I’ve refrained from discussing something I’ve been dealing with for a few years now… and I really haven’t a damn clue why. Its not like you you guys deal with me every day (you’re welcome), I can spare a blog post to bitch about an issue I have, right? I have a doctor’s appointment this morning and this will be with someone new. Everyone I have been accustomed to dealing with has left to pursue other specialties so now after four and half years, I have to start all this shit from scratch.
Ok, so four and half years ago I went to see my doctor about some hot spots and pain I was getting in my legs after walking a few miles. My doc took some blood tests and I actually had the arteries in my legs scanned. Considering my mom died of “clots,” they didn’t mess around. My blood test came back with elevated cholesterol, but thankfully legs all clear. I was given meds and told to follow up in a few weeks.
At the follow up, I had another blood test, but I also handed over a log of every damn thing I put in my mouth from my last appointment and asked “ok, what do I need to change?” I was told they found no problem with my diet (even with the copious amounts of coffee – yes, decaf… even I play pretend).
It was frustrating, but I had to face the fact that maybe it was time to eliminate the one real vice I still had… smoking. We talked about Chantix, they wrote me a prescription and I got started with the standard three month supply.
I didn’t want to quit. I enjoyed smoking. I could still happily sit in the midst of a pack of smokers, as long as it was outside. I hated that shit on me even when I did smoke. But considering smoking over infinite prescription medications, I just faced the fact it was time to end it. My kid was also very vocal about how much they hated my smoking too. I weened myself off smoking and the meds in a month and half.
The 2nd blood test showed that the cholesterol meds they put me on were successful in bringing down the cholesterol, but it spiked my triglycerides times three. The medication was quickly ceased and I was to start taking fish oil instead.
Over the few months after quitting, I probably slapped on about 10 pounds, but that didn’t bother me. I expected worse and knew I’d eventually knock it back off. I ran most of a 5k my company sponsored us to go on with Spawn right with me. I say “most” because we kept having to stop and wait for the rest of our group. We had a blast.
Then I got tired.
I got the kind of tired where I slept 15 hours and could still sleep another 10 on waking. I had no energy, my brain was in a fog and I had trouble focusing. My doc upped the dosage on my anti-depressants. I didn’t feel depressed though… not the usual self-deprecating apathy that usually marks an onset of depression for me anyway.
The pain got worse.. and it spread.
The second 5k, a few months later than the first, I had to sit down and rest over half a dozen times and I couldn’t run at all. My body felt like it was on fire, I couldn’t catch my breath, everything ached. All the people I used to have to wait on, were waiting on me when I finally finished.
The pain in my legs started to get even worse. It wasn’t just hot spots anymore, it felt like nerves, joints, and slowly… muscles. My back started to feel like it would snap in two. I had to strain just to lift my feet. Try to imagine wearing pants made of thick silicone, at least 4 inches thick, nice and heavy… then walk. Walking across my very small house seemed like a huge feat almost beyond my grasp. I didn’t want to scare my kid, but I sure felt like soon I would simply not be able to make it. The weight of course started sliding on. I usually did 5-6 miles a night. Now I just couldn’t do anything.
My next blood test indicated a flux in my thyroid. I was prescribed the smallest dosage to start. It actually seemed to help.. just a bit. It didn’t eliminate anything, but the volume was turned down some.
More doc visits, the thyroid meds are lowered as my blood indicates it is working “too well.” I’m a bit upset by this considering its the only thing that has seemed to help and I feel like they are taking it away.
My cholesterol is still elevated and I’m asked how I take the fish oil. I explain that I will take an entire handful if I’m sitting down to a burger, but if the fat in my meal is an avocado I don’t take it at all. My doc nods, this is fine to them. My hands and feet are now often swollen and numb, I’m constantly having to shake feeling back into them.
The third and my final participation in a 5k happens a few months after the last one… one in spring, one in summer, and now this in fall. By the time I was a third of way through it, every participant had long gone home. I gave up upset and frustrated with my own body. I wanted to scream.
My doc took a job at a cardiac facility, so now I have to talk to the backup whose addiction to the prescription pad is terrifying. Who gives a refill on a z-pack for fuck’s sake? I usually only deal with them when I know I have a sinus infection and my regular isn’t available.
I’m having to explain all this new shit and the old shit, that seems to be going wrong and I’m trying to explain how serious it is for me considering how much it simply feels like I’m deteriorating. I get dubious looks from the nurse and scrips for pain meds that only seem to make my stomach even more acidic than it has ever been while barely touching the pain. I add pepcid to the list of shit I take a day. Yeah, we’re now up to four pill types now.
I do some research on my own. I try a multitude of different vitamins and minerals and/or combinations. Nothing really seems to make any significant difference. The amount of water retention I end up having to deal with is obscene, water pills only seem to help a little but at this point I will take it.
The backup doc refers me to a rheumatologist… and then left too. The rheumatologist does not think what I have is arthritis. I told them I agreed. At this point I’m thinking… over four years and no one has been able to help figure out what the fuck is wrong with me… is it because they don’t give a shit and care about their quotas more… or I’m just not severe enough to bother? I’m tired of paying fucking co-pays for incompetence, indifference or both.
My masseuse friend managed to unwind so many knots of muscles I had snarled from having to work 10 times as hard to do a 10th as much as I used to, I could not be more grateful. If I could have jumped around, I would have. Between my chiropractor and friend, I have finally tapped into a little more range of motion.
I am middle aged and I move worse than most people I have seen with walkers in their 80’s. It may not kill me anytime soon, but it lowers my quality of life enough to think death would be a great fucking vacation.
Out of curiosity, I started googling various combinations of what I’d been dealing with… cholesterol, weight, exhaustion,pain,water retention,depression, etc… all these seemingly unrelated items and systems that seemed to be on a downward spiral of failure… 98% of the results I got… thyroid. Yes, there was cancer here and there as well, but mostly thyroid. Did you know symptoms can manifest or worsen when you quite smoking? I didn’t.
How much smarter would a doctor look if he just fucking googled sometimes?
Do I have a family history of thyroid problems? um, just my mother, aunt, one uncle, a grandmother, a great-grandmother… I’m sure if the last uncle lived long enough, he probably would have had it too.
I called the office I go to, explained my irritation and how I was not putting up with another 4 years of this shit. They had two new doctors on staff to replace the ones who left, one who specialized with the endocrine system. I had to take a blood test, again, and get a physical, again. This time, I weened myself off all medications.. no synthroid, not the 4 ibuprofen I’ve been taking daily, the 2 pepcid, the anti-depressants, all of it gone.
Today I will find out the results. I demanded they do a full thyroid panel. Apparently, they don’t do a T3 test without written orders from a doctor but hopefully 2 out of 3 might present a bigger picture. I am not optimistic this one will give any more of a shit than the last one, but I’m also at the point that I don’t really care if I get really ugly either.
In 2010, I took Spawn trick-or-treating in a gorilla suit until they begged me to stop from exhaustion. That is who I am. Not this half mummified walking dead piece of shit I have become. Unfortunately, there seems to be little to nothing I can do on my own to regain my old self. I have to rely on the half-assed expertise of the disinterested out to meet their quota.
Have you guys ever dealt with something like this? If so, what did you do? Are you still dealing with it? How do you continue to function?