Life Update: June

I feel like it’s been a while since I updated ya’ll on my personal life!

Overall things are going pretty well. Health wise I was feeling really good for a while, but now I’m just feeling okay. I’m having more headaches than I was, and my stomach is acting up, but overall I’m still doing better than normal. I had an appointment with an endocrinologist which was a waste of time, but other than that I haven’t seen any other doctors. I’m probably going to find a new gastroenterologist since that seems to be my main problem currently, and the one I was seeing said he couldn’t do anything more for me back in the fall of 2016. Ultimately I probably need to go to Mayo Clinic, but we haven’t started to try and apply since I’ve been out of a flare for a while. Having a few good months during spring/summer isn’t abnormal for me though, and it usually ends with intense pain and a hospitalization in the Fall. Yipee!

I got my GED in May and this past week I was admitted to my local community college. Yesterday I took the TSI, and luckily I don’t have to do any remedial courses, so that’s nice. I also visited with an academic advisor and started the process of getting disability services. Things are looking up as far as that goes!

The one major thing I need to do now is get my driver’s license. I have an appointment for June 28th, and I’m terrified. I took the driving test once and it didn’t go well. The woman who administered the test and angry when she got in my car and snapped at me repeatedly, then she failed me. Honestly I know I made some mistakes and shouldn’t have gotten a perfect score, but failing seemed a little ridiculous. That was almost a year and a half ago so it’s time to try again. She really got in my head and made me scared to drive, but I’m trying to be positive and confident because I know I can do it.

It may sound silly to some people who have gone through the process of getting a license, but it’s been incredibly stressful for me. I’m comfortable with driving now, the only problem is the dreaded parallel parking. Ironically that’s the part I passed the first time. I know some states don’t do the parallel parking, but my parents told me moving across the country wasn’t an option, so I guess for now I’ll just keep practicing. There’s a lot riding on this since I can’t to go college if I can’t drive, but I have faith that I’ll pass (or at least I’m trying to pretend I do :)).

I helped my sister move out of her college apartment, look for a new apartment by her new job, and then into her new apartment. She had her graduation ceremony mid-May and we threw her a family party at the air-bnb we rented. It was really nice, but I’m sad that she’s now living four hours away from us, and won’t be forced to see us for a month over Holiday break. She’s very family oriented so I know she’ll visit and we’ll visit her, but I also know it won’t be as often as it used to be.

That’s pretty much it as far as my life’s concerned. How are you doing? Do you have any fun Summer plans?

 

 

All the Appointments!

Since I last did a health update a lot of things have happened.

First I went to an allergist/immunologist who I really liked and she ran the Tryptase test for MCAD. Unfortunately that came back fine, and so did all the other tests she ran. She started me on Singulair, ranitidine, and Allegra for the all over itching I’m having. They’ve kind of worked, but the days I still have the itching it’s extreme and I feel like I want to peel back a layer of my skin.

I also went back to see my electrophysiologist for a follow-up from my EP study. It wasn’t surprising to me that this visit was kind of a waste, but it was still annoying. He upped my metoprolol dose to now 25mg 2x a day from 12.5mg 2x a day. Due to some unexplained episodes of waking up gasping, my heart skipping a beat, then beating really hard and pain shooting through my body I’m wearing a monitor for a week. I’ve done the 24 hour Holter monitor before but this is the Cardiokey. Hopefully it gives us some answers. He doesn’t think they are anything to worry about, but he also doesn’t do much diagnostic testing and in my opinion generally does not care. Unfortunately I have to see him in May to get the results from the monitor.

My mom works as a case manager in a hospital and one of her friends is a Cardiologist. She explained my whole cardio story to her and she thinks I should get a second opinion and that my electrophysiologist isn’t doing enough. So now we’re looking for one who will take seventeen year olds.

Because I definitely needed more specialists in my life, I saw a rheumatologist for the first time. I’ve been having joint pain and swelling that didn’t go away after I weaned off topiramate, so we went to see what they could do and what suggestions they had. My mom had to call 12 different rheumatologist to find one who would take me. Most of them didn’t see anyone under 18, so she called pediatric places but they wouldn’t see new patients over 16, being 17 I was screwed. Fortunately she explained my situation to one office and the secretary asked the doctor if she would make an exception and see someone under eighteen and she agreed, God bless nice people. This doctor was so kind and understanding.  She ran something like 21 blood tests to make sure I didn’t have any signs of rheumatology related diseases like Lupus or RA. I also got x-rays of my hands and feet, and we should get results from all of this within 1-2 weeks.

