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Medical worry (and general happiness) 
24th-Aug-2006 06:48 pm
Misc: brain side view on black
[No, this is not filtered. This is the sort of thing I think it’s useful to be open about.]

So as I alluded to earlier, but haven’t talked about in a lot of detail, I’ve been concerned for a while about constant exhaustion, memory and attention problems, and various other concerns. Lately I can add breathing problems (both at night and, more recently, sometimes during the day). A lot of it looks very much like sleep apnea although there are some things that seem inconsistent with that. I talked to my (then-) doctor about that a couple years ago and at the time she was pretty sure I didn’t have sleep apnea, but since then the symptoms have gotten a lot worse. My daily exhaustion is greater and more consistent. It feels a lot like being jet-lagged: I’m outside and it’s a bright and sunny afternoon, but I feel like it’s 3:00am and I should be asleep and in bed and it should be dark. When I came home from work this afternoon (early, since I wasn’t really functional), I opened the door carefully so the cat wouldn’t get out. It’s been a long time since I lived in a house with a cat. Yesterday I got off the T a couple stops early on my way to work. It wasn’t that I thought I was at my stop yet, it was just that the train stopped at the station and that bit of my autopilot that controls what you do when the train stops kicked in before I bothered to think whether this was where I wanted to get off. I’m only 40 (well, 39 for another couple days). I’m not due for this yet.

So I’m really glad that I finally found a doctor who was seeing patients, got things straightened out with the insurance company so I can go see him, and made an appointment for September 12. I really hope this is easily treatable, whatever it is. (If not, cathijosephine, you may get your chance to feed me my strained peaches during visiting hours at the nursing home sooner than planned. :-)

All of this is on my mind because I just finished writing up my medical history and an overview of my current complaints to send to my new doctor. (I haven’t sent it yet because I want to run the family-medical-history stuff by my mother first.) I don’t angst about this all the time. :-)

All of that said, my life is pretty wonderful. I have lots and lots of good friends, a new lover, some other people who don’t seem to mind smooching me now and then, a good relationship with my fabulous ex, a good albeit long-distance relationship with my other fabulous ex, and a house I love in a town I love and whose mortgage I can even (albeit just barely) afford. And it was a sunny day today.

I have some stuff I’m frightened about, but in many ways I am blessed.

PS — Lest any of you worry that I’m going to keel over tomorrow, these issues have been going on (and slowly getting worse) for years. I’m sure looking forward to my appointment, but this isn’t an acute, sudden thing.
25th-Aug-2006 12:12 am (UTC)
I know all too well what it's like to be dealing with scary health issues. If you ever need to talk, just e-mail me.
25th-Aug-2006 12:43 am (UTC)
I had the same sort of exhaustion and spacey memory issues. Turned out to be a wheat sensitivity. Hopefully it's apnea-- that's less of a lifestyle change. But if not, there are other avenues to pursue.
25th-Aug-2006 12:46 am (UTC) - Funny how life works out.
I do have sleep apnea and those sound exactly like the symptoms I had before I was diagnosed with it. I had to go through several “Doctors” before I found one that actually listened instead of just giving me a bunch of pills to take. I suggest you insist on a sleep test also ask the people whom you share a bed with if you ever snore at night, stop breathing during sleep or wake up constantly during the night.

When next we meet remind me to have a talk with you about it. I can tell you this, since I now have treatment for it, plus getting some other stuff fix none sleep apnea related, my energy levels are through the roof!
25th-Aug-2006 01:14 am (UTC) - Re: Funny how life works out.
[...] also ask the people whom you share a bed with if you ever snore at night, stop breathing during sleep or wake up constantly during the night.
I do snore, but quietly. Don’t know about the irregularity, but I presume that’s what docorion heard when he originally told me I should be tested for it.

I definitely do wake up a lot during the night. Usually I don’t know why (or it seems to be my bladder’s fault), but occasionally I’m aware that it’s because I wasn’t breathing.

Sure does seem like sleep apnea. The only things that seem to contradict that is that things like NyQuil, antihistamine-based sleep aids, and even alcohol seem to improve my sleeping and leave me more rested in the morning, which is counterintuitive for sleep apnea.

And of course most of the symptoms from sleep apnea come from not getting a good night’s sleep, so anything that seriously interferes with my sleep is going to produce similar symptoms. I still think sleep apnea’s the best bet, though.
I can tell you this, since I now have treatment for it, plus getting some other stuff fix none sleep apnea related, my energy levels are through the roof!
That’s sure encouraging!

