Monday, December 13, 2010

Scary moments

Ciguatera flare ups can be really frightening, especially if tachycardia kicks in because when your heart is pounding it feels like something is very, very wrong. When the symptoms flare up, I get nervous that I've eaten more of it and it could be fatal, as it becomes worse with each time one gets it. Unlikely for sure, but not a pleasant thing to know could happen.

Last week I was coming home from a business trip, was quite tired from a busy week in a foreign country, hadn't quite eaten enough or stayed hydrated enough the morning of the flight. My fingertips were like raisins- totally shriveled for no reason- which was a red flag that the toxin was acting up. While switching planes, I began to feel worse despite drinking lots of electrolyte fluids and water (always travel with powder packets now). I boarded the next plane but got off before it took off (never done that before.. it was a bit dramatic)- I suddenly felt dizzy, then turned red with a pounding heart. They called the paramedics and by then I started shaking uncontrollably. I took a sedative. The paramedics said everything seemed okay except my racing heart, and that I was just having a panic attack. I missed my flight and sat at this airport alone for a few hours until I felt stable enough to fly home. Throughout the day I had lots of odd muscle and vascular pains in my limbs and chest/abdomen, including twitches. And of course my persistent nerve pains.

It is possible that I just had anxiety/panic, but it truly felt like something else was going on. A primary theory of how chronic ciguatera works is that it sits in the body's fatty tissue, then can become 'reactivated' into the blood stream when the lipid metabolism is active. Things such as exercise, stress, alcohol, caffeine, and nuts can do this. I had a small amount of several of those things in the preceding 24 hours, so I wonder if it altogether got my toxin going. Of course I'll never know but it sure felt uncomfortable and as if something was happening in my systems. Since then I've felt okay but very, very tired for the past week since this event and my eyesight has been irritated, something that's been better and worse in waves since I got ciguatera.

As always, I'm thankful for the degree of healthiness that I do have. But remain frustrated and tired of dealing with this annoying, and sometimes scary, condition.

One new observation that I made this day: I had successive nerve pains in symmetrical spots in the inside of my knees within the same hour. Usually the pains seem more randomly placed/timed. This argues against the 'it's circulating in your bloodstream' theory and more along the lines of it stemming from the spinal cord. I saw a comment online that someone in Hawaii believes it accumulates in the spinal cord fluid and can't get out. Hmmm. Unfortunately, such a mystery.

1 comment:

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