- Severe Dry Eyes: This easily causes scratches on my eyeballs, and basically using my eyes at all during this flare becomes impossible. I have gel eye drops, but they are not always effective because the moisture can disappear in a matter of a few blinks.
- Light Sensitivity: When you’re in a dark place, your pupils dilate to receive as much light as possible to be able to see. When you’re in a bright place, they’re supposed to constrict so as much light doesn’t enter your eyes. Mine don’t always constrict, so brightness becomes painful to me. Sometimes it gets to the point where I cannot watch TV, use my computer and have to wear sunglasses indoors at night in a dimly lit room. I cannot live without my dark sunglasses. This causes severe migraines.
- Variable Vision: Sometimes I wake up and one eye is blurry, or both are. Sometimes things become clearer than usual, so I don’t need to use my glasses for distance that I had before I got sick. It’s strange.
- Chronic Nausea: Even when my Gastroparesis is not active, sometimes I get periods of nausea that last weeks. I can barely manage a meal a day when this happens. I tend to lose about 10lbs during these times. Gravol, Zofran, Dicletin – nothing helps. I just have to wait it out. There is also variable vomiting during this time, my stomach just spasms and all the food comes out.
- Chronic Diarrhea: Ew, I know. During my chronic nausea periods, my intestines also spasm and pushes the food out the other end. It’s an unpleasant period.
- Constipation: Sometimes my intestines do the opposite of spasming. It does nothing. Your brain is supposed tell your intestines to move along like gentle waves to send the food alone, but sometimes none of these signals go through and it just sits in me for up to 5 extra days. I get bloated and look like I’m several months pregnant.
- Abdominal Pain: It’s just pain. I don’t know why, but it just hurts and it becomes hard to stand up straight to walk when this happens.
- Brain Fog: It becomes impossible think. It’s hard to describe unless you experience. You cannot have a straight train of thought, it’s like trying to see through fog but you get nowhere. I can’t find the right words, sometimes I mix up my words and say the opposite of what I mean and it affects my short term memory. It’s frustrating because I’m remarkably smart but this makes me feel like an idiot. It’s like I’m reading but taking nothing in. Sometimes I can’t even fully take in TV shows and have to re-watch them as if I’m studying for a test.
Various Other Symptoms
- Overactive Bladder: It’s frustrating. I have to wake up to pee all night. I was given medication for this, but it worsens my neuropathy overall. I know have a liquid schedule, I must monitor what I drink and how much. I also have to make sure not to drink much around bed time. It’s difficult with my POTS, having to keep getting up to go to the bathroom just worsens my heart and it feels like a disaster. Who knew one tiny problem could cause so many issues.
- Recurrent UTIs: I get repeat infections of my urinary tract because my bladder cannot fully empty, so bacteria gets in. This is a disaster, because when I have an infection, my immune system gets more aggressive and attacks me instead of the bacteria. ALL of my symptoms get worse with infections.
- Temperature Intolerance: I shiver very easily. I sweat buckets with the tiniest increase of temperature. I have to carry around extra shirts just because I sweat so much. It’s disgusting. My body cannot cope or adapt to temperature change very easily.
- Pain Hypersensitivity: Even tiny pokes can hurt sometimes. It’s ridiculous. I also bruise easily.
- Chest Pains: I have no idea why they happen, I just usually look out to see if I have more smyptoms of a heart attack. If I do have more symptoms, I go to the Emergency Room, but usually it’s not serious. It’s just annoying to be in pain.
- Dry Mouth: This can cause gum disease and enamel damage. It also becomes hard to speak when my mouth is so dry. It is annoying more than anything.
- Numbness: My hands and feet can go completely numb. It’s better than pain though, I suppose.
- Shortness of Breath: This is frustrating, I cannot breathe so I cannot talk. It’s like my lungs are closing up and I’m breathing through a squished straw. It’s so hard to gasp for air. Obviously breathing is vital, I have a puffer for now, but it’s a symptom of my neuropathy.