Nov 26, 2010

Hair Loss

Ahh, my wedding day... Possibly the best 'hair day' of my life.

I'm looking back at my pictures, only five years ago and wondering what the heck happened to my hair??

For the past few weeks, my hair has been falling out madly: long golden strands linger on every shirt, jacket and pillow case my head has touched.

As I start to catch up to my husband's receding hair line (he's bald!), new purchases have included....


OK...I give up. Why is my hair falling out?

Remember the old line, "It's better to look good than to feel good?" I agree.

I can handle fatigue, headaches, even brain fog...but please, 'mystery illness', please don't take my hair!

Nov 21, 2010

sick puppy

My sweet puppy wasn't feeling so hot last night. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't get himself comfortable. Then he vomited. More squirming. Still uncomfortable. This went on for hours.

After a lengthy consult with 'Dr. Google, DVM', I decided to keep him in our bed overnight so I could monitor any changes in his status.

This morning he seemed to be feeling better. He went outside to do his business and I noticed a strange whitish object in his poop. I took the hose to wash it off so I could see what he had eaten. As the water hit the object, white foam emerged like a bubble bath. SOAP. He had eaten a bar of soap.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He's trouble, but darn he's cute :)

Nov 19, 2010

gratitude, part i

Time to focus on the positive. My life is full of wonderful, happy moments that don't seem to make it into my blog often enough.

This is my cat. She has been with me for eight years since I adopted her from a shelter. She rescued me.

I love her and her and her trance-like stare. Her purr has magic sleep-inducing properties.

Today I am grateful for my precious cat.

Nov 12, 2010

crazy fatigue

How tired am I?

Can't even put it into words.

Nov 9, 2010

Is a 1:640 ANA titre meaningful?

When I first started feeling ill, my psychiatrist wondered if I might have Lupus.
While my mood responded to antidepressants; the constant fatigue, fevers, chills, migraines and brain fog led him to think that there was more going on than a psychiatric issue.

He tested my ANA and found it positive 1:160

Referred to Rheumatologist. Disaster. She didn't want to test me further because I was a psychiatric referral. Depression causes fatigue, therefore I had a mental health issue and was waisting her time.

My new family doctor wondered about my ANA and re-tested it. It had increased to 1:320

Referred to an Internal Medicine Specialist. She ran a panel of autoimmune tests which came back negative. She diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and told me my ANA wasn't meaningful.

Fast forward - one year later. I am feeling quite a bit better, but fatigue and headaches, brain fog still happen with alarming regularity. Often I'm fine on a brisk walk, can lift heavy objects without breaking a sweat...and then suddenly... I find myself short of breath doing the simplest of things. Anything physical or emotional stress comes at a cost. A busy day-trip to Detroit with my mother led to a three day sleep, with fever and aches.

But my mood is fine!

My psychiatrist is still not happy with my physical symptoms, and still doesn't believe that they are related to depression. He did another ANA last week which found a titre of 1:640 (Speckled).

He is puzzled by this, as a year ago, I tested negative for anti-thyroid antibodies, anti-phospholipid antibodies, anti-Sm, anti-Ro, anti-DNA....

Clearly, something is still wrong with me. Is a 1:640 titre important? I keep feeling like there is something else going on in my body, but running out of directions.

Nov 7, 2010

the wisdom of ERP

Can anyone explain to me why some physicians are belittling, condescending, and obnoxious towards certain groups of patients?

Today's lack of empathy in medicine comes from ERP, who has chosen to vent his hostility on what he calls "Nutty Patients". He rants about how much he hates to give them a "real" diagnosis (such as Lyme Disease, Lupus, Crohn's) because:

"These diagnoses are like crack to them. They LOVE it. They FINALLY can now say that have a real problem and go on to blame nearly every symptom they ever have on it!"

Of course, ERP makes a distinction about these diseases and the ones that he doesn't believe are "real" (such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or IBS), because according to ERP, these are all "psychiatric disorders".

I'm sure in ERP's worldview, my critique of this repulsive post will be written off as "nutty", but I wish that ERP would take a few moments to work on some empathy skills.

ERP - do you know why patients "love" to have a "real" diagnosis?

Perhaps it is because physicians like you, people in positions of power, take pleasure in degrading the experiences of your patients when they cannot be easily verified with an 'objective medical test'.

Do you really think that patients enjoy feeling awful day to day, losing their jobs, dreams, relationships whilst being told that their problems are "all in their head?".

Perhaps if you were in this position, you would understand that being given a diagnosis means having some legitimacy. I have actually felt at times I would rather have a diagnosis of cancer than an unexplained illness, just so that I wouldn't have to deal with the shame of being labelled "nutty".

For the record, I have been evaluated by top mood disorder specialists (Psychiatrists) who agree that my symptoms are not psychiatric in nature.

Trust me, I would be happy with a mental health diagnosis if it came with an effective treatment. But ultimately what I would like is to be afforded some dignity by medical professionals.