I’ve had foot problems going back to 1996, although I’m not sure to this day if they’re related to my CIDP. I started noticing numbness in my feet and hands around 2006, but it was minor and I didn’t worry about it too much.
In early 2007 I was prescribed statins (Lipitor) for cholesterol. Within a month or two I noticed a significant ache and weakness in my right forearm. I stopped taking it a few months later. In July 2007 I developed some kind of bowel irritation that lasted for 18 months. It included a lot of gassy pain, irregular bowel movements, a constant feeling of being bloated, etc. I had a number of tests, including a colonoscopy, and nothing specific was found. It went away on its own by the end of 2008 and hasn’t come back. I have no idea if that’s related to any of this.
The leg and hand/arm numbness and weakness started getting much worse late in 2008, a year and a bit after I stopped taking the statins and around when the bowel thing was winding down. Then in December 2008 I got a flu shot. I can’t say for sure that the numbness/weakness started getting worse as a result of the flu shot, but it was around the same time.
In 2010 I went to a neurologist. He ran some tests (EMG, etc.) and saw that something was going on, but couldn’t pinpoint it. He referred me to a neuro-muscular specialist who ran more tests including a muscle and nerve biopsy. Result: inconclusive.
From 2010-2012 it was up and down. Some days my legs would really hurt, and then I’d go days and days with no pain. But there was always numbness. Hands were the same, mostly on the right side, but it was easy to dismiss that as “mouse wrist” as I work on a computer all day.
By late 2012 things had changed. There was a significant “drop foot” on the right side, and the circumference of my right calf was half an inch larger than the left one. Also, I was having a lot of trouble with balance, especially on stairs, and overall weakness and low energy.
Back to the neurologists. Over the next few months I had more EMGs, a couple of MRIs, some blood tests, etc. This time they noticed my C-reactive protein (an inflammation marker) was through the roof, and that I had a very significant loss of muscle strength in my right shoulder as well as the drop foot. The neuro-musclar specialist declared CIDP in March 2013 and I started IVIG and Solumedrol (every two weeks) in May.
The treatments have been quite effective. While I still have some numbness, a lot of strength has come back. The positive effects of the treatments can last anywhere from a few days to the full two weeks.
So as you can see, it’s really hard for me to pinpoint any specific cause. Statins are in there, as is a flu shot, and gastro-intestinal issues, but it doesn’t line up perfectly.