Neuropathy and Diabetes

By SongDude Latest Reply 2011-06-25 09:39:36 -0500
Started 2011-06-17 12:31:21 -0500

I'm dealing with a pinched nerve in my neck, which is affecting my shoulder, and my right arm. It is a little bit difficult to type, as I'm sure that you would understand.

Over the last 25 years, I wasn't aware of being a diabetic. I remember the different episodes I suffered from, not knowing why they were occurring - sugar crashes (I thought that it was heat stroke, due to playing gigs outside in the summer), and the opposite of those, which had me on the floor, sweating profusely, trying to meditate - in order to get my heart rate down. It all makes sense now.

The high sugar problems happened much more often, probably on a ratio of 8 to 1, but there were days where I was what the little old ladies called 'peckish' - in other words, fasting - trying to lose weight. I would drink liquid nutrition, like Slim Fast Ultra - and that was it. I put my body through quite a bit, ignoring the fact that there was something really wrong with me.

What an idiot I used to be… subconsciously trying to deny that there was anything wrong!

Now, here I am - testing my bgl three to four times a day; watching what I eat, taking medicine, and giving myself shots of insulin. I can see where many people would be 'bummed out' with this lifestyle, as I've read many entries here at DC from people who hate having diabetes. To all of my friends, and everybody else out there:

I really don't mind living like this. It has improved my health tremendously, and my weight loss is nearing the thirty pound mark - just from diet changes, and following 'the rules'. My doctor is very pleased with my progress, and so am I. Even though I am insulin-dependent, and my lifestyle has changed, here's the kicker:

If Bret Michaels (the musician of 'Poison' fame) can live with Type 1 diabetes, then, so can I. For the record, I'm not a 1980s heavy metal fan. (haha)

If I can do it, then, everyone here can do it. Every day that we all wake up, and have the ability to share love with our families and friends - is a wonderful day. This is what makes our forum here in DC so fantastic - we can learn from one another, and share positive vibrations too.

May this entry make everyone feel empowered by the good vibrations. May you all have a wonderful weekend.
Your SongDude :)

31 replies

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-06-24 19:42:44 -0500 Report

Glad your MRI tube time went better thn you feared. I was lucky that my 6 hr MRI only involved having my lgs in the machine. Don't know how I'd feel being in that narrow place for any length of time. There are a few open MRIs in my area.
Hope the results come soon and you get some much needd answers.

SongDude 2011-06-24 13:03:41 -0500 Report

nana3times - thanks for your advice, your support, and encouragement. I have adopted many techniques that you described, and, it helps. I await the MRI results… we'll see what happens, and, I'll keep you posted. :)

nana3times 2011-06-22 14:43:10 -0500 Report

I feel your pain!! I have neuropathy in my right shoulder. For yrs I was borerline diabetic, but I did nothing to help prevent it. I LOVE TO COOK AND LOVE TO EAT.
Anyway back to the shoulder, I went to the dr for yrs and he would just give me a shot in it thinking I was just over working it from sitting at a desk all day. Then I went to a neurosurgeon and had to have two disc replaced in my neck, thinking they may help but it didn't. Finally after nerve test they fins out I have neuropathy in my shoulder. I have medication but the only eliminates some of the pain. Best thing I have found it to find a good position to have your computer and go from there and do not sit at the computer all or write too often, limit yourself. If you are in an office have the HR find you a great chair and a desk that fits to you not everyone else! It is their job to help.
hope this helps you and believe me I do feel your pain.

