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One of the worst aspects of Lyme is the setbacks. Lyme is a disease that keeps on giving – one new symptom after another.
I’ve been quiet for so long on this blog, but I’ve thought about it and you who read it, nearly every week! I spent a long time this afternoon going back into my archives and rereading many of my posts. I’ve had so many up’s & down’s while treating this disease, I’d forgotten most of them. Perhaps I chose to forget them, who knows.
I think it’s time now for me to post an update on my progress and my life (or lack thereof) since it’s been so long since I have.
2011 has not been the best year for me, medically speaking. It feels like one big experiment-gone-wrong. I don’t remember a time this year that I fell well, really well. And it’s June already. Half of the year is gone!
I’m going to be honest. I feel worse now that I did at this point last year. Last summer I was in much better shape! I was excited and felt like I was finally on the right track in my treatment. Now fast-forward to this spring… I’m having a repeat of spring 2009. I’m going through the exact same symptoms, diagnoses, and experiences. I feel as though I’m reliving this part of my treatment.
Today is day 36 of a life-consuming pressure headache. At times, I’ve become non-functioning because of the pain of this headache. Some of you may remember I went through this in 2009 as well. My POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) is back with a vengeance, and my fatigue is insane. I don’t know about you, but I live on my couch. We have a symbiotic relationship.
Since I was following a similar pattern to 2009 we immediately thought of my eyes. Were my optic nerves swollen again? So in I went to be checked out. After many weeks of patience, and follow-ups, I was told on Friday that I need another spinal tap. I had 3 in 2009. I was really, really hoping those would be enough for a lifetime! I’m scheduled to have my 4th done this Thursday morning. Better sooner rather than later. I’ll know the results sooner this way, and hopefully have some answers. My neuro-opthamologist is LL and is concerned that I may be experiencing pseudotumor cerebri, a condition where the brain behaves as if there is a tumor present, but there is none. The number one symptom of this is unexplained increased intracranial pressure, which is what the spinal tap is for on Thursday.
However, I don’t know what to wish for. Do I want to have pseudotumor cerebri – another medical condition that is reversible, but needs medication and/or invasive assistance? Or do I wish for a normal, low pressure from the spinal tap and therefore have all of this be attributed to random Lyme-related symptoms? I just don’t know.
In addition to that development, I’m now completely off of my Lyme protocol. My LLMD and opthamologist told me to back off for now until things calm down. I was put on beta blockers a few weeks ago to calm my rapid heart rate and I’ll be referred to a cardiologist sometime this summer. I think the beta blockers have helped the POTS a bit and the fatigue, thankfully! My LLMD believes that m adrenals are a problem again and I’m most likely iron-deficient. I had a slew of blood tests done on Friday and I’ll learn more in a few weeks.
I’m afraid my LLMD is feeling overwhelmed by me. I’m not getting any better yet, and she’s afraid of making me worse. I’m taking this all one day at a time, but I really am beginning to feel overwhelmed myself!
I’ll be back soon. I’ve missed you all!
Wishing you health & healing,
Every day is a journey filled with twists and turns. Every day, if you smile, you will feel alive, my son. — Santosh Kalwar
I survived! My friends, I tilted and jilted and never toppled! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist…)
The tilt table test was (mostly) all bark and no bite.
My results were negative and the doctor performing the test said my responses were normal! Imagine that, something normal? Needless to say I didn’t argue the fact. He was a slightly condescending doctor – I have a feeling he doesn’t often perform these tests on 17 year-olds. Just a hunch, considering he asked if a “young lady” my age was still in high school these days.
I was hooked up to more sensors and wires and I could count, and was given IV fluids throughout the test. The nurse was awesome. I had an IV in under 5 minutes! Seriously, can I take her home and keep her? And, moving on, I had blood pressure cuffs on both arms, a device reading my pulse hooked onto my wrist, and was strapped onto the special table. It was actually really cool to see how all of the things worked. The nurses were laughing at me at one point when I couldn’t help but exclaim – “Cool!”.
I make no excuses. I’m really very easily amused.
