Monday, February 18, 2013

Keeping My Cool

If you're my Facebook friend or follow me on twitter, you've probably seen some recent posts/tweets about what I'm calling, for the moment, my mystery illness. Aptly named because basically the doctor told me my symptoms are puzzling but nothing more.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it, but I have Epstein-Barr virus (not the mystery illness, well-documented). I got it when I was in fifth grade and once it's in your system, it's in your system for life. If you're not familiar with Epstein-Barr, it's often referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome though technically the two differ.  About three weeks ago, I started feeling like I was having a flare up. Which I haven't had, at least to my knowledge, in years. And by years I'm talking like 10-12, at least. I was exhausted beyond reason - something that even with my sleep issues isn't typical of my generally over-energetic self. Then two weeks ago, I started having horrendous dizzy spells that made me literally have to hold onto furniture in order not to drop like a stone. I attributed them to various things - medication reactions, low blood sugar, etc - and figured it a coincidence that they happened so close together. Though they seemed to linger on and on - way past the point that the medication should be affecting me and after I'd ensured I had plenty of food in my system.

After about four episodes close in time with the same pattern - horrible dizziness and disorientation, trouble gripping and weakness in my right hand, followed by several days of sheer exhaustion and stabbing headache - I decided it was time to go to the doctor. So I spent my Valentines Day getting a medical exam, an EKG, and blood work, and waiting for my insurance to approve an MRI of my head/brain. Nothing says sexy like a paper gown with an opening in the front and a bunch of electrodes stuck all over you.

With my kinesiology degree and background in the health field, I know just enough to be dangerous. I know several things that can cause all of these symptoms simultaneously. The doctors have said they're particularly worried about one-sided weakness and lack of grip strength. I also know several reasons this might be. I know that they asked me if I had a history of seizures. Not counting my allergic reaction to the DPT shot (because this was a very pinpointed reaction, not caused by a condition), I have not. I'd rather not start making history now. Despite my suspicions, the doctors won't tell me what they are looking for in the MRI. Several people have asked me why, and it's quite simple - they don't want to worry me for no reason. I appreciate that, in theory. In reality, it just gives my brain more directions to wander.

So I sit in a waiting game. They told me there's actually a chance that I might not be approved for an MRI. What we do then, I don't know. I guess they try to recode it and make the insurance company see the importance of it so they approve it. Or I suck up my $1500 deductible and just get it done. But for now, I'm trying to work and write as long as I can focus on the computer. I'm trying to keep upright as often as possible so I keep as awake as possible. I'm trying to eat rather well so that I stay healthy otherwise while I'm not super active and can't work out.  I'm trying not to be a Google detective (though I'll admit I have searched once) and trying to keep my cool.

I'm keeping a relatively low profile while this is going on. Not because I don't want to talk to or see people, but because I am focusing on those people who reach out, who want to keep in touch and/or see me even when I'm not my usually energetic self and can't go out for drinks and such. Also, quite simply, I haven't had much energy.  And while I'm not being the social butterfly I traditionally am, I welcome communication and company so please, feel free to drop me a line or a text or whatever. 

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