Patient Stories

Clint Shaffer

In early 2022, the bottom of a few of my toes on both feet was going numb.  While this was odd, I did not pay this the credence I should have and simply went about my life.  Stranger still, as the weeks and months would progress, that same numbness would begin to spread.  In addition to this numbness, I noticed I didn’t have the same level of energy I had less than six months earlier.  Weight training I would have done with ease less than one year earlier had come to knock me into the ground and leave my nervous system feeling so inflamed that I found a task as simple as getting to my feet to be a horrible endeavor.  Even though I have both hypersomnolence (like narcolepsy) and an underactive thyroid, I was still well connected with my body and knew something was off.  That combined with the odd and progressive nature of the numbness on the bottoms of my feet would cause me to make an appointment with my primary care provider.  From that office, all blood tests came back normal (apart from those previously known to be abnormal) and the results of a vascular study revealed no abnormalities.  At this point, my nurse practitioner seemed to be stumped which is when I requested to see a neurologist.  From that first exam, the neurologist would order for me a nerve conduction study and a lumbar puncture.  The combination of those findings from the lumbar puncture in tandem with those of the nerve conduction study made it all too clear that which I now officially had… Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP).  I was in shock.  At first, I couldn’t digest what I had been told.  I have spent the last 13 years putting all my efforts into bodybuilding.  I know many might only think vanity when they hear ‘bodybuilding’  but I was only proud of my accomplishments and I was never a jerk with it.  Bodybuilding was my identity and now, just… gone.  Though, I had to focus on the future and my treatment.  I have been very lucky with my neurologists thus far.  The first order of business for my neurologist was to get me on IVIg.  I started infusions at the end of February 2023 and I began feeling a little better after about four or five cycles.  I might have relapsed in there somewhere but when considering my co-morbidities, it’s difficult to say for certain.  I can’t say I feel better than before my diagnosis but I do believe the infusions are keeping the CIDP from getting any worse.  My wife has been supportive and very understanding through all of this and I would be much worse off if she wasn’t here helping me.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep something of who I used to be as time and treatment continues.  I know I’m very lucky to have gotten a diagnosis and IVIg treatment so quickly.  I certainly do recognize that.