it is any tremor that a person has, along with dystonia, and dyskinesia, and possible issues with your voice. I am not an expert on this. I know what I’ve read, and I promise to research this further and try to post on this more when I post specifically on tremors.

What’s wrong with his message:

HE HAS ONE FREAKING PATIENT WHO HAS HAD CPM/EPM. He certainly hasn’t spent the past 8 months researching every possible thing you can find on it.

He made incorrect comparison’s: Parkinson’s and EPM. People with EPM/CPM DO NOT HAVE PARKINSON’s. They have a Parkinson’s like tremor, and that isn’t even true for everyone with EPM/CPM. He did not understand that there IS NO SET STANDARD for CPM/EPM. It’s like saying someone who has colon cancer will have the same symptoms and issues as someone with esophageal cancer. It’s like saying there is only one cause for heart disease.

He was unwilling to say: I DON’T KNOW. I will need to evaluate you further. Please spend time making more videos of your issues and feel free to contact me when your symptoms change or if you have a video of something different. He didn’t even ask me when I took the videos I made.

I tried to explain that my symptoms vary in severity from day to day. Truthfully, they vary from hour to hour. Right now, I barely have any tremor at all. However, an hour ago, I did. I have twitches and spasms even at night when I’m trying to go to sleep, at rest. They make it difficult to fall asleep. I don’t have this problem EVERY night, but probably three or four times a week.

So, what could I have done?

I should have made a journal of these things. I should be keeping a daily record of my symptoms, the times, places, how much caffeine have I consumed, etc. Doctors really like data. They like it when you have detailed information for them to look at.

I really haven’t documented my symptoms and when I have them. I should be keeping more videos. I feel embarrassed to pull out my cell phone or video recorder to make these videos in public places when I’m experiencing these problems. I believe that those localized spasms that I get in my fingers or feet don’t last long, so I shouldn’t bother trying to record them.

I AM MY ONLY ADVOCATE. NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT. You really need to take this to heart if you are reading my posts.

No one else is going to go to bat for you, and if you are willing and able, you need to make as many records as you can regarding your situation. It can and will help you out. It might help your doctor more fully understand your situation. More importantly, you can post it here on my blog and help others with CPM/EPM.

I also shouldn’t have bothered correcting this doctor when I didn’t have access to the medical journals or very good videos of my symptoms. Now, this doctor has formerly based his opinion. He isn’t going to bother to do anything else with me. If I ever need to go back to him, I will have to have a huge collection of evidence proving him wrong.

Let me stress, it’s not important to prove him wrong for the sake of being right, but because I will not get help from him unless that happens. I also won’t get the correct medications for the types of neurological issues that I have.

It’s also important to realize that it’s important to realize when you’ve lost a battle. It’s your choice on whether or not you are going to waste your precious time and health on trying to bring this person up to speed on CPM/EPM.

As more and more records become easier to access, hospitals will become able to share information on your medical history. This means that this doctor may be able to pollute the opinions of future doctors that I see, even at different hospitals, in different cities or states.

So, you really need to make a decision on whether or not you are going to spend your time and resources on “educating” a doctor on your condition.

If you choose to, I think it’s really important to “educate” him on the first appointment. First impressions make the biggest impact, and this is most certainly true for your doctors.

In other words, you need to be prepared for EVERYTHING on that first appointment. You have to have research articles on the types of symptoms and issues that you have, especially when those symptoms are rare. You need to have videos and if at all possible, personal testimony from family and friends (hopefully someone can go with you for your appointment that can attest to your issues and their severity). It’s great if you have a journal of your symptoms from each day.

You need to ask your doctors questions like: how many patients have you treated or seen with CPM/EPM? And it’s important for you to make a decision on whether or not you are going to continue to see this person if the appointment does not go well. Be prepared. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I’m sorry if this post was a bit repetitive. I believe that when I have something that I feel especially strongly about, I tend to repeat it. I will try to edit in the future for those type of repetitions.

For now, I’m going to retire. and as always, please feel free to write me with any questions or your personal story.

My EPM story: the diagnosis:

Up to this point, I have talked about how I developed hyponatremia, how it was treated incorrectly, and how I tried return to the local hospital (the place that treated my hyponatremia) THREE times to get treatment for my developing issues with EPM.

The last trip to my local ER, I asked  for a MRI because I was almost positive that I had developed EPM. Instead, they attempted to admit me for observation because of the reaction I had from their doctors, I decided it would be better for me to travel to meet with my ENT and endocrinologist.

After hearing about my issues, they were also determined to get me into to see a neurologist, despite it was the Thursday before the Fourth of July. Trust me, despite going to a HUGE hospital with hundreds of doctors, trying to get an appointment with one of their 50 or more neurologists was a big deal.

