symptoms, thoughts

Relapse #n

Or maybe I should call this YAR (yet another relapse). Who’s counting, anyway? This one (maybe) was triggered by international travel and possibly stress. I’m about a week in, and as usual it’s both new and the same. Started with night sweats (while still on the trip), transitioned to nausea (new) and dizziness and now some pain as well (headaches, back and shoulders, etc). Not to mention the fatigue, sometimes just putting my own boots on gets me out of breath (those zippers!).

As usual, I find myself trying to make something new of this, because I have to do something. In the past I’ve developed new treatment plans, explored disability accomodations, and explored new doctors. This time around … I went shopping for canes (I had tossed my old one in a fit of hope and because it was falling apart). I’m heading to a conference at the end of April, and I’ve always found “seat canes” to be particularly helpful in that sort of setting, so I invested in a much nicer one than last time around. It arrives Monday, and I hope it will be as nice as it looks online! I’m using a hacked together cane at work right now (an old broomstick with rubber bands so it doesn’t slip!) so I also invested in a very simple wooden cane to replace the broomstick.

Really though, I want something more satisfying to do than shop for canes or try to sleep through it. Lying here in my office (in my lovely zero-gravity reclining chair; another investment in comfort when ill) a few minutes ago I tossed around feeling sorry for myself and even tried to work up to some tears or a good primal scream, but really it just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t going to change anything, after all.  Then I thought about working, but I guess I need a better project in my line up because none of my current ones were appealing enough to pull me out of the haze of pain I was in. So here I am writing a blog post instead (and it is helping :).  Continue reading “Relapse #n”

diagnosis, my story, symptoms, treatment

Quick Update

Just a quick update on the tick bite: The tick tested positive for Lyme, so thank goodness I started treatment. Most of my “typical” lyme symptoms did not come back (presumably, those are the ones that were not side effects of the drug). I have had increased tinnitus, got a bad rash on my hands from the combination of drugs and sun, and have to be careful to take the doxy with food not to get nauseous. The back ache that I had right after the tick bite is well and gone. Overall, this has been a breeze. Just over a week more to go and I’ll be done, thank goodness!

In other news my darling dog, who was apparently on the verge of death, seems to have regained some of her appetite and stabilized. No one knows for sure why … but I did insist she get a month of doxy when things looked most bleak. Could it have been another lyme attack? I will never know for sure, but I am glad she’ll (hopefully) still be around when I get back from my sabbatical.

my story, symptoms

Feeling better… :)

The signs are starting to add up and I think I’m beginning to improve. I’m still sleeping a lot, but my back pain goes away for hours at a time, I had an entire day without headaches (yesterday) and my strength seems to be better than before. The only thing that’s worse seems likely to be a side effect of the antibiotics: My teeth have turned black and are tender.

my story, symptoms

Another cold, loss of the use of my left arm

We left for Europe, and I rested as much as possible on that trip. I didn’t attend the conference, focusing only on paper writing, and generally tried to take it easy. Despite this, I began the week with another cold (approximately the 10th cold or flu I’d had since the beginning of April, meaning I’d had almost 2 per month during that period). When I returned, I saw my MD/homeopath again (on 9/25) and we discussed my entire history (extending long before the current disease had started). This led her to believe she’d found the right remedy, and both she and I ended the visit on a hopeful note, the first I’d felt in a long time.

Sadly, I reacted to the medication by getting worse. In particular, I began to feel shooting pains in my left shoulder on 9/28 and by 9/30 I could not use my arm for anything due to the pain, even turning the steering wheel of a car. My back pain reached its peak for the whole illness on 9/27 and I developed night sweats (usually a sign my body is successfully fighting something, so I was hopeful at first. However, my lymph nodes popped out more and I also developed an itchy rash between my legs.

I called my MD/homeopath, and she suggested a remedy, and once again within 24 hours my suddenly debilitating arm pain was cleared up. However, the remainder of my symptoms continued throughout the month of October: my back pain went up and down, I developed another cold, my lymph nodes remained swollen, and even occasionally ached painfully.

my story, symptoms

A catalogue of typical symptoms

Over the course of the next two months, I had had a litany of symptoms. In the first ten days of June, I had what appeared to be two separate colds with runny nose and sore throat. At some point after that, I had flu-like symptoms twice within a 10 day period, and began to experience a strange pain in my jaw that felt sort of like the muscles were stiff. This happened once in mid-June and again in early August. My husband had at one point developed a stiff jaw due to an allergic reaction to antibiotics, and it went away fairly quickly. None of his doctors had seemed too worried about it, and consequently I didn’t worry too much about my jaw symptoms.

Also in early August, I developed a rash on the back of my neck that I now know is a typical and recognizable sign that someone may be infected with Lyme. My husband noticed and took a picture (below). It didn’t itch at all and I assumed I had just scratched myself, never looked at the picture and didn’t take it very seriously.

Rash

My back pain and swollen lymph nodes continued as well, and in early August I finally decided it was time to go back to my MD/homeopath for advice as I knew that ongoing swelling in the lymph nodes was not normal and 6+ months of that seemed like long enough that maybe I should be concerned.

She continued to try to help boost my immune system, but my general impression was that whatever was wrong was not serious enough to warrant testing and that with more rest and the right supplements my immune system would start working properly. As did my parents (both in medicine), my doctors seemed to think that it was my lifestyle and past issues such as my mold exposure that was causing my problems, as opposed to a serious illness.