SongDude 2011-06-20 18:56:14 -0500 Report

A late reply to Type1Lou -
You're like my second-cousins, at your age. My parents married late for their time, so I know what you mean about the old-school, since my parents were raised during the Great Depression. Fish on Friday during Lent, and Vatican I Latin Doxologies before the Liturgy Of The Word. On my First Communion, I was the kid who was carrying the Towels for Communion on my right arm. One of my great uncles, probably hungover from drinking some of my other great uncle's wine, leaned over to my father, and said:
"But jeekers, Peter! Here comes the bartender!"
Back to reality, here at DC.
It was unbeknownst to me that I had relatives on my paternal side, who were Type 1 diabetics… why would anyone in the family want to keep a secret like that, for Pete's sake? My paternal aunt summed it up for me:
"Honey, the family didn't want you to have problems finding a wife, and having children."
Old-school, indeed. My kids are fine, thank goodness, and grown up.
Now that I'm divorced and remarried (not officially, as both of us really want to be sure - before we take the 'plunge' again), and find out two months ago that I'm Type 1, and that I've been torturing my body for many, many years - I'm glad that someone caught it, as I was close to losing my right kidney. I do feel better, and I'm grateful for my physician. I'm also grateful for my life - we should ALL be grateful, and I'm happy that DC came into my life. I keep on learning, every day. Buona Sera, fratella mia. (Good evening, my sister.) :)

Forgive me my earlier gender-specific transgression, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to look at a profile or two, would it, now? Whoever Anonymous is, thank you for the heads-up - the 'psst' was a really nice touch, as I now sit here in complete, befuddled embarrassment. For any of my other posts to you, I also apologize, if I referred to you as a, err, umm - a man! Woops… even I, a New Age man, can really screw up. Let's start over again, shall we?
Your SongDude

Anonymous 2011-06-20 19:33:00 -0500 Report

Pssst: Type1Lou is female

SongDude 2011-06-20 20:07:46 -0500 Report

Psst… (whispering) Thank you… I will never do this again… can you hear me? Anonymous, I don't know if you're male, or female, so I'll stay gender-neutral, as I type this… ssshhh… be vewy, vewy quiet… I'm hunting bwain cells…

SongDude 2011-06-20 12:45:00 -0500 Report

To MrsCDogg, 50jewels, and Copperchef - thanks for your replies. 50jewels, you're right - massage therapy does help. My wife is a registered massage therapist - we have an inversion table, as well as a a dedicated massage table with a chin rest, hot stones, you name it. To 'energize' the stones prior to heating, she lets them rest in the sun. It helps me immensely. MrsCDogg, keep on bein' a 'diabeat' (oh, yeah, baby - can ya feel it?) - we have our own special club, and it's very exclusive! Copperchef, thanks for the shrimp vs. egg comparo - now, I have no excuse to whip out my 7-foot cast net in Store Creek on Edisto Island, SC, when the tide starts coming in. Shrimp Scampi, anyone? nzingha - yes, your problem with diabetes is called neuropathy - it affects me like that, as well. With most diabetics, the numbness and tingling sensations usually start with the feet… if the disease goes untreated, it can affect your eyesight, and some people even have amputations, if it goes too far. nzingha, ask your doctor what is appropriate for you - but I can tell you this - exercise is important. If you can, go out walking every day - a little bit at a time. Get the evil processed sugar, and those evil Hot Pockets out of your life; and, while you're at it, keep an eye on your bgl (blood glucose level) with a meter - I use a Bayer Contour - find a good spot to lance yourself (mine is on the inside of my right middle fingertip… go figure [haha]), and have the strip ready in the meter… once again, talk (write) to JCrowley - if you don't have a meter, he'll send you a link via personal message - you may qualify for a free one. Well, I'm off to pick up a check - it is over 100 degrees where I live at… I hope that I don't disappear (!).
Your SongDude

SongDude 2011-06-20 07:12:45 -0500 Report

nzingha, sorry I'm so late posting you back. Write to Jralphs, JCrowley, or Gabby - they can tell you everything that you need to know. Thanks for waiting!

MrsCDogg 2011-06-19 20:54:08 -0500 Report

I look at it like this. I don't really have a choice, I have to live with it. It's the card I have been dealt, it's the hand I must play. So, I can either spend all my time feeling sorry for myself or I can get on with the business of living. In the words of Andy from the movie The Shawshank Redemption…"You get busy living, or you get busy dying." Since I'm not ready to leave here yet, I choose to get busy living.

