Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Background: The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

A few days before the 6th of September in 2006 I had seen a psychiatrist. I could tell things were unraveling and felt I needed some help stabilizing. The morning of the 7th I had my husband stay home with me from work because I was still so fragile emotionally that I did not trust myself to be left alone. I did not have a plan for suicide, but a deep and intense desire to simply not exist anymore. I called my doctor and sobbed my way through a phone conversation, desperately pleading for her to support a disability claim to take time off work, paid for by the state of California. Thankfully, she did. However, there was quite a language barrier (not to mention I was a complete basket case) and she thought I needed time off work because I was depressed, not that I was depressed and very emotionally unstable because I had become so sick just trying to meet my basic obligations that now I could no longer work. I called the psychiatrist and she prescribed Neurontin to help my extreme anxiety. I was still on the anti-depressant, Welbutrin XL, from the previous doctor.

I asked my mother to come stay with me so my husband could go to work, and could barely drive to the airport to pick her up. I was very scared behind the wheel, thinking everyone was just about to swerve into my lane and I was constantly about to crash. My mom was great. She hung out with me and cleaned and cooked for me. She entertained me and tried to cheer me up. After a few days she went back to her life, and I set out trying to find how to get better from this. I was out of work and barely able to do anything. If I took a shower I had to sit and rest for 30 minutes before I could put lotion on. If I made the bed I had to rest for 45 minutes. I had so many symptoms it was unreal. Cognitive, abdominal, migraines, pain everywhere. I could not use my right hand or arm due to a repetitive use injury that now made the pain unbearable. We had to join Nutri-System because I could not cook, emptying the dishwasher was an afternoon event and I don't even want to think about what it took to go to the grocery store. I was at about 10% of a person. When I come across my writings from then I will post them. It was sad and pitiful.

There was really no treatment. Nothing FDA approved or effective in modern medicine. I saw a chiropractor that recommended a book called From Fatigue to Fantastic , written by a doctor that had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. He had access to all sorts of knowledge and testing methods and medications and was able to put all of it together to get himself better! He also embraced some holistic approaches to healing. But I did not know where to find a doctor like this, I did not know anything about this stuff. The internet was infuriating. All I would come across were people that were older (50's and up) when they got this and they were always financially stable and it took them like 5 years of laying around and not doing jack-shit to get better. Well I was not and did not have time like that! We were young and just starting out. My husband and I had never even had a full-time professional job at the same time! I moped around crying and complaining for the next month. I was feeling so sorry for myself. I was confused as to what the hell had happened and what to do about it. Although I was slowly gaining mental stability I was not improving physically. I was actually getting sicker and sicker. I believe I hit physical bottom about a month after the emotional break. And then my doctor was difficult about extending my disability claim. Here I could hardly leave my house and she was still thinking this was about being depressed! I knew I had to figure out how to get better because there was no other choice. This was not a life!

I remember shuffling down the 3 flights of stairs to take the puppy out, chanting to myself I must get better!, I must get better! I decided to take a leap and fly to Las Vegas to visit the Fibro & Fatigue Center, a specialty clinic ran by a medical doctor that also embraced holistic methodology as well. I had family in Vegas to stay with and my mother met me just off the airplane with a wheelchair (I could barely walk) and attended the appointment with me. The doctor explained why I was sick. It was complex and strange...a bunch of strange disorders lying just under the surface of normal. It was a domino effect of loss of function starting with a trigger event (pancreatitis?) and an undiscovered sleep disorder. This in turn created a suppressed immune system and I was now host to a multitude of ailments because my body did not have immunity to come to its own defense (EBV, CMV, HHV-6, but this comes later). It was intense, expensive and very complex. I gave them 31 vials of blood, they gave me bags full of supplements and prescriptions for bio-identical thyroid and testosterone. I gave them $800 and they gave me a follow-up appointment in a month. My mother and I left in shocked bewilderment. But shortly after arriving home and beginning the regiment I began to feel a bit better.

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