Throughout the test they had to keep adjusting the pulse device. I don’t think it was working properly. And the machine was taking my blood pressure constantly! Or, what felt like constantly. I’m sure I’m not the only one here who has had to bite their lip when the cuff is tightened too much. Ouch! I’m often painful to the touch. My arms, shoulders, and neck are a mess today. After 20 minutes or so, they stood me up. And – not much happened! I was a little dizzier, a little more nauseous, and slightly lightheaded but it wasn’t too far away from normal for me.
After a while they sprayed something (I’ve already forgotten what) under my tongue to make my heart speed up as if adrenaline was kicking in. That didn’t make too much of a difference. I felt horrible though. Suddenly I was weak in the knees. It was taking all I could manage to keep my knees from buckling. My eye lids were drooping. My head felt so foggy. It was bizarre. But, of course, I couldn’t think of how to explain any of this. All I could say was “I’m so tired.”. I think they assumed it was because it was so early in the morning.
Soon they tilted me back down to a sitting position and that was when the fun began. They assumed that things would run it’s course now and nothing else would happen. Why am I always surprising doctors? As soon as I laid down and closed me eyes I was gone. I was suddenly so dizzy, and I said so. They rushed at the machines. It soon passed, but it wasn’t fun. I’m guessing that it had more to do with the fact that I closed my eyes after all the movement than with POTS though. Closing my eyes always makes me swim a little – and I’m always more dizzy. Oh well.
So, long story short, no POTS! We’re chalking all the excess symptoms up to Lyme, I guess. And I do have a vestibular disorder to boot. So it’s not really surprising. It’ll be interesting to hear what my doctor says next week. She’ll have the results herself by then.
I spent the rest of the afternoon watching movies, snacking on popcorn, and sipping tea with my mom. Nothing like Joan Crawford to distract a girl. And I’d forgotten how much I loved the movie “The Bone Collector”! Wow!
I was dizzy, nauseous, and lightheaded. But yesterday seemed to be a hotbed of other suspicious Lyme symptoms. I was also having some horrible abdominal pain. My entire abdomen is swollen and painful to the touch right now. Yuck. I wish my doctor appointment was sooner!
However, I think I’ve caught the worst of the recovery phase today. I’m not feeling well at all today. Sigh. At least I planned for this. I’m sad that I could anticipate this, but grateful that I’m able to know my body as well as I do.
Thank you, thank you for all of your prayers and thoughts this week!
Still feeling the love, molly
Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. ~ Helen Keller
Oh, what would I do without you all? Between those who follow the blog, my best friends, and my amazing family I truly have a wonderful support system. All week I’ve been feeling the love. I can feel the prayers, and intentions. And they make me stronger. Knowing I’ve got so many on my side, cheering for me, and walking with me as I travel my journey is not only just strengthening, but so reassuring.
I love you all, more than I can say.
Now – I came to the conclusion years ago that my world was different that most. Some of you can (unfortunately) empathize with me when I say that mine is a Tilt & Topple world.
“Hi. My name is molly and I’m dizzy!”
At any moment I can lose my balance. The room can swim around me, or I can suddenly be swimming myself. Walls can become my best friend and ceiling fans my arch nemesis. I’m careful not to bend down too quickly. And, I’m always aware of how my weight is balanced. Stairs are sometimes a tricky feat but then again, so is walking in general.
I’ve gone through vestibular therapy and training – twice- and lived to tell about it.
Bright and early tomorrow morning is the dreaded tilt table test. Yes, I have little doubt that tomorrow my world will seem Tilt & Topple once again. Sigh. I can’t avoid the tilt. Let’s just hope I don’t topple!
I’ve promised myself that I won’t lie here – to myself or to you. So I fully admit that I’m nervous. So nervous. I know that I’ll be fine, but I remember the way I felt when we first began to suspect POTS and I don’t want to feel that way again.
Weak. Lightheaded. Confused. Helpless.
Not to mention the nausea. Oh goodness. I’ve been more nauseous than usual lately, and the more dizzy I become the more nauseous I get! (We stocked up on lemons – warm lemon water is a wonderful nausea reducer. FIY.)
I don’t even know what I want the results of this test to be. Do I want to have POTS? It would help explain a lot! I don’t want another diagnosis to deal with though. But what would it mean if the test result is negative? I just don’t know.
My motto is: When in doubt think positively and never lose hope.