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Sunday, November 27, 2011


Today's challenge:

Quote Unquote. Grab a quote from this site (  (type in any word – see what comes up!) and use that quote to set you writing.

The following excerpt is from a blog post on WegoHealth:

According to the Mayo Clinic:
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition in which your legs feel extremely uncomfortable while you're sitting or lying down. It makes you feel like getting up and moving around. When you do so, the unpleasant feeling of restless legs syndrome temporarily goes away.
Restless legs syndrome can begin at any age and generally worsens as you get older. Women are more likely than men to develop this condition. Restless legs syndrome can disrupt sleep — leading to daytime drowsiness — and make traveling difficult.
The reality for many - who have RLS - is so much worse than that description. Their lives are miserable - with symptoms that almost never go away, and never having enough sleep. The RLS symptoms alone can make it a depressing, and demoralizing existence. When you add in most people's misunderstanding - including many doctors - about this disorder, patients often feel as if they are alone - with no support system.

I have Restless Legs Syndrome. At least, it appears that I do. It was diagnosed by a Physician's Assistant based on my symptoms, which I described. I am always suspicious of diagnoses made this way but perhaps there is no biological way to diagnose this condition. Like many people, I tend to downplay the condition because it is not life-threatening. It is an inconvenience. But as many of my posts in the blog have shown, as well as in the full blog post excerpted above, it can be much more than inconvenient.

In the past several years I have had an occasional episode of RLS. It did not continue for days on end so I never considered it a really difficult situation. After surgery on my left knee, however (total knee replacement), that leg went into frequent bouts of RLS. They became so constant that I could hardly sleep. At the recovery center I mentioned them but nobody had a solution other than taking the maximum amount of Percocet allowed me. This really did not do the job. I mentioned the situation to physical therapists, who were concerned and relayed the information to the surgeon, and then to the surgeon, who essentially shrugged. I think he was sympathetic but he had no solution.

After months of dealing with it I went to my regular physician office and saw the PA noted above, who prescribed Requip at a very low dose, to see how it goes. She had the good sense to order blood tests and a thyroid test as well, to rule out disorders that have restless legs as a symptom. The tests were all negative so we are assuming I have a neurological condition, that RLS is nerve-based.

The Requip is working. Sometimes I have to take an additional dose but most of the time one dose at night takes care of it. Sometimes I go without, just to see, and sometimes that works. When I travel on a plane I make sure I have the medication within easy reach and that I take some before boarding. I am starting to take it when going to see a movie as well. Recently I saw a movie with family and took one, then another later, and still, by the end, was uncomfortable. I am sure that my stretching and getting up and down was as discomforting to my family as it was for me.

I am bothered that it appears that this condition is in the same place as Chronic Pain Syndrome, for example - no clear biological proof that it exists. I hope that this changes in the future and that future treatment is based on the biological cause. I tend to be embarrassed to admit that I have it, yet whenever I do the response is sympathetic and real, and I learn that many others are dealing with it as well.

My surgeon and the PA had no explanation why the surgery might have brought on the increased incidence of RLS.  However, about 72% of persons with RLS also have osteoarthritis. I hope, too, that this connection is explained in time.

This post was written as part of NHBPM – 30 health posts in 30 days:

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