Tom and I had no idea what was going to happen next.

I left my local ER around 7pm. I was pumped full of narcotics and was almost dead to the world. I mean, I really did not know what was going on.

I got home, and I think it was at some point around 3 or 4 am, we started our oddessy. We had our three year old with us, and this trip was unexpected. We had no idea how long we would be gone, or what we would need.

I guess we planned for the worse because we didn’t run out of clothing, etc. Granted, I spent my time in a hospital gown.

So, our trip up to the hospital was awful. I had a splitting headache. I didn’t feel well. My daughter was acting like all three year olds. At first, she slept but around 9am, we stopped to get breakfast.

It became absolutely clear there was a problem when I tried to order breakfast for us. Tom had gone to do something, find a table, I don’t know what, so I was left at the counter alone to order.

I knew what we needed, but I was having trouble understanding what the girl was saying. I was extremely frustrated. All I had to do was give the girl the numbers and tell her what drink we needed with each. Tom’s order was easy. Izabel is a picky eater, so I had to make adjustments with her order, and I had a hard time asking if they had pancakes or cereal. I had a hard time explaining that I needed milk with her meal not coffee. The most frustrating thing was when I wanted to change the kind of cheese on my order. I didn’t want Swiss cheese that normally came on the sandwich, I wanted American cheese.

I kept telling the cashier: I don’t want cheese. I want cheese.

Of course, she looked at me like I was retarded because I was.

I tried to explain further: Not cheese. Yellow cheese.

My entire order was like that; I couldn’t express the changes I wanted to make. I had a hard time asking for coffee with Tom’s meal. I had a hard time finding out if they had cereal, and by the time it came to my order, I was left to pointing irrationally at the pictures on the wall. Number 6, no cheese, cheese. I don’t want cheese. I want cheese.

Yeah.

I KNEW what I wanted. I couldn’t say it. AND, these episodes kept skipping. It wasn’t continuous issues with communicating. Talk about feeling like you’re going completely nuts.

Shortly after we left Arby’s, I started experiencing the crippling stomach pains which I no longer was considering as an issue for porphyria but for my adrenal glands.

With all the physical and mental stress I was having, it isn’t difficult to believe that my adrenal glands were becoming stressed. Maybe it’s not my adrenals, maybe it is AIP, maybe it’s both…I really think only God truly knows, but all I did know is that sugar/glucose would stop the pains.

So, Tom and I went off track to find a CVS or other drug store to pick up a bottle of glucose tabs. This delayed our getting to the hospital, but trust me I don’t think I could survive an attack of crippling abdominal pain.

After a shot of liquid glucose and about 1000mg of glucose via tabs, the pain subsided a bit. I was feeling more nausea, but the painful cramps weren’t as bad.

I swear this trip was CRAZY. I think it took four hours longer than it normally does, and I can not explain WHY it took so long. I mean, there was the stop for breakfast. There was the stop for glucose. We did hit road construction at some point, and then there were at least three potty breaks for Izabel.

During the drive, we were also working with an awesome receptionist for the neurology department to try to get an appointment with a neurologist. All of the neurologists were booked or gone already for the 4th of July weekend.

They could only make the appointment for about a WEEK from that date.

At this point, I still had no true clue as to what having EPM or CPM meant. I really didn’t understand that I was in a life threatening situation.

I believe I had read about it, but it didn’t sink in that this was really what was going on with me.

I was relieved when I got to my first appointment with my ENT. I really thought that he must have left packing in my sinuses and that this was going to be the reason I was having such a horrible headache.

I remember sitting in the waiting room, extremely calm. My little girl was striking up a conversation with another little girl. Tom was looking up the newspaper on his laptop, and I was just waiting.

I tell you. I was still experiencing difficulties speaking. Then they did the torturous search of my nasal cavity and sinuses. They spray your throat and nose with a numbing spray, and I was getting extremely ill from the spray. It’s supposed to taste like bananas. It doesn’t. Some people don’t have any issues with it, but other people, like me, the numbness triggers your gag reflex and you because extremely ill.

Then they slowly insert this 1/4 inch diameter, flexible, rubber hose with a scope on the end up your nose.

It doesn’t seem like they should be able to get that much of the hose up your nose (ha, that rhymes), but they did, and I can’t imagine having an alien abduction be more painful or uncomfortable. Just saying.

The ENT reassured me that things looked good. He assured me that there was no packing in my sinuses. He assured me that the surgical site was looking great. However, he was concerned with my neurological issues. He was glad that I was going to see my endocrinologist. He thought I should be hospitalized, but he wanted me to see the endocrinologist first.

