Dear Me (in response to Phylor’s blog)

Cast all your anxiety

Image by Lel4nd via Flickr

Dear Me,
I keep asking myself why I hurt so much. Why do I feel like razor blades are cutting into my shoulders, why does my back feel so tight that it could break completely in half at any minute. My joints ache yet I haven’t been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis….yet but a friend told me she tested a false negative for five years. Is that something I am supposed to look forward to?
My mind and body are also anxious. It comes out of nowhere and I don’t know why it’s been happening lately. I do get anxious once in a great while but this has been going on for a little while already. Stop. OK, please stop. I’ll do anything to get rid of those pests inside my brain and my body that are hammering on my insides until they get through to my skin and I want to attack them like I would swatting at flies.
I’m not happy, nor am I happy. I feel dull, blah, not joyful yet not tearful. I want to feel something but I am incapacitated at the moment. Perhaps I fear my own fear. The world at large is a very scary place, I want to help, I can’t ignore it but we have no control over our lives. None. That is some scary stuff right there.
Just when I want to have an adventure I have to think about my Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Why did I have to get these together? I can’t even differentiate pain anymore because I ache all over. Muscles, joints, legs, all of it together, all the time. I am getting scared and angry at this stupid disease that doesn’t even have a cure for it yet. I’ve tried all kinds of pills, I’ve done everything I can do, yet nothing helps. Worst of all, some people don’t even believe that what we have is real. Why would anyone make up pain? So, there it is, my ups and downs, my sad to bad feelings, my utter feeling of helplessness in a world that is scary enough without any control whatsoever.

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On Being A Patient, Again

I never stopped being a patient, not since my thyroid went out of wack 3 years ago, not since I was told I had Fibromyalgia (and then told it was a “lazy diagnosis”)  Not since the prednisone, the hospitalization for eppiglottitis the 24/7 cough that would not go away, not since I was sent to the Pulmonologist, the ENT  the addition of 5-7 different medications. Not since my stint in the packed emergency room with an overnight stay in the hospital with the worst pain I have ever had in my life.

Here I am again, world! Stuck and pissed off with yet another chapter to my ever-so-boring and relentless saga of pain, chronic pain, auto-immune diseases, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, lack of energy and tonight,  a really bad, horrible, disgusted and angry, almost-in-tears mood.

The latest is that my Synthroid level ( TSH) is very, very low, too low said the doctors.  To those in the Club of Thyroid Disorders out there, (COTD- I made it up but it works) I know you will understand. The T4 is perfect. One doctor, the evil endocrinologist (lower case on purpose) sent a prescription (albeit the wrong prescription) in the mail telling me (no, writing me) he was surprised with my numbers but I should reduce the Synthroid medication (buzz word) to 50 mcg. First I was at 88, then 75, now 50???   That’s like telling someone who has the flu, to get up out of bed and do somersaults while standing on their heads, backwards.  I’m down enough people, now this? It makes no sense.

I wrote to my Guru Dr. in the City who handles the type of Autoimmune Disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) as in***THYROID DISEASE  to tell him. He suggested that my” Endocrinologist” do a simple TRF blood test and he guessed I might have something called Secondary Hypothyroidism ( I know, I could so be on Gray’s Anatomy with the amount I’ve had to learn and remember.)

Here’s the problem. The nasty, dull, mean-spirited endocrinologist (lower case on purpose again) who I am going to DUMP as soon as I find a new one, refuses to talk to me on the phone. Just for a couple of questions. “No, come in”,  he said. “I just want to ask him a question” I pleaded to his nurses “No, come in.”  I’m seething. First of all I have never heard of a doctor that won’t take a phone call for a question (I wasn’t demanding to speak to him at that moment) and that absolutely refuses to return a phone call from a patient. Second, he knows about my Guru Doctor in the city since I have copied him on everything. (Do you think this could be a terrritorial thing?)  Third, he did not believe that I had, indeed, a note from my Guru Dr. to suggesting he test me for TRF (whatever it is). No. What? You heard me. No. No phone call, no question, no way, no how. “It is too difficult to explain on the phone” the nurse parroted. Are you kidding me? I had one question about the blood (yes, in the lab in the office) test and a simple thought: wouldn’t it make sense to test the TRF level FIRST (as my Guru Doctor said) then to start on a regimen of a new medicine that could take 4-6 weeks to kick in? Isn’t that throwing the donkey in front of the carrots? (or whatever that stupid expression is.) Not to mention, I do not want to go back to a doctor that treats me with such disrespect (and he always has). I know he doesn’t know that the fifty dollar co-payment would be hard for our unemployed selves. I understand that, but, a 30 second phone call?