She thinks I may have fibromyalgia on top of whatever mystery illness I’m fighting, but doesn’t want to diagnose me with it just yet since it’s something that is way over diagnosed and once you get that diagnosis most doctors won’t look past it. I’m not surprised she thinks I could have fibromyalgia, but I am really happy she wants to do more and look into other things.

In two weeks I have a follow up with the allergist, then in eight weeks I have a follow up with the rheumatologist, and in seven weeks is the follow up with the electrophysiologist. Ahh so many! Some of these would be sooner but our insurance is changing as of May 1st so for the first 15 days while things are switching over it’s best not to have any appointments. I also have a dentist appointment to fix some broken fillings in May. It’s gonna be busy, but I’m glad we’re getting the diagnosis process going again.

If you read this whole thing, thank you but also why? Haha I’m kidding, but seriously thank you for taking the time to read my posts. Let me know how you’re doing!

Lots of Love

and appointments,

Alyssa

Daith Piercing Experience

Yesterday I got my first daith piercing!

I had said in my previous post that this place only does this piercing and I was mistaken. The piercer I saw specializes in it, but does all the other typical piercings as well.

The shop was around 25 minutes away from where I live so it wasn’t too far. Living in the suburbs means you’re always driving 20-30 minutes everywhere. After we got there I realized in the parking lot that I didn’t bring my ID. Oops! It honestly hadn’t crossed my mind since I wasn’t driving and I’m still technically a minor. In Texas the law States that both the minor and their parent/guardian have to have a state mandated ID or birth certificate to prove that the adult is their parent and is old enough.

So we drove 25 minutes back home and I got my ID. Luckily we didn’t have an appointment  so we weren’t keeping anyone waiting. About two minutes down the road my mom’s tire popped and we had to turn around and to take her car home and use my sisters instead. She just got these tires on Wednesday too so it kinda sucked. We later found out it had a razor blade stuck in it and she got the tire replaced for free since it was under warranty, so that was good.

Back on the road we made it to our destination with all the proper identification and waited around fifteen minutes. She pierced four other people in that time and was really fast. Before I knew it, it was my turn and I was getting marked up. I couldn’t really see back in my ear, but I assumed it was fine and trusted she knew what she was doing.

FullSizeRenderI liked that she did it really quick and didn’t talk about it a whole lot. The piercer was super friendly and made conversation but didn’t dwell on the piercing for too long before we got started. After she marked my ear, she set the needle up and then told me to get ready for some pressure. It honestly didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. I wasn’t nervous until she told me she was setting up the needle, then the nerves kicked in a little. She was so quick though I didn’t really have time to feel nervous!  The most “uncomfortable” part of it all was the popping noise it made. It basically felt like a giant pop with one sharp pain that wasn’t that bad, and then my ear felt really hot for a minute. There was no blood and I was good to go after she cleaned the area. We probably only spent five minutes tops in the piercing room, but she was really attentive and gave me her phone number for if I ever needed anything so I thought that was kind.

In the short time I’ve had it I have only experienced some mild discomfort and general achiness (which definitely isn’t word but we’re just gonna go with it). The piercer told me that day four is the worst so I guess we will see what the healing process is like. The jewelry I have in it now I’m not going to keep once the healing period is up. I didn’t get to choose this but I knew that this would be what they pierced it with going in. What I have in now is a circular barbell and from what I understand, barbells are the best for the healing process with daith piercings.

I’m really happy with it so far and had an awesome experience at this piercing shop. At this point I’m still planning to get the left side done after the four week healing period on my right one. I think it will be really interesting to see what happens as far as migraines go. I haven’t been having them like I have for the past five years lately (like since December). I don’t know if I’m just cycling and on an upswing or what. It’s been weird, but I’m grateful to at least not be dealing with that pain.

I’m going to do another update once I’ve had this one for a while and then once I’ve had both of them done. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try my best to answer them! 🙂

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

EP Study Update

I’ve began this post a few times but only ended up with jumbled words and a lot of tears.

It’s been a few days since I was discharged and the black cloud that was hanging over my head is slowly but surely starting to pass. I didn’t want to publish the posts I wrote in one of my darker hours because I didn’t feel they were helpful, encouraging, or good pieces of writing. I release now though that chronic illness isn’t always gonna be helpful or encouraging, sometimes it’s dark and sad and depressing.

I’m going to make this as short as possible so that I don’t bore you and I don’t have to think about it too much. So after that long introduction here’s what happened.

I arrived at the hospital at 9:45 and waited till around 11:30 to go back into pre-op. They had told us to be there at ten, but never told my mom when the actual procedure was scheduled. When we got back four different people over two hours tried to draw my blood and it was very stressful. I couldn’t have the EP done without the labs but none of the nurses or phlebotomists were good at drawing blood.  When we  complained that we had called ahead numerous times to warn them and asked for someone who was good at drawing blood to be on-hand my pre-op nurse said, “well it looks like we might just have to cancel the procedure if we can’t get any labs.”