50Jewels 2011-06-19 19:13:58 -0500 Report

The numbness, tingling and pain are quite annoying, but then I was in a car accident over 20 years ago that gave me similar symptoms that have never completely gone away. I do massage therapy at least once a month and it seems to help ease some of the symptoms. Maybe it is all in my head or maybe it is just the fact that I can completely relax and let my therapist get the circulation going.

nzingha 2011-06-19 18:56:38 -0500 Report

I am here asking…will i ever get rid of this weak nervous feeling in my 2 legs? I feel like I cant walk or stand for 2 long…tho i dont let it stop me from my daily walking…also this numbness that comes and goes in my 2 fingers on my left hand? these r the things that this dreaded disease do to u?!

SongDude 2011-06-18 06:07:27 -0500 Report

Whether someone is Type 1 Diabetes, or, Type 2 - it doesn't mean that any number in the game plan is exclusionary. We all suffer - pretty much - from the same demon, regardless of where - and how - we arrive there, as it were. I'm open to writing, and, communicating with anyone who suffers from diabetes - whether you are Type 1, or, Type 2. May the weekend bring you what you need, and everyone out there who isn't sure where they are at - go see a doctor, and get a finite outlook - so that you know where you stand. This is a 'diabeat' brotherhood (uh-huh, oh yeah) - so, get your boogie shoes on!

SongDude 2011-06-18 01:00:20 -0500 Report

Pynetree, and Copperchef… it has been a business doing pleasure with you guys. No sweat, no strain - no lower back pain. I love the name 'Pynetree', as it reminds me of the K2 days… if you all love me, then, you'll get where I'm coming from… I love you all, no doubt in my mind… ARRGGHH…!

Copperchef 2011-06-17 21:08:37 -0500 Report

Although I am a Type2, I am dedicated to making the necessary changes for my own health also. It is good to feel the empowerment that comes from positive change.
This is a great website for insight, advice and support. Welcome aboard.

SongDude 2011-06-18 06:13:21 -0500 Report

Copperchef, if your screen name has anything to do with cooking great food - show me the way to do it, without introducing the evils that may have been contributory to all of us 'diabeats' (mmm… uh-huh… I'm feeling dat diabetic beat…) getting ill. Smile like you mean it…

Copperchef 2011-06-18 07:50:15 -0500 Report

Sure Songdude, the most important thing to remember is the more fresh and local you eat the better. By that I mean less processed foods and definitely no fast foods. I have switched over to organics, like chicken raised here locally and also local bison and grass fed beef. Eating things like Swiss chard, broccoli rabe, organic root vegetables, while using healthy oils like olive and grape. It really does not cost that much more, besides you start feeling better.
Start out slowly, look for websites that promote healthy cooking and adapt it to your needs. I live in the midwestm so fresh fish is a problem! It is very expensive and hard to find. So for me and my family, we eat shrimp, salmon and black cod. All wild caught and flash frozen, no farm raised. Still haven't figured out exactly what it is that they put in those fish pellets they feed them.
We support our farmer's markets. We blanch and freeze lots of different vegetales during the growing season. This like survival of the fittest. It is a learning process to adapt to the present situation. Just like music, you have to learn the notes in order to play the song.
There is alot to learn but it is not hard. What are your favorite foods? Make it fun by getting involved. Take local classes, find farmers markets in your area. Look for local purveyors who can steer you to the places where their products are being sold. That includes local bakeries too.
We have found a local bakery that uses a lot of whole grain flour in their products. There to, remember to stay away from the white. Things like brown rice, wild rice and quinoa are healthier for you. A lot of what we eat is out of convenience so therefore we take the easy way. The days of white bread and bologna are over. We need to eat healthy to be healthy.
For me, Music and cooking go together. I really like to listen to people like the Jeff Beck Group, Led Zepplin, Cream, Clapton, Fish and alot of other bands too numerous to name. But, what they and their music does is inspire and that is what cooking is about, being inspired to create.
Sorry if this seems like a rant, but it is just that I am passionate about food. My diabetic downfall is not from what I have eaten, but from genetics. Along with my wife, we were both predisposed to the disease by our families. We held out the longest, but have both succumbed to the disease within the past year. Keeping it undercontrol and enjoying our lives now is what we are striving for. We both plan on living long and productive lives for many years to come.