So, by this point, I needed a wheelchair to get around. I was truly nauseous, dizzy. I was having issues with my balance. I had the horrible headache.

My endocrinologist is the most awesome doctor in the world, with a close second for my neurosurgeon and an even closer third with my ENT. Truly, I’ve been to hundreds of doctors, or at least a hundred. I’m not sure if that’s an exaggeration. I’ve seen a lot of doctors, so please believe me when I say, these doctors are amazing.

My endocrinologist was disturbed at my neurological issues. She was concerned at how long they had been going on. I told her that I thought I had CPM. I explained why I thought I had CPM. She didn’t arch her eyebrows. She didn’t give me a smirk or a shrug.

She told me that it would be unlikely for me to have CPM because I was 34. She believed that only babies and old people developed CPM. I became concerned that she wasn’t going to do anything.

She left the room to try to get an emergency consult with a neurologist. She checked back with us in about 10 minutes to let us know that the neurology department had not gotten back with her at that point.

She came back five minutes later to tell me that there weren’t any neurology appointments available, and so she was going to admit me. She felt I needed to have a MRI, NOW, not a day from now, not a week from now, NOW.

I was checked into the hospital and in my room in about an hour.

I was seeing the neurology residents in about 15 minutes after that. I was seeing another neurologist about an hour after that.

I was given another IV, pain medications, and because my endocrinologist totally believes me, she also requested the IV glucose to help with whatever it was, adrenal crisis or porphyria. (Even though my endocrinologist ordered it, the neurology department-unbeknownst to me- did not want me to have the glucose treatment, so that wasn’t started. This caused my abdominal pains to become unrelenting.

By 11pm that night, I was being wheeled down for the MRI. Trust me, even though my endocrinologist and ENT believed that I was experiencing a major problem, this belief was not as well received by the neurology department. I got arched eyebrows. I got the smirks.

I was desperate that they find something on the MRI. I KNOW that sounds funny. I KNOW that sounds crazy, but when you’re in that much pain, when you have that significant of a problem, the last thing you want is for them NOT to find anything. Trust me, when you have that many arched eyebrows and funny looks, if they came back with there’s NOTHING on your MRI, the next place you’ll be heading to is the psych ward.

My relief became absolute. My confidence in myself became iron clad, when the neurology resident came rushing into my room.

Resident: You were right. You were right. You have myelinolysis. THEY DID THIS TO YOU. THEY ARE 100% responsible.

I think I was on the verge of tears. I can’t remember exactly what he said after that. This injury was out of his league, and he assured me that the fellow in neurology would be in to see me in a very short while. He stressed that this was a serious issue and that the fellow was actually coming in from home to see me.

I had my answer. I had my reason. I wasn’t crazy. I didn’t have a stroke. I was right. I WAS RIGHT.

I wish that I could say, that’s it. That’s all that happened, but it’s not. The story does continue. Maybe, now, you’ll see why I’ve chosen to write about this later. It’s easy to become distracted and angry about what happened.

It can consume you.

Plus, it’s a hell of a long story. I mean, these are by far the longest posts that I’ve made, and they take the longest to write. It’s really exhausting, but I really feel, you need to know. You deserve to know. You need to learn to trust what you feel and to fight for what you’re going through. You need to understand that even the most prestigious hospitals in the country are fallible. You need to ask questions and push for answers, even when you meet resistance.

I hope this helps you with your struggles or helps to push you forward when you feel like giving up. You aren’t alone.

Discharged:

I think one of the hardest moments I faced after developing CPM/EPM was being discharged from the hospital. I literally had a bit of a break down. I don’t think my reaction was abnormal.

I was already beginning to see some improvements during the week I was hospitalized for CPM/EPM. At the same time, I was still really screwed up. I was NOT anywhere close back to my formal self.

I had only had the injury for about 10 days. I was aware from the very little access to information online that I would not be considered out of danger for at least 3 weeks from the date of injury. Some research suggests that you can be at risk for dying for up to 12 weeks. There’s just not enough research and answers fluctuate.

Everyday I woke up in the hospital I felt a sense of relief, but every time I went to sleep I felt anxiety. Would this be the time that I would not wake up or wake up and not be able to move?

At the same time, the doctors were monitoring my symptoms intently, but they were truly unable to do anything but watch me.

They were afraid to give me things like pain medications or even something as benign as glucose IV fluids because they were concerned with how they would impact my neurological functions.

Despite their not doing much of anything but observing, I felt a comfort in knowing I was there. If something bad happened, I knew that something could be done immediately.

