Ants Crawling All Over Me

Ever feel like something’s crawling on you?

That's how I have been feeling lately. And it drives me nuts.

My mind is trying to convince me that there are ants crawling on my feet, lower legs, and even upper legs and arms.

Late last week, the Diabetes Online Community got a glimpse of my craziness when I randomly tweeted:

GET OFF ME!!!! (Me at desk, yelling at imaginary ants crawling on my arm...)

Yes, that's what it felt like.

However, there haven't actually been ants crawling on me... Instead, this has been a mirage created in my mind by the return of mild neuropathy. An unwelcome acquaintance who's crashed my D-Life party in the past, and sadly appears to be back knocking at the door in the form of those annoying imaginary ants. You may recall the story of my Burning Toe and how I've handled the on-fire feeling in the past. Lately, it's not reached the level of shooting pain or burning. Rather, the neuropathy's been presenting itself through a tingling sensation. The kind where it feels as though something (read: ANTS) are crawling on me. On my toes. Feet. Legs.

Everywhere, whether I'm sitting on the couch, at the kitchen table, laying in bed, or at my desk in the office. It's a bit unnerving. And it freaks me the Eff out.

But that's what I want to tell you about, because that's why I got into this whole blogging about my diabetes thing in the 1st place. To tell those "real" stories about what these early signs of complications are really like and how people just like me are dealing. Not the horror stories focusing on fear and “amputation” and “death.” I wanted to hear the versions that doctors never told me about what D-Complications actually feel like before those extreme end-game stages.

Actually, back in 2005 as a newly-married guy, those early toe-tingling and foot burning experiences from early neuropathy is what took me online to search for those just like me. And that's how I found Kerri and so many more of those real stories my soul was searching for. And so much more.

So, maybe this all means it's a good time for me to share my own real story about this.

About what it's like when it physically feels like there are bugs crawling on you, but you know there's something more medically sinister at work. About how you then ponder the other D-Complications that could be crawling around unnoticed inside, lurking and waiting to show themselves. Is there more going on... What about the fact that I can barely wear contacts anymore as I once did, thanks to weakened eyes and the mild retinopathy that still lingers? Or how my teeth and gums are wounded soldiers in the war-zone that is my mouth, a battlefield plagued by strained nerves and root-canal welcoming forces? Or my drowning mental state that everyday tries to stay afloat, even while carrying the heavy bricks of depression and worry? Or all the other issues that may or may not be actually connected to diabetes but make me feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.

Good. Bad. Ugly. And Everything in Between.

Including this one, about the D-Complication we'll refer to as Bugs of the Mind.

Now, some relevant info that pertains to these metaphoric insects: I'm sure that the actual presence of ants in my house hasn't helped. They swarmed earlier in the year and times before that, and we went all Chuck Norris on them with an Ant Elimination Plan. They went away. But now they've returned with the recent heat-wave, and on several occasions in the past week or so I've seen them in the sinks, on counter tops, and even on the living room couch and floor. A couple times, a stray ant has accosted me and made the daring attempt to scatter across my skin. I've aimed to execute these loan scouts, and searched for hidden base camps in the usual or even unlikely spots in the house - but have found no widespread invasions like before. Of course, all of this has convinced me I'm surrounded by ants and am under constant attack - even though I know that's not actually the case.

That fuels the mind games that Ants Crawling All Over Me.

I've written before that this D-Complication has appeared as a warning sign that my D-Management is in need of improvement, and so that's what I'm going with here. No need at this point to turn to any medication, as I'd done years ago when the pain was impacting life. My BGs have been all over the place, making even regular glucoaster rides on D-Coaster Day look like a calm line. Bringing Larry The Loaner CGM back into my life briefly has been helping lately, and hopefully soon that leads to the symptoms calming down.

This CGM may very well be a Mental D-Ant killer. Or so I'm hoping... because honestly, this all bugs the crap out of me and makes my skin crawl.


Jules said…
thanks for this post. my son was dx @ 8months and i often wonder what his health will be like at my age (30's), this is probably the push i need towards the pump so we can better control his D. im sorry you have to experience this:(
I feel your pain, my friend. I HATE those damn invisible ants. Do you also get the random twitches from time to time? I hate when they happen. Especially in front of people. Makes me feel crazy. :(

Hope your ants go away again real soon!
Unknown said…
Loved the insight you provided here Mike! Thank you for this. Like Jules, I too wonder about Joe's future.
Lilly said…
Thanks so much for sharing this. Helps me understand a little bit more about my husband's symptoms. Hopefully, your "ants" will go away for you.

Take care,

Unknown said…
Thanks so much for the post! I haven't had neuropathy before, but I have had retinopathy in both eyes, and while the journey sucks from the beginning of the complications, it does get better! I can see well in my right eye and acceptable in my left after surgeries in both. My BG is under better control now.

With that, I still feel depressed and upset for some of the same reasons you talk about. Just remember you aren't alone in this.
Kim said…
Thank you for talking about this kind of stuff, as I know it can't be easy. You're giving me a glimpse of what that could be like, and whether it's in my future somewhere or not, I'm grateful that you're willing to share your experiences with it.

I'm sending big hugs your way!
Jeff said…
TV voice-over: "CGM. Ants go in, but they don't come out."

Seriously, though. I hope the ants go away soon.
Judi said…
I'm so sorry the neuropathy came back. The one thing I've learned from the Dex, which to me is pretty worthless compared to the Nav, is that at least when it beeps it reminds me to test. Many times it's way out of line, but it does make you do more tests, which does help you keep your BG better.
Meagan said…
Ugh, I feel for you Mike. Sorry you are having to go through this. It is hard to stay positive when this stuff happens, but we are all here for you. Thank you for sharing this and talking about all aspects of D. Praying for your good health!!!

P.S. Love that you went "Chuck Norris" on those ants. :)
Lora said…
We had an ant invasion too. It drove me nuts! They even attacked my air condition unit and broke it.

Florida + summer = sucks without air!

Anyway, the air guy told me that its common and to scatter ant killer around the air cond. So I went a little further and spread it around the entire outside of the house :)

Don't laugh(or roll your eyes)... it worked. So now when I see the ants a coming... I do the same thing and they haven't been bad. Maybe once a year.
Kelly Booth said…
Hopefully you get rid of both kinds of ants you have – both kinds are annoying. A lot of people have success with Alpha Lipoic Acid and that is something you can get OTC. A good B complex vitamin helps also. The ALA will help repair the nerve, the B will help with any pain.
shannon said…
thanks so much for your honesty, mike. i appreciate these glimpses into the real world of living with diabetes, warts (and ants) and all.
Simon said…
Hey Mike
I wish there were something I could say in terms of neuropathy and D complications that would make it all better.
Each and every day I awake to a body riddled with them. Whilst I have never really "learned" to live with them either emotionally or physically I just keep coming back to the folk who have helped me in times past. I find comfort in the words of others like yourself, I ride your lows and soar to your heights knowing that while the road ahead is uncertain, the security of trusted friends is sure.
Thank you for such a heart felt post
Unknown said…
Seriously...a Hockey Guy outta Detroit??? I just read your comment on K2s blog...Joe (and Dave, my hubby) are HUGE Detroit fans. So, so cool. I think I love ya even more Mike. If that is even possible.
Stew said…
Based on your recount of neuropathy, I'd rather have root canal anytime of the day than undergo that procedure. Just no way! Not even with my brentwood dental clinic doing the procedure.
Anonymous said…
Google this :

Jinn Possesion, ants crawling under skin, Ruqyah treatment
Anonymous said…
I have started yoga and its helping me to minimize the D-complications

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