Well, you know what the answer is I’m sure. “No”. So here I am, calling new Endocrinologists (one is on vacation until the 20th, the other does not return phone calls) waiting to make an appointment. Oh dear Lordy, Lordy, it’s July and the doctors (at least the ones I’m trying to reach) are on vacation, and of course you cannot leave a message.

I have that creepy, queasy, angst-ridden feeling in my stomach. What now, I ask? I can’t reach any doctor AND short of sending an “I BEG of you” message to my Guru Doctor (which I will do anyway in the early a.m.) I will be sitting home in a flurry of frustration and anxiety. I will be sitting on my bed, fed up, confused and furious and yes, a little scared too. A little courtesy, perhaps DOCTORS?? Yeah, right.

I feel totally helpless and demeaned. I feel anxious and confused and ignored. Does anyone understand this?  Is this the time for an out and out binge on sugar- laden treats?  Can I run and hide from my anxiety for a few minutes with cookies and chocolate,  and that sweet powerful surge in energy? This doctor says Yes. Absolutely. Starting Now.

Fibromyalgia? Auto-Immune Disease? Chronic Pain?

Oh me, Oh my. All of the above and then some. Diagnoses dished out like those colorful candy buttons on a long roll of white paper. Whatever Dr. I see gives me another diagnosis. I’ve taken Cymbalta when the Dr. thought I had Fibromyalgia from the tender points she pushed on my body. Now, that technique is not valid for diagnosing the illness anymore.  After that I went to an auto- immune specialist for the Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and the new inflammatory disease he discovered.”You are a very sick woman” he droned.  I’ve been on Methotrexate, I’ve had Epiglottis, twice (severe throat pain is an understatement), and I fervently pray I never, ever get it again. I’ve been on Prednisone half a dozen times, Vitamin D, Synthroid, Plaquannel, Trazadone and more….

I was put on Cellcept (“the medicine that has the least amount of side effects”) to replace the Methotrexate (that landed me in the hospital) and after a month I couldn’t stand the extreme intestinal side effects (“only 8 percent of the people get it “). Lucky me!! I wrote to my Dr. and he said “give it another month” because I don’t think he believed how bad the side effects from this drug really were. I begged for some sort of stomach aid but he refused. “Give it another month,” he intoned flatly. End of discussion.

I’ve been off Cellcept for a week and a half and I am still suffering from the same severe intestinal side effects I ‘ve been having for two months. I wrote the good Dr. and told him I was coming in (as in squeeze me in) because the side effects were so overwhelming I couldn’t leave my house. “Oh, it must have been the Cellcept” he said.  (ya think?) My bad. He took me off the offending drug and promised that in 2-3 days I would be much better and all the symptoms would disappear. It’s been 6 days and counting…..

He did prescribe medicine to mask the symptoms and  when I take the meds they work, but alas, when they wear off, it’s really bad news. I can’t live like this. He threw around words like endoscopy, I added silently colonoscopy, what else? I see a trip to my Gastroenterologist in my very near future.

It’s been three years now since I started on this bumpy ride of chronic illness and I’m not much closer to a cure (I know there is NO cure), resolution.  I swing from wanting to get off all medication and trying to find the right one (the third’s the charm, right?).  I’m waiting a few more days and then I will, once again,  attempt to repair my own physically fragile life, to ask more questions and demand answers. Nicely.

Any suggestions? Any genius Doctors?  If I was incredibly wealthy I would head to the Mayo clinic but I don’t have that kind of money. Any rich donors? (just kidding).  I will also go to the natural pharmacist and discuss with him what might help instead of all these toxic medications I’ve been on. I know though, that genius Guru Dr. has another medication in mind for me so that’s in store for me soon, but not quite yet.

I’m done, pity hour (or 15 minutes) are over. I’m not going to think about it until next week, when I CAN TRY and do something about it. Have to go now. Guess where.