So, how did this all begin? When did I get sick?
Well, now that I know about my illnesses, I know I’ve been “sickish” (symptomatic) my whole life. But, I didn’t feel like death until 3 years ago.
However, I’m going to take you back a few years before that one time I got sick and never got better.
In 2004, I went to the doctor for a sinus infection. I had taken a Sudafed in an effort to de-funk my head. Once I was sitting on the exam table, the doctor told me my heart rate was too high. It was so high, in fact, that he wanted to send me to a cardiologist. I was freaked out, to say the least.
I dragged my best friend up to a cardiac specialist hours from my home. Once there and following a few tests, I was diagnosed with Inappropriate Sinus Tachycardia. Basically, my heart beat too fast. We chalked it up to “I’m a mess of stress” and I moved on. Well, kinda. I just thought it was how I was. Sometimes I had palpitations, and Sudafed was now a no-no because it made my symptoms worse.
Fast forward 10 years. In the Spring of 2014, I came down with the worst case of flu-like symptoms that I’ve ever had. I had a sore throat so bad that it brought me to tears, I had a fever, I was SOOOOO tired, and I felt like death warmed over. After lots of testing, I was diagnosed with Mono. I got meds and steroids, and eventually I was able to stay awake longer than a few hours.
Then, it happened again. All those symptoms plus more. My body threw in joint aches and pains. Also, fun things like fatigue so bad that I could barely function. I went back to the doc and he said, “Sometimes people get Mono flares. But, they should get less severe as time goes on.” I got more steroids and got better. Ish.
Then, it happened again. And again. And again.
I started tracking the “episodes” and the increasing number of symptoms. I kept returning to my doc. Every time there was blood work looking for thingamajigs that may be causing my reoccurring illness. We tested rheumatologic things, we tested for common things. We tested all.the.things.
And finally, when I was tired of getting sick, when I was tired of being tired, I turned to my doctor and said, “I’m ready to go see someone who can tell me what this is. Please send me to someone who can help.”
And so began the wild ride of finding a doctor to help and a diagnosis. Or, in my case, doctorS and diagnosES. Because I’m exceptional and I totally needed more than one. (If you want to read about my current diagnoses, you can read THIS POST about drag queens.)
Also, there was that one time that my doctor basically told me it must be all in my head and he prescribed me anti-depressants. Because if blood tests don’t reveal anything, things must be psychosomatic, mmmmhmmmm?
I actually really like my doctor. It’s not his fault that medicine teaches that if something is rare, you must accuse a patient of being crazy before actually finding the rare thing.
So, that’s it. That’s that one time I figured out I was sick. Or all those times, actually.
But, what I REALLY learned is that if you know, if YOU KNOW, don’t give up. Because nobody knows you like you. Even when your doctor tries to shove an anti-depressant in your face. Even when your doctor tells you that you must be depressed and that “depression can cause all kinds of symptoms”. If YOU KNOW, don’t let anyone stand in the way of you discovering and learning about you. You’re worth it. And so was I.