Twitching (& hyperreflexia?) after my mom's cancer diagnosis

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Jonsie150

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At the beginning of this year, my mom's doctors told her she likely had advance stage cancer. I didn't take the news well, of course. I wasn't sleeping, and I was crying on and off.

It was a truly traumatic experience. I started developing body symptoms the same week I got the news:

- It started with a vague pain that went up and down my left leg, this has mostly resolved itself.

- I began twitching. It started off with 1-2 episodes a week. It was around my body, but mostly in my left foot's arch. It would twitch non-stop for hours and drive me nuts. 2-3 weeks later the twitching became less-focused on my foot, and more all over my body (arms, calves, thighs, lip, etc). I get these daily. They're not quite as persistent as my initial episodes, but they're still very concerning.

- One night, possibly cause I was sleeping in a weird position on my belly, I woke up and found that my left knee was numb/locked up. I wobbled as I stood up but the feeling came back in a few seconds and I was walking fine. Later that day, as I did some stretches, the knee locked up and, as I straightened it out, I heard a "pop" and felt a lot of pain. It swelled up later that night, but there were no issues with the knee after that. I can still run, do yoga, etc.

- I also mentioned possible hyperreflexia, though most of these symptoms only happen at night as I try to sleep:

1. My body is jerky when I try to sleep. My shoulder or finger or leg (either side) might lurch a bit.

2. I get night sweats in my chest area. I wonder if its cause I've been clutching a body pillow too tight.

3. Early on, I had a routine doctor visit and my blood pressure was high at 140. Though I was also fairly stressed, so maybe it was that. (Sidenote: I mentioned my symptoms to my doc, but all he did was take a look at my physical from December and said the bloodwork looked fine. He said I was prob having a reaction to my mom's health.)

So those are my symptoms. I understand that the timing of it suggests that its a bad psychosomatic reaction to my mom's health. But I don't know why these symptoms still persist a month and half later.

My mom actually just had a bit of good news: her doctor says a new drug on the market can keep her cancer at bay for a few years. I was very happy for her. And I thought, maybe, this would alleviate some of my symptoms, but they're largely still there. I try to remind myself that I don't have any muscular issues, but I think I'm still spiraling. It's been a tough couple months. Do my symptoms sound like ALS?
 

lgelb

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I'm sorry about your mom, while happy to hear that there is a viable treatment option.

I think you have answered most of your own questions, though I would certainly keep in touch with your doc, and if he really seems to be on autopilot, well, there are other fish in the sea.

It is not unusual for stress to manifest physically and it doesn't magically settle always when there is better news. You can monitor your BP at home, which is the most realistic way to see if you need to do something about it. If it consistently runs >130 systolic or >80 diastolic, I would certainly bring it up with your doc. But some of the approaches below, including any activity that you enjoy, can help stabilize it.

No, nothing you've said sounds like ALS. Do consider counseling, nature walks, sports, meditation, bodywork, tai chi, etc. to help balance your stress and give your body a break. You seem to have a good handle on your feelings, which is half the battle.

Best,
Laurie
 

Jonsie150

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Thank you for reading and responding Laurie. I really appreciate it. I've been trying some meditation and yoga, but not regularly enough, I feel. I plan on getting out more. Perhaps do some easy hikes. Either way i need to do a better job of handling the stress.
 
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