I was also extremely dismayed at leaving because I was NOT normal. At that point in time, my list of neurological issues was extensive. I had problems losing my balance, walking into walls, developing hypotension when I was standing and hypertension when I was sitting. How was I going to get back to a “normal” life if I couldn’t even stand up for long periods of time without getting super sick?

One of my biggest issues at that time was my speech problems. It was extremely obvious, and I have a phone sales position. How could I perform my job if I couldn’t speak properly?

I’m sure if you are reading this, you are experiencing something similar to this or deficits that may be greater. It is terrifying. There aren’t any “real” answers. There is a lot of unknown.

This will probably lead to anxiety and depression when you are released from your hospital or hospice. It’s like losing an anchor in the middle of a hurricane.

What should you expect?

First, make a list of your questions. Is the hospital or rehabilitation center setting up ongoing occupational, speech, and physical therapy at home? Who will be in charge of your ongoing treatment? Will it be your general practitioner? Will it be a neurologist from the hospital who was treating you? Who should you consult regarding your work notes, disability claims, insurance questions? What will your insurance company cover? What will your co-pays be? Will you need 24 hour support, live in aid or daily assisted living? What type of medications will you need and those side effects? Is there any doctor associated with the hospital that has experience with CPM/EPM? Can you drive? Are there any specific physical limitations that should be avoided? Is there a support group they know of (you probably won’t find one for cpm/epm, but you might find one for neurological disorders or brain injuries?

Is there a source for your care givers? For instance, you may experience things like paranoia, dementia, irritability. These are normal psychological effects of it. If you become unstable, who should they call? If your symptoms become worse, what should they do?

If you were employed before your injury, you need to get in touch with your human resources department. If you are a caregiver of someone who has CPM/EPM, you will need to contact their employer to let them know what the situation is and find out about their disability policies. In most cases, you can fill out FMLA forms to help protect their/your job. If you are a caregiver, you will want to find out about becoming power of attorney.

In most cases, you were not anticipating this to occur, and it is a huge surprise. You might have been perfectly healthy previous to this injury, but now you’re facing the chance of having life long injuries. You probably did not have things like your living will, durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney.

IF you are reading this as a precaution, and you’ve never developed hyponatremia or your CPM/EPM, then I recommend taking the initiative and getting these basic legal affairs taken care of. Let’s look at the facts, you may never develop CPM or EPM, but you do have a fair risk of developing hyponatremia.

Further, you are going to die at some point, whether it’s a car accident in 3 weeks or a heart attack tomorrow. It’s inevitable. You need to be certain that you have everything ready for your family and your friends.

At the very least, you need to discuss your plans with your family and friends. It’s never a comfortable subject. No one wants to face the reality of losing someone they love, but it’s worse to leave the heavy burden to your family and friends when they are suffering from the pain of not having you in their life.

If you need help, most lawyers will consult with you free. There are legal forms that are available online. At the very least, you can create a document at home, typed or written that express your wishes.  You simply take that letter to a notary (usually a bank will have a notary) and sign and date it in front of them. It has to be signed and dated in front of the notary to be valid.

This is just a stepping stone on what to do. I hope this helps, and if you think of any additional advice to add, please feel free to do so.

Take care!

 

Getting a diagnosis:

Please bear with me tonight, I had my wisdom teeth removed today, so I’m taking pain killers. Let’s just say, I’m a bit off my game.

Most people who are treated for hyponatremia are already in the hospital for a secondary issue, like burns or liver transplants, etc. I believe persons who are being treated for other conditions are at a higher risk for a delay in diagnosis for hyponatremia. This would make it most likely for them to develop chronic hyponatremia (chronic, meaning longer than 48 hours, up to a few weeks). This will put them at higher risk for developing CPM/EPM.

That said, it is harder to diagnose these individuals with CPM/EPM because they are already ill. Most will be experiencing issues with nausea, headaches, vomiting, etc. They may even already be in a coma, so the symptoms will be attributed to other issues.

If you’re already in the hospital with a major disease, injury, or disorder and then develop hyponatremia followed by CPM/EPM, you will probably have significant damage. To be honest, you probably won’t make it.

If you do live through those major health issues, you will be lucky to get a diagnosis of CPM/EPM. Here’s why: in most cases, if you are already in the hospital for something like severe burns, to help manage the pain, the hospital will sometimes put you into a medically induced coma. If you are in a coma, it is difficult for the hospital to know if you are experiencing neurological issues.

When they awaken you from the coma, they might deduce that the issues you are having are due to the induced coma. If you have cancer, they might believe the issues (nausea, headache, balance issues) are due to the cancer especially if you have something like a brain tumor and especially if you are having chemotherapy treatments.

