My brain engine keeps my body on tract to do the things that it is supposed to do. The neurons (nerve cells) in my brain stem and spinal cord connect the nervous system with the muscles.
My engine jumped the track this past two weeks. The dots and dashes (metaphor) between my brain and my body have not been connecting very well during this time. I have experienced more frustration, more impatience, and more anger over this time. It becomes difficult for me to stop and rest even though I know I should. My ADHD brain just tells me to keep going.
Drowsiness, fogginess and zoning out ensues. My eyelids will start drooping, and I become quiet and slow to respond. Some nights, I will sleep up to fourteen hours, and never less than 10. While dealing with all of these things, I have no desire to leave the house. Last Thursday, I went to our memory cafe that we started. Within fifteen minutes, I was starting to zone out. This morning, I woke up alert and focused and went to church. Half way through, I begin zoning out, came home and slept for three hours.
The GI symptoms increased this week due to the autonomic dysfunction that I have been told is the cause. Balance issues have been present even to the extent of FOG (freezing of gait). I will get from my chair and sometimes walk fifteen feet before my gait will resume to a near normal gait. As I start walking, my gait will often veer to the right.
While there have been a lot of issues to deal with during this time, I'm thankful that my memory is largely intact, and thankful I can still have a positive attitude. There is life beyond diagnosis.
Hopefully in the upcoming week, the dots and dashes will connect! Maybe next week, my brain will tell me to stop and rest if the train jumps the tract again.
© 2016 Robert Bowles
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely
happy with Him forever in the next.
Autonomic dysfunction occurs when the nerves that control the automatic functions in the body become damaged. Examples of this are digestion, bladder function (sometimes referred to as neurogenic bladder), blood pressure, temperature and sexual function. This is referred to as autonomic neuropathy. Brain signals to the autonomic nervous system become interrupted. Most of the times we hear about neuropathy is with diabetes, but it can occur in other disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of symptoms that may be present. Dizziness and fainting may occur. For me, this began eight months before my diagnosis and continued for four months after diagnosis. Dehydration can even be a cause of this, but also nerve damage can cause it. I was ultimately diagnosed with neuro-cardiogenic syncope (stand up and would pass out) nine months prior to my diagnosis of LBD.
The urinary system may be involved....causing symptoms such as difficulty starting, inability to empty the bladder, not realizing the bladder is full and incontinence. Anticholinergic drugs are often used with urinary system issues; however, these would likely not be the drug of choice for someone with dementia. In situations not controlled with conventional drugs, Botox injections might be used via cystoscopy. My urologist has told me in the appropriate situation, Botox has yielded good results for this.
Difficulty digesting food has been a problem for me over the last fifteen months. It has seemed that the food hangs up in my upper digestive system and then is slow to follow the process to emptying. Some of the symptoms that may be seen in these digestive issues are nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, heartburn, abdominal bloating, feeling full after a few bites, constipation and diarrhea. Recently, I have been fortunate to adjust dosages of three medications that is making life much better.
Sweating issues may also occur.....there may be excess sweating or decreased sweating. Mine has fluctuated between the two.
I will cover only one more symptom......sluggish pupil reaction. This makes it difficult to adjust from light to dark making it difficult to drive a night. I have noticed especially in using my iPhone sometimes.
According to the National Parkinson's Foundation, it takes the stomach longer to empty, and it also takes longer for the food to move through the intestines with Parkinson's Disease. Abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies have been discovered in the intestines. With Lewy bodies in in the brain and in the intestines in Parkinson's disease has led researchers to believe that constipation is likely a core symptom of the disease.
We know that Lewy body disease (LBD) is a complex disease that reaches well beyond memory issues creating a "roller coaster ride". The one thing that is predictable about LBD is that it is unpredictable.
© 2016 Robert Bowles
Robert Bowles, Jr.