She was an awful woman who was incredibly rude and made the whole situation a lot worse. When the fourth lady came in to draw my blood I started to get upset. I hadn’t eaten or drank anything in 18+ hours, I had less than five hours of sleep the night before, and I was having a hot flash which was making me irritated. On top of all that this lady tells me after waiting for hours they might cancel the procedure. I started crying, which is something I rarely do, and the fourth nurse who is looking for a vein notices. She responds with  kindness and sympathy, and then evil nurse #1 says. “oh, she’s just scared of the needle.”

This was when I just about lost it. I’m not afraid of needles and I had already been stuck three other times by incompetent people with no sympathy, yet not a single tear. The fact that she had the audacity after being so rude to act like I was being a baby and was “just scared of needles” made me wanted to scream. Luckily nurse four got the blood they needed and an IV, so things could started moving along.

Expect they didn’t. That’s when nurse #1 told us that my doctors current EP study isn’t going well and the patient coded. Not something you want to hear when the exact same procedure is about to happen to you. She said it should be two more hours and at this point it was 1:15pm. That was also the last time we saw her. She went home for the day and left us alone in pre-op with… no one. When someone came as overflow from post-op two hours later we asked them to call about my procedure and someone from the EP lab had to come get me since transport had gone home for the day.

I said my goodbyes to my parents and was brought into the EP lab which felt like some sort of futuristic room where they do experiments on people. It was also freezing and I was basically naked expect for the thin hospital gown so I started shaking, maybe that had something to with the fact it was now 4 o’clock and hadn’t eaten since 7 the night before but hey it was go time. A team of people started sticking things all over me and didn’t say much. One nurse was really kind and tried to tell me that everything was going to be okay, but deep down I knew she was wrong. I felt a weird combination of sad and numb as my body got my moved around and things stuck to it. I sat in silence as tears streamed down my face and in that moment I knew I had made the wrong decision.

I woke up from the study to hear nurse from the lab tell my post-op nurse that I had an electrophysiology study without an ablation. Those words rang in my ears and I began to cry yet no tears would fall. They found nothing. All day I had an overwhelming negative feeling and so I wasn’t surprised, just hurt and disappointed.

The recovery process wasn’t anything like I was told it would be. The scheduler told us that I would have to lie still for a few hours, but they weren’t very strict about it and if I had to go to the bathroom I could get up. This was a complete lie. I had to lie there for four hours without moving and wasn’t allowed to get up at all. It was much for painful than I thought it would be and I felt completely unprepared for everything that happened.

The next part was very scary. I started to feel off and bad. Those are two very vague terms, but I didn’t have a better way to describe it. My right hand started to tremor and at first I didn’t think much of it. My mom noticed it and was worried she called for the nurse and it got worse. Both my arms and legs began to tremor rather violently and I wasn’t sure what was going on. I was scared and everyone around me seemed nervous. They called a rapid response team and  within seconds my room filled with at least a dozen people. They started putting more electrodes all over me for the defibrillator and wheeled the machine in. Nurses started asking me questions like, “do you know where you are?” I was completely conscious, just really scared. They gave me a beta blocker and the tremors started to slow down.

The doctor with the RRT wasn’t very concerned with the tremor and once they slowed the tiniest bit, he considered me fine and they all started to leave. The tremors stopped completely about fifteen minutes after they left. They drew some labs, but ultimately didn’t really care why I was shaking. I was very disappointed in their response. When I saw the doctor who did my EP study the following morning he said I should ask my neurologist about it and he doesn’t think it’s a cardiac issue. That’s bullshit. My heart rate and blood pressure shot up while I was shaking, he just doesn’t care enough to try and figure it out. He also added, ” in the EP lab you were shaking, so it was probably just anxiety.” To which I responded, “it was freezing in there,” and he just shrugged me off with, “yeah it’s cold.” I love having my very real and very scary physical medical issues passed off as psychological issue that I don’t have.

Overall the experience was awful and I regret it 100%. I don’t think it was necessary and I wasn’t informed enough to have made the decision. Nothing I read up on could have prepared me for all of this, and I’m extremely disappointed in the level of care I received. I’m not sure how I’m going to move forward from here, I don’t have many options. This was one of the worst medical experiences I’ve had and I’ve spared some details for both my sake and yours. I guess what I would take away from this is trust your gut. You know what’s right. Listen to your body, and don’t feel pressured into doing something you’re not comfortable with because regret is a terrible feeling.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

Pre-EP Feels

I wrote about my first appointment at the electrophysiologist here.

