The semester is finally done! Though I’m going to miss my students, I am happy to have a break. This semester has been beyond rough for many reasons, the biggest one being my health.
Right before the semester started, I began with some joint pain. The pain progresse throughout the semester to the point where I was having trouble doing the basics, like brushing my teeth, walking. And then I had an anxiety attack. Not fun. Well, I went to see a rheumatologist mid-semester (I blogged about that before) and then I just waited – first for the results of blood work, and then for the follow up appointment so I could talk to my doctor.
(The pain, while better, hasn’t gone away and, in fact, had been getting worse this week. My hands and fingers, especially, have been aching so bad I was having trouble driving and typing. But yesterday, after all grades were in, I felt the culmination of pain: I couldn’t move because every movement was excruciating, from my arms, to my wrists/hands, to my hips, to my legs and knees. All I could do was take some Advil and lay down.)
Wednesday morning I had my follow up appointment. My blood tests came out, to use the doctor’s words: “perfect” except for Vitamin D being slightly low. This is very good as that rules out other, more serious illnesses like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Or, rather, it rules them out right now. She explained there is a possibility I could still have any of these diseases, but at the beginning stages where they wouldn’t register in blood tests. Great. Comforting.
She did the physical examination again, which consisted of pressing several areas around muscles and joints, which hurt – a lot. Diagnosis? I don’t have one yet. I have obvious inflammation throughout the body. She said while she won’t call it fibromyalgia just yet, I seem to be headed in that direction. The first step, for now, is to “fix” my sleeping, since that may be triggering the pain response in my nervous system. She prescribed a small dose of a muscle relaxant and some pain medication to see if it helps me. I’m to take these for the next couple of weeks and see if my sleeping improves and if my pain subsides.
I go back in two months for another follow up.
So though I still don’t know what’s going on with me, I’m a little closer to finding out. I’ve realized a few things:
1) Glucosamine seems to help me a bit, especially the knees.
2) Caffeine, even in the smallest quantity, seems to make me feel worse, so I’m taking everything decaf for now.
3) Stress makes me feel worse. The worst I felt this semester was during midterms and finals.
4) Sleep helps.
Most of this seems basic. All I can do is try little things that will help me out. I am praying this doesn’t develop into anything worse.
I also think a lot about my grandmother, who I never met. She suffered from inexplicable pains and was sent to “warmer climate” to get better – this was in Colombia in the early- to mid-1900’s. My father, too, was always in pain. I wonder if their unexplained pains are the same I have now. I guess I’ll never know because both have passed on.