L’hermitte’s, or as I like to call it ‘Kermit-the-Frog Syndrome,’ has been playing havoc with me this week. Pronounced ‘ler-meet’ and named after the French Neuro-Man, Jean L’hermitte in 1924, this ridiculous symptom is a form of nerve pain that is often triggered by lowering your neck. The result is a fuzzy buzzy shock that shoots down your body for a brief moment. Like a pesky wasp it comes and goes as it pleases, lingering just long enough to give you a fright or cause you to let out an involuntary jerk and a muffled mmmmurrrvvvvffff kind of sound.
Perhaps taking the lead from my own rule-phobic mentality, my MS doesn’t always want to play by the rules. L’hermitte’s is supposed to be a ‘brief’ sensation; and so it has been for the 9 years that we have been acquainted. But just recently it has decided to linger somewhat. I find myself being attacked by what can only be described as an electric-shock spasm in my right side. The fuzzy, buzzy, wuzziness has overstayed its welcome and simply refuses to leave.
Like a lot of neuropathic pain, L’hermittes isn’t particularly painful, at least it shouldn’t be. It is, however, terribly annoying and at times quite unnerving (excuse the pun.) You see, L’hermittes is a sign of damage, or demyelination, occurring in the spinal cord and it’s hard not to link the physical ‘pain’ with the visual damage that I’ve seen on my MRI results. Every time the Tingle-Taser* blasts through my body an image forms in my mind of little MS monsters laughing sadistically as they hammer away at my spine, delighting in the damage they are causing.
* ‘The Tingle-Taser’ – How about that for a new name? ‘L’hermitte’s’ is sooo last century…