Just to be clear, I’m not complaining about any of this – I know I have a TON to be thankful for in my life, and I truly am. I want to write about this though more as a way to keep a record of what is going on with my health, and as a reminder to others to take care of themselves.
The fun from the ER visit on November 20th continues. We still can’t get my blood pressure below 150/100. I’ve spent the past 10 years running at about 140/90 – 130/85, so while this is up, I’m not surprised. I just wish something would bring it down. I had a follow-up appointment with the Cardiologist/Internal Medicine doctor (Dr. Has-a-Clue) today because the last medicine she gave me was producing crappy side effects. From August – November 1, I took Micardis. This may be a great medicine for a lot of other people, but for me it causes a LOT of fluid retention. So much that my other doctor was ready to schedule carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand, and I actually don’t need it. Once we switched my medicine to Toprol on November 1, my hand problems decreased on the right and all but went away on the left. (The nerve tests revealed “mild to moderate” carpal tunnel, but not enough to cut my hand to repair.) After the ER visit, I saw Dr. Has-a-Clue the next day. She gave me Diovan, in the same family as Micardis. Guess what? Yep. Same reaction. Within 2 days, I felt like crap, my hands were numb when I woke up in the morning, my joints ached. Stopped the medicine on Monday and the symptoms were gone by today. So now we are starting me on a new drug tomorrow.
On top of this, it seems like I am having an issue with my gallbladder. I have had this pain in my right side since late October, but I was so tired of seeing doctors that I hadn’t given in and gone to one – I thought it was kidney stones again. When I went to the ER, I mentioned it to the doctor there. She asked where the pain was – right under my rib cage – and she said that isn’t kidney stones, but since I’ve had them before I am a candidate for gallstones too – and that is right where I would hurt if I had them.
Dr. Has-a-Clue doesn’t treat gallbladder issues, but she is doing an echo on my heart this coming Friday and ordered an echo on my gallbladder too – that way, if I had stones she would send me to a surgeon. The pain has gotten more and more severe over the past week, and it could be a factor in my high blood pressure, so she had them do the echo today when I was there. Turns out they couldn’t see any stones. *sigh* However, the symptoms are right – pain increases an hour after I eat, pain gets better hours after I eat and gets worse when I eat again, high fat foods are worse than plain foods. She thought it might be an ulcer, especially since I took NSAIDs earlier this year for my hands, but the fact that I’m curled up in pain after I eat rather than feeling relief from the acid points the other way. She said it could be a small stone, or a stone that has travelled down the bile duct towards my pancreas. She gave me the name of a gastroenterologist, and I have an appointment there on Friday.
In order to make that appointment, I had to reschedule the CT scan of my kidneys and ovary that Dr. Has-a-Clue wants to do. The edema raised a red flag for her, so she wants to make sure I don’t have any kidney problems. The fact that I had an ovarian cyst back in 1990 (they removed my right ovary), the description of my cyst, and a lot of my other symptoms also seem to point to possible Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, so she wants to make sure my left ovary is ok. The CT scan was going to be this Friday, but it has now been moved to next Friday. I can’t take this gallbladder pain much longer.
I did do all my lab work today. They drew blood for 17 tests. 17! I have no veins, so she had to search for one in my arm. Fortunately she found a deep one and was able to get all but one tube of blood from my arm – the last (huge) tube had to be drawn from my hand though. Ouch! I’m just glad she didn’t have to draw the rest from my hand. I’m glad that is over with now.
While at the appointment with Dr. Has-a-Clue, I got a return phone call from Dr. Zapper, the neurologist that did my EMG for carpal tunnel, called me back about the face numbness. I realized yesterday that I hadn’t called them and he might want to see me. I was right – he wanted to see me *right away* – the nurse sounded so urgent about it, I was almost nervous. Dr. Has-a-Clue asked me again about my symptoms (the same drill I got an hour later from Dr. Zapper), and said it sounds like Trigeminal neuralgia – and Dr. Zapper said the same thing. To be sure, I’ve got an MRI scheduled now for Sunday afternoon. I hate to do it in a weekend and take away from family time, but Mike needs to drive me since I get to take valium. We don’t want another incident like the last time I had an MRI, where I had a nice little panic attack over being in the machine.
Tomorrow is my follow-up visit with Dr. Hand-man about the carpal tunnel and I get the verdict on the hand surgery. I want to avoid it, and I am definitely not doing my left hand now that I’ve discovered the meds were causing most of the problem, but I’m afraid that going to school is going to keep me writing, and that irritates my right hand the most. He already warned me this summer that prolonged inflamation could end up causing permanent damage to the nerves that surgery couldn’t reverse down the road, and I have already put this off for 14 years. Back then, I was dealing with military hospitals and the process of going through the chain of doctors – by the time I got the clearance for surgery, I was pregnant with Jason so they couldn’t do surgery on me. Now I don’t have any excuse.
Really, the blood pressure, the carpal tunnel and even the facial numbness aren’t bothering me that much right now. The gallbladder issue has reached the point of a very sensitive tummy and I feel a lot of nausea from it. I have to pick and choose what I eat because some foods cause a lot more pain than others. Meat seems to be out of the question right now – I was in tears the other night, it hurt so bad. So lots of bland, low-fat foods for me for right now until we get this figured out.
So if I seem quiet lately, now you know why. I don’t want to sound like I am doing nothing but complaining about my health, and I’ve been out of sorts for the past week or two. Just a bit spacey, for whatever reason. Plus I know people that are going through things that are so much worse right now, I’m thankful for all the good things in my life. I’m thankful for Dr. Has-a-Clue and Dr. Zapper. I’m thankful for my family and friends, because they have all been so supportive. Hopefully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I just can’t wait to reach it.