Tomorrow I am having my Electrophysiology study, and I’m not quite sure how to feel. I’m still not particularly nervous,  just anxious to get it over with. These past several weeks have gone by awfully slowly and I’m starting to feel a bit impatient. Scheduling appointments with any specialists takes a while, but scheduling a procedure with a doctor who’s a specialist within a specialty can be particularly difficult. I’m lucky to have gotten in as quick as I did, even if it has felt like a really long time to wait.

I guess I’m mostly just not feeling very hopefully. I don’t think they’re gonna find any abnormal heart tissue to ablate which means the procedure won’t change anything for me. I’ve had so much testing done and it always comes back normal or just barely off so that doctors aren’t sure what to make of the results. My dad told me he has enough hope for the both of us which is a nice thought, but seems a little rose-colored.

One small thing that’s concerning is that you can’t eat or drink after midnight before the EP. This is routine and not at all surprising but with my terrible veins I don’t want dehydration to make them an even bigger issue. I also am currently taking Topiramate which dehydrates you, so the combination of the medication, no water, and my small deep veins could make placing an IV very difficult. They also go through a major vein in your hip to place the catheter in your heart and I don’t want the placement of that to be an issue. Luckily for me I’ll be asleep at that point and it will be their problem. 🙂

The main concern I have is this procedure being unnecessary. What do I do next? I’m supposed to start Botox soon but I’m not feeling super hopeful about that either. Diagnosis wise I’m not sure what we’ll do but we have to continue on.  If they don’t find anything it’s still always good to have more information even if it doesn’t give me a diagnosis it can help rule other things out. I know this is just a low point and I’ll find some hope and pick myself back up soon. I could be completely wrong and this could solve a small portion of my health issues. As someone who likes to be right this is one of the few times I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

17 Going on 67

I haven’t been feeling great for the past two weeks or so.

I don’t think I’m in full flare mode yet, but my body just feels bad. I’m not having migraines, but I am having daily headaches and gastro issues. My tachycardia has been affecting me more than usual and making me really tired. I just feel old.

My joints hurt, and everything is exhausting. Weird things keep happening that aren’t a big deal, I just don’t normally experience them. My muscles have been twitching, my joint crack ridiculously loud every time I move, and a few times in the past week I’ve started shaking randomly. These things probably won’t last long, because my body is an asshole who likes to mess with me, but they’re annoying none the less. It’s been hard to explain, but something feels off. I’m not in a ton of pain, but I feel terrible and that’s not really something you can fix.

I went to my first appointment at a new counselor since the last one kept canceling on us. It was an “intake” appointment and she just asked me a bunch of questions. I feel like all I’m doing is complaining, but to be honest I didn’t really like her. She asked me a few questions in the beginning and my brain went blank. I couldn’t think, my heart starting racing even faster than normal, my whole body flushed, and I felt lightheaded. I was embarrassed and said, “I’m sorry my brains a little foggy today,” and she just gave me a look like I was crazy and said “oooooh kayyyy.” It felt really judgmental even if she didn’t mean it that way. She also said somethings that rubbed me the wrong way and tried to give me medical advice, which is so very annoying. I’m still going to try to have one real appointment with her and give her a chance, because there isn’t anyone in my area who wants to see a seventeen year old with chronic health issues.

I’m really hoping they’ll find something in my electrophysiology study next week, because this fatigue is awful. I’m normally pretty fatigued, but this a whole other ball game. I am grateful that I’ve only had a few episodes of extreme pain, but I’m fearful for the weeks to come. This time of year is normally really bad for me, so it’s been kind of weird that I’ve had less pain than normal. I’m trying my best to stay positive, although this post wasn’t very positive was it? Sometimes we all just need to rant.  I have a hard time finding a balance between my realist personality, inner cynic, and the positive person I know I should be trying to be.

How are you doing? Let me know what’s knew in your life or what’s been going on!

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

Thank you!

Yesterday I hit 100 followers here on WordPress!

I started this blog December 12, 2016, not long after having a terrible trip to Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital to try and get some answers about my chronic illnesses. I felt as if I was at my breaking point and needed some sort of outlet to express the overwhelming emotions I was feeling. This has been a great community and I’ve had a lot of really awesome conversations surrounding chronic illness and feminism.

Thank you to everyone who follows this blog and reads. I never expected for anyone to follow me or read my posts, let alone 100 people being interested in what I have to say. I throughly enjoy reading every comment I get and checking out every new blog that follows me. I’ve found so many people of all ages who are experiencing the same things as me, which is incredibly uplifting and comforting. Thank you once again for checking out my blog, I hope you stick around for the rest of my journey here at Queerly Texan.

SO much love,

Alyssa