Depending on your doctor’s expertise and the symptoms you present with, you may not get a diagnosis of CPM/EPM right away.

CPM/EPM can appear on a MRI as early as two to three days; however, it may not appear on a MRI for up to two to four weeks. In less severe cases of CPM/EPM, your symptoms can begin to improve within a week after the injury. This makes it even more difficult to detect because doctors are even more likely to attribute the symptoms to the primary reason for hospitalization, so they don’t look for it.

To complicate things further, most individuals will begin to experience a disappearance of the lesions on the MRI as early as 4 to 6 weeks. In most cases, the lesions can completely disappear in 4 to 6 months. Despite the healing of the lesions, symptoms may or may not approve accordingly. In most research papers that I read, most lesions will disappear but a person will have ongoing issues with dystonia, speech issues, cognitive and learning issues, tremors, etc. Generally, the symptoms that remain after the lesions have disappeared are related to motor functions and cognitive functions. There can also be on going issues with behavioral and psychological deficits.

This leads to a misdiagnosis, or you may not ever get a diagnosis.

So, what do you do?

Get your medical records. Look for hyponatremia (keep in mind that CPM/EPM does not always occur with hyponatremia), but it is most common with it.

You can also request a MRI. A really good neurologist and/or radiologist can see something called sequelae. Basically, this is, for lack for better words, scar tissue. It is usually very difficult to see in our current scans. So, if you really believe CPM/EPM is responsible for your issues, you might have to see several neurologists or radiologists.

Some doctors will diagnose you based on symptoms and your clinical history alone.

For arguments sake, let’s say you really don’t have CPM/EPM. If you have symptoms that aren’t typical for the disorders or diseases that you experienced, you should pursue getting answers anyway.

I’ve been a patient for more than 8 years. I’ve been diagnosed with other health issues/ disorders before I was injured from CPM/EPM. From past experience, it is common for doctors to attribute any new symptoms that you may have to the previous diagnosis. Basically, they think that since you have one disease or disorder that you will not be unlucky enough to develop another. They might also attribute these new symptoms to being a psychological issue. They will state that this new issue is due to the stress of having a previous illness.

Follow your gut instinct! Only you know what you are going through. If you keep getting the run around from one doctor, find a new one…BUT whatever you do, do NOT tell this new doctor that he is your second opinion. Trust me, I know. It is hard to find a doctor who will go against what another doctor has diagnosed.

It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. You may be very blessed and have a doctor whom you do trust, if that’s the case, level with them.  If he’s a great doctor, he will look into new possibilities.

In the end, you should find a diagnosis that answers ALL the questions, fits ALL the symptoms. In your situation, look at the symptoms of your initial disorder/disease, and check out CPM/EPM symptoms. You have to a detective. You also have to be your own advocate.

If you’re able, look for information online. We are in a fantastic technological age where information is just a few key strokes away. Take advantage of it, but try not to be consumed by it. Easier said than done, I know.

I was trying to get into med school before I developed CPM/EPM. It happens to the best of us that the more we read about disorders or diseases, you start to believe you have every disorder that you read about.

To keep this from happening, I would recommend with coming up with your list of symptoms and the dates that they began BEFORE you start doing any research. Take your time in coming up with this list. It’s easy to forget little things, and you don’t want to begin adding things after you start researching because you’ll end up in the same position where you start thinking you have every disease imaginable.

Things to look for on the MRI. Previously, I mentioned that T1 and T2 MRI‘s showed high signal intensity; however, only T2 shows high signal intensity, but T1 shows low signal intensity. This means in T2 MR images, the areas of damage are bright, and in T1 the same areas of damage are darker than surrounding areas. This information might come in handy when you get your medical records. If you review your radiology reports, you might find these things defined, and this is what it means.

Sequelae: an abnormal condition that results from a previous injury or disease. If you are reading it on your radiology report, then it means that there was a previous injury that has caused an abnormality on your MRI.

An EEG may or may not show abnormalities. If there are abnormalities, than it is usually present in theta and delta activity. Usually these abnormalities will also improve in the following months.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry1998;65:119-121 doi:10.1136/jnnp.65.1.1, Parkinsonism and dystonia in central pontine and extrapontine myelinolysis: 

…….bilateral hyperintense areas within the putamen, caput nuclei caudati, and lateral thalamus (figure). Subsequent control images made up to six months after the onset of the condition showed a marked decrease of these signal intensities. An EEG disclosed diffuse slow background activity and bilateral theta and delta activity which improved gradually during the subsequent months.