SongDude 2011-06-20 07:09:00 -0500 Report

Apparently, Copperchef, mine (Type 1) was genetic, as well. However, I share your passion for great food - I used to own my own little restaurant, serving 20" pizzas, paninis, zeppolis, you name it. Being from the old school, you had me from Jeff Beck to Clapton - Fish… well… ya can't re-invent the wheel, but, three out of four ain't bad. Your post, at least to me, wasn't a rant - being passionate about food, while making your life better shows everyone that you genuinely care about your family and friends, and that you want to stick around for awhile. Getting back to the food (oh, yeah)… I have my own grocery list. Whole-grain bakery breads, brown and wild rice, Stevia, and though I love shrimp - they run counter to my cholesterol; however, fresh tuna cooked on the grill (charcoal, thank you, there's no other way) with damp mesquite chips adding smoke, and flavor, are really great. Mahi, grouper, and when you're in the creek - flounder, trout, and spot-tail bass - are great, too. Still, the first three fish I listed, along with flounder, are my favorites - they have less of a skeletal structure within the filet, which makes them less of a chore to eat. Happy Monday, Copperchef - have a good week!

Copperchef 2011-06-20 07:41:46 -0500 Report

Thanks Songdude, appreciate the reply. You have a great week too. I worked in a couple of seafood resturants here, but I do know about cholestrol and shrimp. Shrimp cholesterol is quite high like you said, but for comparative purposes, an equivalent amount of cholesterol is found in about a 2oz / 60 gram egg, So, cholesterol wise, you can eat twice as much shrimp by weight as you would egg.
So, from a cholesterol point of view a serving of shrimp once a week, maybe even twice a week, seems OK, all things being equal, as long as it replaces the whole egg serving you were allowed once or twice a week.

SongDude 2011-06-17 16:27:08 -0500 Report

Type1Lou, thank you for sharing about your family. Yes, we have made many advancements in medicine. When the Hippocratic Oath gets caught up a in a 'tug-of-war' between the insurance industry, and practicing physicians - like right now - anyone who has a medical problem is going to get slipshod medical care. Thanks for your friendship, too!

SongDude 2011-06-17 16:20:50 -0500 Report

MewElla, Teresa Rose, and granniesophie - thank you for your replies. granniesophie - you hit the nail, right on the head. I have bad disks at C3, and C4. I learned this from when I was taken to a hospital in 2009, after suffering cardiac symptoms. It was my left arm and shoulder/chest area where I went numb, and had pinched nerve pain there, as well - I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to the ER of a local hospital, where I had a complete lab work-up, calcium, everything. I also did a stress test, where they injected me with an isotope so they could see any blockages in my circulatory system. My heart rate was way up there, and doing fine; so, they ruled out cardiac symptoms. So, they looked at the film of these stereo multiple-image x-rays (I was in this machine, like an MRI or a CT scan, where the x-ray camera made two complete 'orbits' around my head). They said that it was neuropathic, and, then showed me the cervical area in my spine where both disks were bulging - one bulging to the left, and one bulging to the right - and said that I needed to see a neurologist. "What a (insert expletive here) deal," I said. I went to see the same neurologist/neurosurgeon who had done my previous two back surgeries, and he concurred the ER doctor's diagnosis. Being a singer professionally, I told him that surgery wasn't an option, as a fellow musical friend of mine had the same problem with his neck vertebrae (C3 & C4), and when he had his surgery, they went in through his throat. His singing was never the same after that, so I told the doctor that I'd wait a bit , before someone destroyed my 'pipes'. Now, here I am… and a fellow 'diabeat' (that's my slang for all diabetics - like a really funky bass line, huh?) give the same diagnosis, and she doesn't even have a shingle for medical practice. granniesophie rocks! Teresa Rose, you know that you ROCK too, as you're a musical cat, like myself. MewElla's back in the house after her vacation, and, Gabby (my fellow nut) watches over us, so, everything here at DC is complete. Anyone with similar experiences - please read this thread, as well as post, so we can all benefit from what happens to different 'diabeats' (yeah, baby… dats a cool word). Thanks to all of my friends here at DC, and if anyone thinks that I take up a lot of space here at DC, well, that's okay. You'll get your turn, I promise.
Your SongDude

