Confounded Confusion

This was originally posted on my blog at Diabetes Odyssey .

The problem with having so many health issues is that sometimes you just can’t be sure if a symptom belongs to an existing condition, a new problem, a medication side effect, or a combination. All I know is that I am worried, confused, and I just plain hate not knowing exactly what’s going on with my body.

Let me tell you what’s going on. It’s a long story so I’ll try to just stick to the facts I think are related to the current issue.

The problem (symptom) I am stressing so much about is discoloration of a toe and part of the top of my left foot.

Things I think might be related:

  1. This all started on February 1st (2015). I had a severe low that left me unconscious, with memory loss, and falling out of bed at some point. When I came out of it I had a pained, swollen foot and toe with a chunk of skin “scooped” out of the toe and a secondary scrape on that toe as well. I soon began to have a lot of pain, difficulty walking properly, discoloration (redness), and stiffness in the toe and foot. Doctors examined it, x-rays were taken, binding was done on the toe, and I was put on antibiotics as a precaution in case of infection. It was found that I did not have any broken bones so I thought I might have just sprained something. It took nearly two weeks for the swelling, pain, and difficulty walking to go away. Now I still have a scab where the scoop of skin was gone. It was a deep scoop, even though it didn’t bleed much, and a very thick scab formed and is healing slow.

The concerning thing is that the redness is still there. It is at it’s worst (darkest) when I do a lot of standing, physical activity, or sitting at my desk (knees bent, feet on the floor). It is at it’s best (lightest, almost non-existent) when I am laying down or with my legs elevated.

  1. Neuropathy. Back in 2007 I began to experience severe pain in my calves when I did a lot of walking. I also experienced ankle swelling after activity. At the time I was diagnosed with poor circulation. This diagnosis was done with nothing more than a medical history, list of symptoms, and a quick physical examination. For seven years I believed I had bad circulation. Then in 2014 I had actual tests done, ultrasounds of my heart and legs, and it was found that my circulation is good, well within normal parameters. I was then diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy. This diagnosis was made based on exclusion of circulation problems, medical history, list of symptoms, and a physical examination. I was put on Gabapentin to help ease the symptoms, and told to get my blood sugar under tighter control.

  2. Coronary Artery Disease. In 2012 I began to have terrible frequent heartburn. It wouldn’t be until 2013 that I would finally figure out that the heartburn wasn’t that, but heart blockage. I had a triple bypass and everything was honky dory after that. I changed my diet, I tried to get more exercise, I worked endlessly at improving my diabetes control.

It was after the heart surgery that I had the tests done on my heart and legs (and feet) for circulation. Apparently my circulation is just fine.

So, a rundown of my current symptoms:

-Swelling. Of my ankles, feet, and toes. This started back in 2007 but wasn’t a regular occurrence until after my heart surgery in 2013. Now it’s a daily thing and gets worse when I sit in a chair, do physical activity, etc… It is much less and totally gone when I avoid salt, and keep my legs elevated. Doctors have not given me a definitive reason for the swelling.

  • Discoloration. Of the middle toe and part of my foot below it. This is my left foot only, and the part of my foot that got injured back on February 1st (2015). It does not hurt, the only swelling is the “normal” swelling I get anyway, and the only numbness I get is definitely related to neuropathy, there is no stiffness or problems with movement, etc.


Is this a symptom of neuropathy? Is it related to the injury? Is there something else going on? Am I in danger of amputation (this is what scares the shit out of me)?


I have an appointment with my endo at the end of June. She was one of the doctors to look at the original injury in February, so seeing the continued discoloration might give her more insight. I hope she can give me some answers.

How has your BG control been? I know some people don’t like to reveal that info here. Elevated blood gucose for extended periods make it hard for the body to heal injuries. I can remember an abrasion injury on my leg pre-diabetes diagnosis. It took many months to finally heal. I was otherwise young, age 30, and healthy.

Do you use a CGM? If you don’t, that could help you get a better idea of your BG control overall.

You’ve certainly suffered your fair share of medical setbacks recently. I hope your luck turns around soon!

My BG control has not been perfect; I have my ups and downs, but for the most part I’m doing very well. I’ve dropped my A1c considerably over this past year. Yes, I do use a CGM and it helps a ton!