Next article:J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry2011;82:326-331 doi:10.1136/jnnp.2009.201764 Clinical and functional outcome and factors predicting prognosis in osmotic demyelination syndrome (central pontine and/or extrapontine myelinolysis) in 25 patients

The higher incidence of extrapontine lesions in recent series and ours may be due to the availability of better-quality MRI picking up subtle lesions. Also, the extent of involvement in the imaging depends on the interval at which imaging is done after the onset of ODS.2 21 The MRI done early (1–6 days) in six (24%) of our patients failed to show any abnormality. However, in all these patients, a repeat MRI done 1–2 weeks later showed positive findings. Therefore, we concur with the other authors that a repeat MRI after 1–2 weeks in all clinically suspected cases of ODS is very helpful.2 Also, diffusion MRI can pick up early lesions when conventional MRI is still negative.

CT was done in seven cases and was positive in two (28.5%). All had MRI-detectable lesions (n=23). Six required repeat MRI as the initial one did not reveal any lesion. The mean interval between the first and repeat imaging was 10.6 days in these patients (range 9–17 days). There were T1W hypointense and T2W and FLAIR sequence hyperintense lesions involving pons (76%), basal ganglia (76%) and thalamus (20%) (figures 1 and 2). Contrast enhancement was not seen in any of the cases. Diffusion-weighted imaging (n=3) showed a restricted diffusion in two cases. The radiological findings are summarised in table 3.

Figure 1

Okay, so since I’ve gone on a bit. Please trust me when I say, that this information comes up in pretty much every research paper. This is also a few more types of imaging that have been used to detect CPM/EPM that I wasn’t aware of previously. I do not know anything about what this means, so I will have to get back to you when I know for sure what it refers to, but TcTrodat-1 and 1-IBZM spect images show higher correlations with the severity of clinical features in EPM than MRI alone. (Annals of Nuclear Medicine 2009 23, 409-412.

In summary: MRI is the best method to diagnose CPM/EPM. It usually may not show the lesions until 1 to 4 weeks after injury. The CT scan is the worst at detecting damage. The spect images mentioned above might be a better way showing the damage that correlates to symptoms. The MRI signals usually detect the injury for a few months, but then shows improvements that do not necessarily correlate with the severity in symptoms. This is also true for EEG abnormalities. You may have an abnormal EEG, but improvements usually show within months but do not necessarily correlate to the symptoms you experience. Finally, trust your symptoms. If you had issues with hyponatremia while being hospitalized for a different condition, be sure to access your medical records and consult with one or more neurologists or radiologists to try to determine whether or not CPM/EPM is responsible for issues that seem unrelated to your original conditions.

I’m sorry for the length of this post. I hope it doesn’t ramble too much and that you find the information useful.

Many blessings!

 

UPDATE: 04/20/12….I just wanted to leave a little bit more information regarding imaging. I mentioned above the FLAIR imaging, and I wanted to explain exactly what that is.

Fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) Magnetic Resonance images stands for FLAIR MRI. It can be used in a two dimensional form or 3D form.  This type of imaging can produce an image without showing the fluid in the brain. This type of imaging is used to detect lesions in the brain, and is very useful in diagnosing demyelinating lesions. It is supposed to be a great way to determine lesions caused by MS. I do not have a lot of information regarding CPM/EPM lesions, but it is being used in diagnosing it along with standard MRI’s.

A Lovely Chart for Who is at Risk for Hyponatremia:

Hello, my friends and followers….

I know it has been several days since I’ve last posted, but it’s not because I’m losing interest, I swear. Please be patient with me. I am truly inflicted with EPM, and one of my biggest issues is with concentration and memory (which is EXTREMELY frustrating for a person who used to be able to open a 1400 page textbook and find a sentence in a matter of minutes).

Now, I read through a few research articles and I literally can’t remember what exactly it is that I read or where I read it 😦 However, in my ambition, I still believe I can read through 8 to 10 articles in a night and be able to keep it all straight, but I CAN’T.

I can’t remember what it is I read, and if I do remember something I read, I can’t find the article it was in, so I’m having to experiment with  methods to keep everything organized.

It’s not working very well. I never had to do it before, so I’m finding that my ability to do it SUCKS or maybe it’s not so much ability as the disability of  having EPM.

SO, here’s the thing. I have found tons of new information (or at least I think it’s new..can’t quite remember if I’ve added these things or not, and I tried to go back through previous posts, but can’t keep those straight either 😦 ) . Ok, so I hope it’s new, but if it’s not..PLEASE let me know!

Anyway, I have a lot of information that I want to add to these posts and updates. I will try to add information to older posts where I believe it fits, but I also don’t those who have read the previous posts to have to keep going back to find out about the new information, so I’m going to have to think about a way to keep updates easy to find. Maybe have an updates category/ post section.

