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there is hope with hands

I woke up one morning nearly six years ago feeling sicker than I had ever been in my life. I couldn’t keep down any solid food for two weeks, could barely walk for a month, and endured a variety of infections that had popped up throughout multiple parts of my body.

At the time, doctors could not figure out what set all of this in motion. I went through several rounds of antibiotics and was able to get back to a more manageable (not fully recovered) state within a month and a half.

Years of Symptoms and Pain

Over the course of the next few years, I experienced one complication after the next; mainly in my digestive and reproductive systems. I developed chronic pain in my pelvis, significant changes in my menstrual cycle, chest pains, and periodic loss of function in my right arm and leg.

Things finally came to a head in October of 2014 when I could barely eat, my menstrual cycle was chaotic, and my pelvic pain had reached an all-time high. At this time, my right leg and foot suddenly became so painful, spastic, and sensitive to any touch that I lost my ability to walk. My muscles grew extremely weak very quickly. I awaited the hysterectomy, which my doctor at the time had advised me to have, trying to just bide the pain with hopes that this would be a step toward (at least some) help.

Later that month I went to the hospital expecting just the surgery but ended up staying for nine days. That time was spent waiting for doctors to come up with a good reason for what was causing the relentless burning pain, hypersensitivity to touch, skin discoloration, and altered skin temperature in my right leg and foot. The doctors determined that the pain and loss of limb function were nerve related, and diagnosed me with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

In the journey toward “recovery,” I was given many different pain medications, but unfortunately, none helped. Some even caused more complications. I received PT and OT services, which did help little by little over the course of the next few months. Then, in January of 2015, my left leg and foot began hurting (though not nearly as much as the right leg and foot) and it became difficult to move normally.

Over the course of four months, pain and loss of function spread, most heavily affecting the entire right side of my body. I developed tremors, head and neck jerks, and convulsions. It felt like all of my senses had gone haywire. When my vision, hearing, breathing, and coordinated movement started becoming more challenging, I sought additional help.

Soon after, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and Babesiosis (a parasite that acts like malaria). I began a regiment of antibiotics, supplements, and nerve medications. While this treatment helped my digestive system get on a better track, it did not help to decrease sizable pain or impairment. It felt like I had hit another dead end.

So Many Improvements, in Just Two Weeks!

Then, in April of 2016, I was referred to Dr. Schmoe. I could tell from the initial visit that I had found some serious help. Over the course of two weeks, I underwent intensive full-day treatment (combination of vision stabilization exercises, physical therapy, electrodes, and sensory stimulus exercises) where we essentially reconditioned the areas of my brain that accounted for disturbances in my balance and all sensory perceptions. I was amazed at how quickly progress was made. Within two weeks, I made the following improvements:

  • My balance is quite stable. I no longer use a cane or any walking device.
  • I went from having frequent tremors, jerks on a daily basis to barely any at all.
  • I can move my head and neck in almost every direction possible without them being thrown into tremors or jerks.
  • My vision has drastically improved! I had great difficulty keeping my eyes steady. Now I can fix my gaze on an object even while I move my head in various directions, and even when the object is in motion. I can also use my peripheral vision, which I hadn’t been able to do for nearly a year. Riding in a vehicle is now not such a horrible experience!
  • My hearing has changed! I am no longer extremely sound sensitive (loud and/or abrupt sounds would trigger the loss of muscle use in my entire right side). In addition, I can now track all directions where sound is coming from – there used to be pockets where I could hear the sound but didn’t know which direction it was coming from.
  • My sense of smell has changed! The smell of certain foods that used to make me incredibly nauseous no longer do. I can smell more evenly out of both nostrils instead of having hypersensitivity in my right nostril.
  • My right leg, foot, and hip are moving more fluidly with the rest of my body, and with less frequent pain.
  • The intense pain in the right side of my face has decreased by almost half. I can move my jaw almost normally now, allowing me to speak so much easier.
  • I can breathe much better! My breathing used to be very shallow and labored. With such loss of function and weakness on the right side of my body, my ability to breathe had been compromised.
  • When I lose muscle control in my right side, I am recovering much faster. Vision stabilization exercises and stress/pain relief visualization are the biggest help with this.
  • My sleep is the best I’ve had in years.
  • I can be more active with my children and join them and my husband for family outings!

I now follow an at-home exercise regimen designed by Dr. Schmoe and continue to see improvements. Dr. Schmoe’s applied knowledge, keen perceptions, curiosity, and contagious enthusiasm have been invaluable. His diligence in explaining brain function and the ins and outs of my treatment plan put me at ease.

Having my balance and senses more stabilized is incredible, and the bonus has been that I have experienced at least some pain relief almost everywhere. I am very grateful for Dr. Schmoe and the wonderful care I continue to receive.

Monica