Tuesday, November 26, 2013

THE BEAST WITHIN ME

As this year winds down, it's time for me to reflect on the things that affect my life the most.  In the past several years, my health issues have worsened, but I think I've finally gotten to the point of being so sick and tired of being sick and tired that it's time for me to dig down deep and grab whatever stamina I have left and try to save this slowly sinking ship.  2014 has got to be a year of change! Great things have got to happen!

Here's a list of my current health problems:

1. Insulin dependent Type ll Diabetes - uncontrolled, of course!  No doctor in the past 11 years
since I was diagnosed has been able to get my A1C in a normal range.  Trust me, EVERYTHING has been tried and it remains a mystery as to why my diabetes is so tenacious.  I wonder if it might have a genetic factor to it since my paternal grandmother had the same type of tenacity with treating her diabetes.  As an added bonus of my uncontrolled diabetes I developed diabetic neuropathy in my feet.  The burning sensation and stabbing pain is so bad at times it makes me want to cry.  Standing on my feet during these bouts is challenging and very painful.  Recently, I was put on Lyrica and that initially helped with easing the neuropathic pain in my feet and also with the "all over" pain I experience from fibromyalgia I was diagnosed as having about a decade ago.  My other diabetic related health problem is gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is another fun diabetic complication!  Food sits undigested in my stomach for long periods of time due to damaged nerves in my stomach.  It's hard to describe how good food tastes when it goes down and how putrid it is after sitting in my stomach for a day or so.  This condition causes pain in my upper gastric tract.  Needless to say, I eat A LOT of cottage cheese and applesauce which is easy to digest.  I do feel thankful that I haven't developed anything more serious as a result of my uncontrolled diabetes and hope my upcoming endocrinologist appointment will be a start to finding a solution to these problems. 
 
2. Pain - I'm lumping all my various spinal related issues into one large category called "PAIN".   In 2003, I had 2 disks in my neck fused.  At that time, I was told I had the neck of a 94 year old woman and was told I had several things going on with my back and neck.  After that surgery, I swore I'd never have another surgery because the recovery was so difficult.  "Never" lasted 9 years.  By the time I had my second neck surgery, I couldn't raise my head to eye level without it causing my arms to go completely numb.  It was next to impossible to function without the use of my arms and I knew the longer I put off surgery the more permanent the nerve damage was going to be, so it was back to the neurosurgeon to have 2 more disks fused.  From September 2012 to June 2013, a nine month period I had 3 back surgeries.  My neurosurgeon claims there isn't anything else he can do for me, so basically, I'm supposed to just grin and bear it but grinning and bearing it consists of days where I can barely walk or stand up straight due to the intense pain.  I have severe headaches from the muscles in my neck and back tightening and causing horrific muscle spasms, nausea and blurred vision.  I know I need to go get a second opinion, but I'm really afraid to do that.  I keep asking myself what I'm afraid of and I don't know if it's that someone will agree that there's nothing else that can be done for me or if someone will say I need more surgery.  Of course, I see a pain management specialist, but all that means is getting combos of potent narcotics to take.  I so hate doing that, but am forced to take the pain meds when I can't function any other way.  In 2009, I went off ALL my pain meds cold turkey because I wasn't getting the relief from them I should have been getting.  It was insane to keep filling my body with meds that were doing more harm than good.  Withdrawal took about a month of pure hell. Now 4 years later, I'm right back there again and the doctor wants to try me on what I call the "Dear Jesus" patch (Duragesic)  or Methadone because everything else I take or have taken just doesn't work.   I'm not sure how I feel about taking this next step.  I'll mull it over in the next couple of weeks before my next appointment with him and make some sort of decision. 