As an aside, I noticed astronomy on your userinfo page. You’re welcome to use my telescope (it should get some use, after all!), and I should probably put out my NASA photographic atlas of the solar system for you to thumb through.
25th-Aug-2006 01:07 am (UTC)
I'm glad you found a doctor and made an appointment. Oh, and I know you know this already, but I have sleep apnea. I was diagnosed something like 6 or 7 years ago and have gone through a hate/hate relationship with the Squid (aka: CPAP). That has totally changed now that I have Ambien! Better living through chemistry :)

Anyways, I feel so much better when I use it that it's turned into more of an annoyed/love relationship. I used to wake up exhausted most mornings and achy. My legs hurt and I was always sleepy and foggy-headed during the day. I think it was even negatively effecting my mood.

I was also wondering if you could have food sensitivities or allergies? Have you ever had allergy testing or been tested for Coeliac disease? It might be something to ask your doctor to test for. I'm pretty sure it's just a simple blood test. Oh, and if you want a referral to a good allergy doc, let me know!

My allergy doc is at the Marion Center and he has really helped me change my life around. I have more energy in the last year than I can ever remember having, that and my digestion and allergies are so much better. I often find myself being surprised that sometimes that I feel good most of the time.

*hug* I'm glad you're getting this checked out! And no strained peaches through straws! At least not until we're all old and gray poking about in our wheelchairs :)
25th-Aug-2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Celiac disease is only one form of gluten sensitivity, and the only one with a test. So if you test positive you know what the problem is, but testing negative only means that you may or may not. I know way, way too much about the testing from having to prove in a divorce that my son was gluten sensitive.

If you want to investigate the food sensitivity thing, the best route is to go on a restricted diet for a few weeks or a month and see if there's an improvement.

Apnea is a good guess, and easier to manage, so I'm hoping for that, personally. :-)
25th-Aug-2006 01:29 am (UTC)
*kiss, and a soulful hug*

I have so much to say about everything other than the apnea -- the exhaustion, memory and attention problems -- I've been through it and come out alive and kicking on the other side. I want to talk to you about it sometime when we have quiet together time, though....and also about mind-over-body health maintenance. I wouldn't be here without it.

But feh, sweetness....you're on the cusp of a shiny new decade, which will be filled with love and learning and osmosis with the world at large. Meta later-- celebration of your life now...hasta manana, y sabados....;-)

25th-Aug-2006 02:23 am (UTC)
Thank you, sweetie! See you tomorrow at dinner!
25th-Aug-2006 02:24 am (UTC)
Good luck with the doctor! I hope whatever it is can easily be remedied.
25th-Aug-2006 02:32 am (UTC)
Good luck with it - I was very sad that mine was not sleep apnea, but I have a pretty good list of all of the other stuff one should check for, if you want to talk about it sometime.
25th-Aug-2006 03:43 am (UTC)
I'm really glad that you're getting this checked out!

Sleep apnea is a definite possibility, but your doc should check your thyroid levels and your blood sugar. Oh, wait. Your best friend is a doctor. Never mind. :-)

I have one friend with fibromyalgia and another with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and they had to be tested for everything under the sun before their docs diagnosed them properly (since I gather that there's no real definitive diagnosis for CFS, so the correct way to diagnose it is to test for everything else!) I hope whatever you have is simple and easily fixed. But if it doesn't turn out that way, keep going back to the doc and insisting on being listened to until they find out what's going on and fix it.


P. S. -- My own health has been sucky lately, so I might or might not make your birthday dinner. But whatever happens, I WANT to be there!
25th-Aug-2006 12:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Sleep apnea is a definite possibility, but your doc should check your thyroid levels and your blood sugar. Oh, wait. Your best friend is a doctor. Never mind. :-)
Yeah, but he’s never drawn my blood. We don’t have that kind of a relationship. ;-)

I hope you can make it tonight, but if not, I’ll know you’re thinking of me and I’ll be thinking of you! *Big hugs.*
25th-Aug-2006 07:38 am (UTC)
Many hugs, Sweetie! Personally, I'll be quite surprised if you don't have sleep apnea. It's been many years since we've shared living space, but yes, you do have breathing irregularities when you sleep. (Unless I'm a complete ditz. Oh, wait, I AM blonde. :) ) I would also look into the allergies, if I were you. The other thing you might consider is lead in your house. Adults can get lead poisoning, and I know you can be very sensitive to things physically, especially compared to docorion, who seems to have an incredible immune system. But then again, that's the just the way I am. I, too, am very grateful that we still have a good, albeit long-distance, friendship.

Lots of love!
25th-Aug-2006 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks! This is very useful, and I’ve added it to my draft email.

Lead is an interesting possibility, and might explain my near-constant meat craving as well. :-)
25th-Aug-2006 01:50 pm (UTC)
Good wishes, of course. Hugs when I see you.
25th-Aug-2006 02:13 pm (UTC)
i'm sorry you're having to deal with this, and i hope they figure it out quickly!

also, (slightly early) happy birthday!
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