Well, for now, here is a really helpful table that shows several categories for those who are at risk for developing hyponatremia. It’s something I just found, and I was surprised that it contained some additional at risk groups that I didn’t mention (didn’t think that was possible).

Normally, I would love to post a link to this, but I can’t. It’s a PDF, and I’m just not that PC savy, so if you would like to find out more, please research the article below:

Diagnosis and management of hyponatraemia
in hospitalised patients
P. Reddy, A. D. Mooradian

This was found in the International Journal of Clinical Practice,  October 2009, 63, 10, 1494–1508

(Okay, I lied: here is the link to the free article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1742-1241.2009.02103.x/abstract )

The information taken directly from the link above:

Table 4.   Drug-induced hyponatraemia
  1. SSRI, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor; TCA, tricyclic antidepressant; MAOI, monoaminooxidase inhibitor; MDMA, methylenedioxymethamphetamine; NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; ACE, angiotensin converting enzyme.

Anti-psychotics Phenothiazines Haloperidol Anti-depressantsSSRI’s TCA’s MAOI’s Bupropion Anti-convulsants Carbamazepine, Oxcarbazepine, Sodium valproate Analgesics & Recreational drugs Morphine (high doses), Tramadol, MDMA (Ecstasy), NSAID’s, Colchicine, Venlafaxine, Cymbalta (duloxetine)
Cardiac drugs Thiazides, clonidine, ACE inhibitors, Aldosterone antagonists, Amiloride, Loop diuretics, Methyldopa, Amlodipine, Amiodarone, lorcainide, Propafenone, Theophylline, Terlipressin, Unfractionated heparin (aldosterone antagonist) Anti-diabeticsChlorpropamide, Tolbutamide, Glipizide Lipid lowering agentsClofibrate Anti-neoplastic agentsCyclophosphamide Vincristine Vinblastine Cisplatin, Hydroxyurea, Melphalan Immunosuppressive drugs Tacrolimus, Methotrexate, interferon α and γ, levamisole, Monoclonal antibodies Antibiotics Azithromycin Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, ciprofloxacin, cefoperazone/sulbactam, rifabutinGastrointestinal drugsSomatostatin analogs, Omeprazole OthersBromocriptine
Table 5.   Non-drug induced causes of the syndrome of inappropriate ADH secretion (SIADH)
Non-osmotic stimuli CNS lesions Malignancies Increased intrathoracic pressure
  1. CVA, cerebrovascular accident; HIV, human immunodeficiency virus; TB, tuberculosis; CHF, congestive heart failure.

Nausea Tumours (neuroblastoma) Lymphoma, leukaemia, and Hodgkin disease Mediastinal tumours (thymoma, sarcoma)
Pain CVA Carcinoma of the uterus positive pressure ventilation
Stress Meningitis Ureteral, prostate, bladder carcinoma Infections (pneumonia, TB, aspergillosis, lung abscess)
HIV Encephalitis Carcinoma of duodenum and pancreas Bronchogenic carcinoma, mesothelioma
Acute psychosis Abscess Ectopic production of vasopressin by tumours (small cell lung ca, carcinoids Bronchiectasis
Surgery Guillain–Barré syndrome Cancers of the head and neck and nasopharynx Empyema
Pregnancy (physiological) Hydrocephalus Renal cell carcinoma Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Hypokalaemia Pituitary stalk lesion Osteosarcoma Pneumothorax
CHF exacerbation Delirium tremens
Demyelinating disease
Acute porphyria

I really found this article to be extremely detailed and informative regarding hyponatremia!! I really recommend it. However, it should be digested in small quantities because there is a LOT of medical lingo, etc. I consider it one of the top research articles for hyponatremia. I give it 5 stars 🙂

Anyway, please bear with me. There will be tons more to come. It will just take some time.

CPM/EPM: Count your blessings:

I realize that if you are reading this, then you have most likely been impacted by hyponatremia and/or CPM/EPM. For that, I am sorry. With the information I have found in the months since I was injured from it, I am absolutely certain that this can be avoided!

If you haven’t been impacted by it yet, thank you for being proactive in learning about it. As you age, you are more at risk for it, and it becomes more likely that you will have a more difficult time recovering from it. To put it bluntly, you are at an extremely high risk of perishing from it, the older you are.

I guess that’s true of everything, but if you have knowledge of what this is and how it should be prevented you have a better chance of surviving.

One day, I hope that awareness will become so universal that hyponatremia and CPM/EPM will be prevented from ever happening. Please make this one of your missions too. It takes just a few seconds to hit the “like” button or to send this link to your friends or family members. Getting the word out is what will save lives!

