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Old 02-07-2008, 09:59 PM   #1
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Lettuce, tomato hold the Mayo?

I have been dropping hints and several of you already know my story.
Last summer I sought the services of a neurologist. The pain and tingling in my feet was getting worse. It had been attributed to pinched nerves from a surgery 6 years ago. He ran a ton of test and ruled out all the usual suspects. He had run out of testing options. The only option he had was to treat the symptoms. He offered to try to get me an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. I accepted the dubious honor. He did it. An “appointment” for early February. Not the most desirable time of the year.
I say an “appointment” because when you arrive you get an itinerary of appointments that occur over 3-5 days. Yes, not 15 minutes with a doctor not an hour, days with doctors. My first appointment was two hours with my attending neurologist. Did I mention he is cute, un-fortunately married and just today had his first child. Over my day here I had my eyes examined by a Neurological ophthalmologist, I was shaked and baked, a sweat test, EMG, MRI, X-rays, automatic nerve function test, involuntary nerve function tests, sensory tests. The result.
I have “Low grade small fiber peripheral neuropathy.” This means my sensitive to heat, pain and vibration. I asked my neurologist the all-important question. Will I fly again? He advised I find an alternate career. That will be up to the FAA. The problem is the condition will get worse over time and the medication I am taking has side effects, which I do not think I am experiencing that “contraindicate” flying. I will know more once I send the results of the test to the FAA. The good news is I should have a quick decision since I have a first call medical. He did advise me of ways to lower the medication dosage and try to stop taking it all together.

I want to thank you all for your good wishes and support. It means a lot to me. More when I know it.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:44 PM   #2
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Michelle,

I'm sorry to hear this, and hope that you are not only flying planes again, but continuing the critical work flying firefighting planes. I can tell you from a "ground-pounder's" perspective that when the planes and choppers fly over, it gives us a greater chance to be effective. But then, you knew that.

Thanks for what you do, I hope you can continue to do what you love to do!

Dave
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:44 PM   #3
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Michelle, I hope that things will work out for you to continue to be able to fly. I know that is your passion...your vocation and your advocation. Good luck and let us all know how things turn out.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:45 PM   #4
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Best wishes, Michelle. We pray that the reports are good. Keep us posted.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:49 PM   #5
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Hi Michelle,

I had uncles that were flyers, and my brother is wing commander of the Little Rock Civil Air Patrol. I also have a distant cousin who shuttles empty 737’s for FedEx (Maybe the greatest job in the world. He is sort of the international FedEx restaurant critic.) I know what flying means to those who are passionate about it, and who does who isn’t?

All the best to you. Please keep us informed.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:08 PM   #6
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Michelle,
As a retired USAF pilot, currently flying for Fedex, I understand your feelings. I will retire this May with 40 years flying experience. I hope you can do the same. God's Speed and warm regards. Our thoughts are with you.
Scott
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:14 PM   #7
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cats...

i hesitate to offer you much info in this venue.

small fiber neuropathy (sfpn) is basically a diagnosis of exclusion.

this means all of the testing was to rule out other disorders and conditions.

unless they also did biopsies and immunological markers...

many with sfpn have no known cause, after toxins, alcohol, hiv and diabetes are excluded.

the primary issue is the pain, while strength, coordination, reflexes and other motor functions remain intact or nearly normal.

of course pain is a big deal when we have it and it doesn't go away.

asking most physicians the 'will i work again' question is useless at best and damaging at worst.

because the capability to work at many occupations is defined BY the occupation, like dot or faa regulated professions.

and at many other jobs it ususally depends on how motivated the person is to find a way around the limitations...

so the world is FULL of folks who say "my doctor said yadda, yadda, and look at me now!"

yes the faa has guides that will be the primary criteria for your return to the air.

but given the basic nature of sfpn the flying restrictions will mostly be related to the MEDICATIONS used and effects from them.

IF you can limit the treatment to topicals and alternative med approaches...

like accupunture, biofeedback, diet and so on or a short list of meds...

there may be a very good chance of continuing to fly.

the key is an effective pain management strategy that doesn't de-rail flying.

hope this all works out 4 the best, whatever that may be.

cheers
2air'

did u ask the cute neurologist IF he had a brother or cousin?
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:37 PM   #8
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Michelle-
Both of my kids were on the ground fighting fires and depending on those firefighting planes. Your work saves more than forests.
The best of fortune to you.
Your "sometimes almost neighbor" from Union.
Sam
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:54 AM   #9
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Michelle:
I knew from other posts that you were at Mayo undergoing testing and had you in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry to hear your diagnosis and pray that the FAA will be understanding and go easy on you. I remember reading of your wreck (2 years ago?) and thought then how strong you were. You've proven you are a fighter and you'll be able to tackle this too.
When doors seem to shut on you make sure you're keeping your eyes open for that open window.
Please keep us posted on what you find out and how you're doing. You've got a lot of friends here on the Forums who care.
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Old 02-08-2008, 01:37 AM   #10
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Keep your spirits up! So much is determined by your 'mindset'... and we are all sending positive thoughts and prayers your way.

You're a strong gal.... and you GO GIRL! Like Rosie...You can DO it !

Hoping to celebrate good news with you at the Women's Rally next month!
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Old 02-08-2008, 07:31 AM   #11
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Michelle, that is amazing how much was done at Mayo. I knew they were "the" place to go, but really didn't understand why apart from good doctors.

Your diagnosis is unfortunate, but also pleasing, since it rules out a lot of more ugly things! I'm so sorry it was not something that could easily be cured.

Like 2air says (and I am more amazed at the depth and breadth of his knowledge every day!!!), it is all up to how YOU handle it, and not how the doctor says you can handle it. Your mind really does have a lot to do with your body and its functions, so keep a positive attitude about it and tell yourself you can do the things you want to do!

We're thinking about you and sending lots of good thoughts and prayers your way!! Hang in there!!

Susan
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:18 AM   #12
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Michelle,


Glad to know what it ain't, prayers go with you for what it may be. We will pray for cure or at least situation management that will allow flying. Been down that long term pain track and didn't like it. Persistence will out.
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:28 AM   #13
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Good morning, Michelle, and like so many others on the forum, have followed your story and wondered about the outcome. You have proven in so many ways what a strong person, fighter, you are when adversity visits. Best wishes for discovery of management methods for your problem that keep doors and windows open to your dreams. ~G
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:00 AM   #14
More than one rivet loose
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
cats...
this means all of the testing was to rule out other disorders and conditions.

unless they also did biopsies and immunological markers...
they did.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
many with sfpn have no known cause, after toxins, alcohol, hiv and diabetes are excluded.
still waiting a report on one biopsy and a heavy metals test.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
the primary issue is the pain, while strength, coordination, reflexes and other motor functions remain intact or nearly normal.
of course pain is a big deal when we have it and it doesn't go away.
this is the reason I am taking Gabapentin.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman

and at many other jobs it ususally depends on how motivated the person is to find a way around the limitations...
I will find a way. THe neurologist did give me some suggestions on reducing the pain and medication level.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
like accupunture, biofeedback, diet and so on or a short list of meds...
already trying those.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
hope this all works out 4 the best, whatever that may be.
thank you
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
did u ask the cute neurologist IF he had a brother or cousin?
No I was more focused on my problems THe ENT inrtern was cute too.
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