So amidst my other adventures in recent months, I really began to have trouble keeping up. I chalked various physical symptoms up to this or that... such as the insomnia and incessant hot flashes - hot flashes that were less hormonal surges than pyroclastic hormonal clouds ripping down the mountainside, laying waste to everything in its path in an incandescent flash. My doctor shrugged and suggested perimenopause and I gritted my teeth and thought evil thoughts about the whole thing.
Fatigue became my constant companion. That, too, was easily brushed off. My mom's going through a hellish cancer treatment, there's always some other family drama happening, my job was getting stressful and I have a preschooler. The common response? C'mon, say it with me. All together now: DUH.
And then I noticed joint pain constantly swelling lymph glands and began to suspect there was something else going on... Unfortunately, most doctors attributed this combination of factors to "Stress" and "You're a woman".
Stress? Seriously, they have NO IDEA what kind of stress I can take in the teeth and keep on going. This was not stress.
Luckily, my insurance changed and I had to get all new doctors. And finally started getting taken seriously. This was good, because I started really going downhill. It got so bad that if I tried to vacuum an 8 x 11 rug, I had to lay down for two hours. I really wish that was exaggeration. The joint pain was overwhelming - every single joint felt like it was filled with molten lava mixed with razor sharp broken glass.
And lets discuss the brain fog, the incredible haze of stupidity I found myself flailing in. Or rather, lets not because that was the most humiliating aspect of the entire experience.
This went on from December until the end of June. Each week brought me lower and lower. By the time I was sent to a rheumatologist, I really had to fight to be able to get out of bed each morning. Worse, most people thought I was making everything up, that I was just being lazy or looking for attention because there was nothing apparently wrong. Nothing they could see, therefore it could not really exist.
Let me point out that I am not telling this story to fish for sympathy, not at all. I am telling this because sometimes something small, something unseen but something ridiculously common can lay your ass out like Mike Tyson.
After months of blood work, they finally tested my vitamin D levels. Guess what, I had almost NONE in my body. Who knows why... but the result? It messed me up something fierce.
I had not known that Vitamin D does a hell of a lot more than allow you to absorb calcium and help strengthen your bones. Vitamin D deficiencies can bring some friends after a while, including: high blood pressure, increased risk of certain cancers , multiple sclerosis, several autoimmune disorders, type 1 diabetes, cognitive impairment - including that damned brain fog - and a host of other issues.
Symptoms of a deficiency? Yeah. Pretty much everything I had, including a burning muscle pain. And it took more than 7 months for someone to order this blood test, even though they also told me that the deficiency is becoming more common.
There may be something more going on, but in the meantime, I take massive amounts of D3 for another month or so, and then a lower dose until November, when I'll have the bloodwork run again. I also take my blood pressure medications since I developed hypertension, and my medication that allows me 6 or 7 hours of clear thinking and a respite from the muscle pain.
Pay attention to what your bodies are telling you, folks. I wish I had pushed harder when the first set of doctors blew me off.
And now for something completely different. Are you familiar with LOLcats? Jacob MUST have my lolcat book when he goes to bed. This has been going on since Christmas. That book and his stuffed lamb, every night.
I'm pretty certain his preschool teacher thinks I need professional help.