Pickled for medical science

They’ve pickled a bit of my skin – it’ll take eight weeks for them to count every single nerve fibre in it apparently (poor bastards) and then they compare it to the skin of healthy women my age. They’re looking for a lower than average count. I had a skin biopsy at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on Wednesday in case you were wondering. I’m not the subject of a new Hammer Horror movie, though I do sometimes wonder.

On the nerve conduction tests (of the small nerves), which I also had done, I can’t feel heat very well or vibrations and sometimes I think cold is hot. But they need the skin biopsy results back to build a fuller picture.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was last there, they tested my large nerves and they were fine but at the Royal Brompton Hospital I had a positive tilt test. This basically involved being strapped to the most uncomfortable GP-style bed (so more like a slab of concrete) with massive, velcro harnesses and being tilted into an upright position. I had to stay there until the blood pooled in my feet, I couldn’t feel my legs at all and I eventually fainted – after they’d given me a large squirt, under my tongue, of GTN spray (my old friend – remember the time I had to lie on the floor in Sports Direct?! Let us never speak of it again).

Now, loads of folk are prone to fainting so I won’t be leaving my body to medical science just yet but it can be a symptom of small fibre neuropathy, which is what they are ultimately looking for.

I’m back to see the neurologist next week but it’ll be a few weeks until all of the results come back. If it turns out to be small fibre neuropathy and the MRI on my knee (I’m being investigated for a cartilage issue from running) comes back clear, it could be the nerves that are messing with this too and nothing mechanical at all! We wait and see. It’s a minefield.

The pain is getting pretty rough at the mo though so I’m really hoping I’m getting closer to a conclusion as I’m not walking well this week. I think I’m pretty much hopeless for the time being as far as exercise goes too. This year’s London Marathon is slipping out of sight! Argghhh!


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