3.  Autoimmune hepatitis - The 3 most common autoimmune diseases are lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease.  Apparently my body has decided it doesn't like my liver anymore.  Isn't that special?  Too bad it didn't decide to dislike the fat on my stomach and hips instead!  After having a complete work up (CT of the abdomen, abdominal ultrasound, labwork, etc.) followed by a liver biopsy, my doctor thought it was best that I go to Oschner's Clinic in New Orleans.  It's the closest transplant facility to where I live.  He felt it was a good idea for me to get in their system in case at some future date I need their services.  The following is a short rundown on what an autoimmune disease is if you're not familiar with it.
Our bodies have an immune system, which is a complex network of special cells and organs that defends the body from germs and other foreign invaders. At the core of the immune system is the ability to tell the difference between self and nonself: what's you and what's foreign. A flaw can make the body unable to tell the difference between self and nonself. When this happens, the body makes autoantibodies that attack normal cells by mistake. At the same time special cells called regulatory T cells fail to do their job of keeping the immune system in line. The result is a misguided attack on your own body. This causes the damage we know as autoimmune disease. The body parts that are affected depend on the type of autoimmune disease.
4. Sleep apnea -  Controlled with the use of a CPAP machine. This one I got scared into doing because my O2 stats had dropped to 73% while sleeping (anything under 90% is considered respiratory distress) and I had stopped breathing over 150 times per hour determined by a sleep study, but the good news was that I had also started breathing again over 150 times.  When the doctor reviewed the results of my sleep study, he was amazed that I hadn't had a stroke or a heart attack in my sleep.  That night I started using my CPAP machine and have used it every night since then.  I am a believer!

5. All the other "lesser" stuff - high blood pressure (controlled by meds), high cholesterol (controlled by meds), Vitamin D deficiency (in the process of being controlled by meds), GERD (controlled by meds), chronic insomnia (uncontrolled, but I do take Trazodone and it works sometimes), adult onset asthma (controlled by meds PRN)  I'm sure I've missed something, but quite frankly, my dear...I don't give a damn right now!  I'm off to take a nap because all of a sudden I desperately need one.

Update 2/19/14: I've been on 2 more rounds of 3 months of Vitamin D therapy but my lab values refuse to improve.  I have an appointment with an endocrinologist to address that and my diabetes.  I think I'm falling apart!

6. Depression and anxiety - This is something I've been in denial about for such a long time, but it's the silent, dark horse I ride.  I isolate myself so I don't have to be around people because I don't want them to see me suffer, but isolating myself is the worse thing I can do.  I know depression makes all ailments feel worse, but to treat it means taking more drugs and many of those drugs cause weigh gain and any weight gain makes my diabetes worse.  It's a vicious circle that seems to have no jumping off point.  I no longer know how to help myself.  At this point I don't know if there is any real help.


 

12 comments:

  1. Wow. You never let on about your health in your writing...until now. Here I am drinking my sparkling grape juice...cheers! Here's to your banner 2014.

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    1. I try very hard not to dwell on it because it seems to make me feel worse when I do. I forgot to add that in about 6 hours I have to have a second CT of my neck. I have a lymph node that is giving me fits. I've taken 4 rounds of antibiotics and it is as stubborn as I am! I just feel thankful that I have doctors who are on the ball and I haven't slipped through the cracks like some people do only to find out horrible stuff when it's too late to do anything about the problems.

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    2. I saw a movie last night that I think you would like: Wishful Drinking: Carrie Fisher. What a hoot! Hope you Netflix.

      Hope your neck is okay too.

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    3. I'll check it out...thanks for the suggestion.

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  2. Do try cleanses. and eat quinoa and go for ayurvedic treatment. ON TOP OF YOUR MEDS. meds are still important. My boyfriends mum has diabetes and its really under control now. You know, she eats cakes on birthdays because she says the quinoa keeps her sugar levels down??

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    1. I'll definitely look into these things...thanks for the suggestion.

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  3. OMG I am so feeling you right now! You are absolutely right, we could probably match each other, pill for pill.
    I made a post about the amount of pills I was taking every day, like 15 or 16, not counting additional ones for pain and whatnot, and so I decided to take myself off of some of them.
    Bad decision...
    I'm so sick of being sick!

    And in the meantime, my friend Mark is ten years older than me, is completely healthy, and hasn't been to a doctor in years. Sooooo annoying, LOLOL!!!

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    1. You're probably right about it not being a good decision to go off all your meds, but I do understand. Please take care and be careful. I always envy healthy people. My mother is 85 and in great health and I seem to be the garbage pit for my gene pool. So far, I'm batting a thousand!

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  4. It is awful to not feel well. I hope this next year will bring you some relief.

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    1. Thanks! I'm really going to give it my 150% and see what happens. Throughout it all I seem to have been able to remain optimistic and I think that's important.

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  5. You can take the Christian Scientist approach and 'unsee' this all. Right now I am reading my flu bug "The Scientific Statement of Being"

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    1. I'm not familiar with "unseeing" things. Is that like having a strong sense of denial? LOL

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