Friday, January 06, 2006

a rant about my health

Note: I try to keep this blog in the PG to PG-13 range, but the following post is rated R for language. You were warned.

Now a lot of this won't be new for any of you who have been paying attention to my medical health over the past 8 months or so, but I feel the need tonight to have a nice good rant and get some things off my chest. I have some sort of fucking neuropathy (which simply means "nerve disease") that is causing vertigo, loss of coordination, memory problems, and even amost seizure like episodes of severe vertigo that include tinnutis and visual disturbances. So, this all started one afternoon in April when I was at work, I became so dizzy that I could barely walk to my car when I snuck out early. Now, my job title was Emergency Response Team Coordinator, and I am a fucking EMT, I've sent people to the hospital for less than what I was experiencing. Yes, it was a case of do what I say, not what I do.

I've been to several different doctors and had all sorts of fucking tests run, it's not an inner ear problem, an eye problem, MS, or Lupus. The most likely culprit is a vitamin B-12 deficenicy that was at it's peak about 2-3 years ago. A severe deficenicy can cause demylenation of the nerves, a degredation of the protective sheath around the nerves, causing all sorts of nervous system problems, depending on where the damage is. In my case, it's central nervous system, meaning whatever the hell is wrong with me affects my brain.

Yes, I have fallen a few times, and seriously injured myself twice, both my left arm. Ya know what? I haven't broken a goddamn thing, all soft tissue injuries which with time, narcotic painkillers, and one round of physical therapy, I healed. My shoulder is nearly to the point where I can't tell I nearly had to have surgery on my left rotator cuff.

And even better, I seem to be adjusting to the nerous system problems, or else finally accepting them. Whichever, I haven't had a fall since October, and I'm just getting used to not being able to remember shit in the short term. Things could always be worse, right, I mean I could be a vegetable, right?

Update 1/7/06 - I've had 2 MRIs, a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), tests on my ears to rule out inner ear proplems, and bloodwork. Only the bloodwork showed anything interesting, everything else was normal, and the bloodwork only showed that I have an autoimmune disease. Big shock there, I have 2 of them actually - Crohn's Disease and Ankylosing Spondylitis. I would have been truly shocked if that particular test had also been negative.


Ballpoint Wren said...

I know you probably get a lot of "try this!" comments; I hope you don't mind me adding to that collection.

My sister has celiac disease, as does my husband's brother, so I've read up a lot about it because there is a strong genetic propensity in our family.

There is some evidence that sensitivites and intolerances to gluten (the cause of celiac disease) can cause neurologic disorders.

Celiac disease is considered to be rampantly underdiagnosed. It is prevalent in those with European ancestry (the Irish take a big hit).

A strict gluten-free diet is much cheaper than drug therapies, which is why those in the celiac community believe the medical profession overlooks it so often.

Some articles about celiac disease and its relationship to neurological disorders:

Neurological Complications of Coeliac Disease

Neurological Complications of Celiac Disease and Autoimmune Mechanisms: Preliminary Data of a Prospective Study in Adult Patients

Neurological Manifestations of Coeliac Disease (this is a PDF file)

Gluten Sensitivity as a Neurological Illness

Neurological Complications of Celiac Disease

Neuromuscular disorder as a presenting feature of coeliac disease

Neurological Presentation of Celiac Disease

Sporadic cerebellar ataxia associated with gluten sensitivity

There are many, many more articles out there, Mira. Forgive me for such a long post.

Rurality said...

I suppose they have done an MRI on your head to rule out a tumor? (My SIL had to have brain surgery to remove a tumor last year, so that has been on my mind.)

Hope they can figure it out and you can get treatment!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Obliette:
I'm not a regular reader; I happened across your blog by chance because I love cats. I read your health rant. Sounds to me like you might have CFS- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Don't laugh. People like to pretend CFS isn't real, but I suffered from it for over 5 years, with symptoms nearly identical to yours. These days it's thought to be a mild cousin of MS. CFS is not diagnosed by a single, definitive test but by a number of procedures that rule other things out, and by conforming to a list of symptoms. My case was treatable with mega doses of vitamins and strict attention to diet and exercise. (CFS can also mimic Crohn's; I dropped 15 lbs because I could hardly eat *anything.* I lived in the darn bathroom, one way or another.)
Have you also been experiencing lowgrade fever and swollen glands?
My tests were all in normal ranges as well, except for bloodwork. I experienced short-term memory loss, confusion, problems remembering nouns, auditory hallucinations, and weakness on one side of the body.
Please mention this idea to your doctor. The upside? CFS has never, to my knowledge, been fatal, and there are spiffy new treatments, so I'm told. You can't tell I ever had it now, except for occaisional mild vision/speech blips.
Best of luck to you.