So, if you have been impacted by hyponatremia, I hope you aren’t facing CPM/EPM. In my previous posts, I listed the symptoms that impact most people who are injured.

I also touched briefly on the widely unknown measures that can be used to reverse the consequences of having your sodium levels raised too quickly and the widely unknown treatment options.

If you are not one of the ones fortunate to escape the devastating harm of the brain injury, I want to stress to you; you are not alone! As long as I’m able, I will try to help you.

I find one of the hardest things to do when you’ve been inflicted with CPM/EPM is to count your blessings. When I was diagnosed with it, I felt vindicated. I had returned to the hospital that had treated me 3 times to try to get help. I won’t go into great detail here regarding my story, but I was basically looked at as if I was on fire. I was turned away from the ER twice with the diagnosis of a migraine, and the third time I went back to the same hospital (with significant impairment), they wouldn’t do the MRI that I needed and requested. Instead, they wanted to admit me to the  hospital for further observation.

As I mentioned previously, CPM/EPM can be life threatening. I was demonstrating obvious problems, something akin to having a stroke, and they weren’t taking immediate action. I decided to go to a different hospital at that point. I hoped the bigger more prestigious hospital would be more equipped to handling the situation, as well since they didn’t cause the problem, so they would be more likely to diagnosis a problem they didn’t create. I was right.

When I found that I had CPM/EPM, I was terrified. When I had started to develop my first symptoms, swallowing issues and speech problems, I knew what was wrong, but I didn’t know very much about it at all.

I had just read the generic stuff online, and it was pretty scary. It said that I could go into a coma, die, or develop locked in syndrome. Once I knew I had EPM, each day that I woke up, I felt more and more grateful.

I’m alive and I’m not a vegetable. At the same time, I was absolutely terrified because these new changes were significant.

How would I be able to survive as this new me?

My doctors and my friends and family were incredibly optimistic, but as they saw improvements, I saw the differences, the changes, the difficulties.

I have to say with 110% conviction, IT IS EASIER FOR THEM TO SAY IT!

You are LIVING it. That said, I AM living with it too, and I can tell you with absolute certainty, unless you die, you will see improvements. It’s a matter of degree.

I can not guarantee that if you were in a coma for 3 weeks or suffered from locked in syndrome for 6 weeks, that you will ever be running marathons or even doing basic math in your head, but you are here and you are important and you can expect improvements.

Give yourself time, and continue to do what you’re doing, making an effort to get yourself help and to find support. Contact me if you need me.

There are online support groups that can help you. You can find people, normal people, struggling every day with the same problems you are, and there is nothing better than to know you are not alone.

Your friends and family probably don’t get it, and frankly, most of them don’t want to hear about it. Don’t judge them for that. In most cases, they just don’t know what to do or say. Seriously, before you became ill, would you act any differently?

That said, I know a few people who have it. I consider you part of my family if you have it. You have a private pass to my club. 🙂 And I will do anything I can to help you.

So, now you have one more  blessing to add to your list.

Here’s the thing, if you do have this, and you are like me. You’ll feel better knowing that there is at least one more person out there who has it. You aren’t completely alone, but that only goes so far. It doesn’t take the sting out of not knowing how YOU will be impacted by CPM/EPM.

Frankly, it’s depressing. It’s scary. It’s hard. I was diagnosed six months ago, and I’m still having issues. TRUST ME, my symptoms have improved greatly from where I was, but not being 100% back to my former self is difficult.

Trust me, there are days when I do cry. There are days when I want to go back to the hospital that treated me, and I want to SCREAM at the doctors.

I’m giving you permission to be angry, upset, cry, yell. It’s a benefit of being a member of my club, BUT what I refuse to let you do, is give up. You are not allowed to give up or give in, NO MATTER, how desperately you want to.

Further more, if you ever feel the urge that you just can’t handle it another day. You’ve had all the twitches and stutters you can take, I want you to promise me that you will get help!

You have to promise me that if one day becomes just too difficult to take that you will go to an ER, call a friend, and/or click on the link below:

http://www.ulifeline.org/main/page/53/SuicidePrevention?gclid=CI6dzPXYya0CFcvCKgod-F6sIg

You can actually seek help via online chat:

http://www.preventsuicide.us/hopeline-new/aliveim/index.html

You can always reach out to me as well. I’m here for you, and I KNOW how it feels.

With my next post, I promise to bring more information regarding CPM/EPM…like maybe how the symptoms can impact you or the doctors that you can reach for more help, experts if you can consider them that (they have at least heard of it).

Many blessings!

Post Navigation