granniesophie 2011-06-17 17:13:05 -0500 Report

It was a disk they took out-not a nerve-silly me! Getting older sucks :)
You are right about the voice thing. They went through my throat too, and my vocal chords were paralyzed for 3 months. I thought it was kind of fun-I am on the phone alot for my job, and people were always telling me to speak up cause they couldn't hear me! One guy even yelled at me and I had to explain-boy did he shut up fast! When I got mad at work I would yell at my boss and it came out a whisper, everyone thought it was funny-not real effective!
My voice came back all on its own one day-just like that! (I think it was afraid of the shot my surgeon threatened to put in my neck to relax my vocal chords!!)
I understand you're not wanting to get it done because of your singing, which is so very cool-but I guess you have to weigh the relief you will get against the chance of losing your "pipes". You are very brave either way and I admire that!

Keep me posted, I'll help any way I can.

Teresa Rose
Teresa Rose 2011-06-17 21:26:30 -0500 Report

I have a slipped disc at my L4&5 that is poking into the nerves in my spine. I also have 2 buldging disc on the other side of my spine at the L4&5. I did physical therapy & traction & it didn't help much. The therapist released me and said there was nothing else she could do & told me to just take my pain meds and do the exercises that she taught me and to keep my back as straight as I can. She said it wasn't bad enough for surgery and that I would just have to live with it. I'm trying accupuncture next week. I know how you feel about protecting your voice. I hate it when I get colds ect. & it messes my voice up. I love to sing & I have been a singer all my life and like you I would never let anyone mess that up. I had 3 surgeries in the past 2 yrs. and they put a trach. in my throat and it messed my voice up a bit. I am just now beginning to get it back. In my video you could probably hear a little bit of gravely sound. I am doing voice exercises to work on it. My last surgery was in Nov. the day before Thanksgiving. Its takin a long time
to get it back. Pain verses something you love - I say deal with the pain until you have no choice. - Bless you - Teresa Rose

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2011-06-18 04:02:38 -0500 Report

I haven't had any surgery for my sciatica, but I have had to get 2 shots in my spine in the last 7 years. Yes we all have to deal with in one way or another. I am not a singer but I do love to paint and draw (art). But some days I'm not able to do as much as I would like to but those days do pass and then I can paint another pretty pitcure.

granniesophie 2011-06-17 14:07:42 -0500 Report

Hi, I had the same thing in my left arm-turned out to be an issue with an actual nerve pinched inside a vertabrae and I had to have surgery to remove the nerve. Now I have a plate holding that area together in my neck and full and not numb use of everything but my thumb-which never did come back all the way. The doctor said this was not caused by my diabetes by an actual bulge in my spine C-3 I think he said it was maybe. Anyway, yours might not be neuropathy, maybe you should get it checked out by a neurologist? I have some limited mobility in my neck-can't back up my car for beans, and the thumb thing is annoying, but I can live with it, but I got instant releif from all the rest of it!
My point being, maybe there is something they can do, and you don't have to be so uncomfortable. Diabetes is enough of a pain, maybe they can fix this other thing! :)

Teresa Rose
Teresa Rose 2011-06-17 12:41:05 -0500 Report

You are a special person, very unique! I had alot of signs that I had diabetes & I told my doctors & they wouldn't never test me years ago. I wish I would have known sooner because now I'm having to deal with things that could have been prevented.-Rock On Friend!!! - Teresa Rose

MewElla 2011-06-17 12:35:36 -0500 Report

Very well said, SongDude…isn't it amazing how we can sit by and ignore our health until one day, we suddenly "get it?" I know I am healthier than ever now that I have the diabetes and totally watching everything I do and eat. It shows in the big weight loss and the way I feel. This was a blessing in diaguise to me.