Horrible ER Experience

Yesterday was kind of hellish. My migraines were worsening and I had already reached my limit of medicine I’m supposed to take in a week for them, so I ended up going to the ER. There they gave me what they call the “migraine cocktail”, which includes Toradol, Benedryl, and a nausea medicine.

Unfortunately, I had a horrible reaction to the Benedryl. It is really weird because I take it all the time at home, but I guess the IV version doesn’t agree with me. As soon as they started giving it to me, I could already feel chest pain around my heart area and the room started spinning, but figured it was just my anxiety. However, within a few minutes, my resting heart rate had jumped from below 100 to over 165!

I felt like I was dying. It was a horrible feeling. My body was trying to throw up the offending agent, but of course it couldn’t, as it was administered by IV. It was at least a half hour to an hour before I didn’t feel like screaming and stopped thrashing around in incredible discomfort.

I ended up having to stay in the ER longer so they could do an EKG and blood work, which they hadn’t originally intended to do, but with the heart rate spike they wanted to make sure nothing else was going on. Luckily, that stuff came back ok (although I was deficient in potassium and had to drink a nasty concoction to help that).

On the plus side, the migraine is better, but still not feeling great. Going to try to take it easy all weekend.

At Home Medical Testing with LetsGetChecked.com

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My blog gets many offers to partnership with various companies, but I am always very picky about who I will partner with. I have two important guidelines I always try to stick to. First, I will only consider partnering with companies that promote things I would actually want to use myself. Further, I want to use their product or service myself to know the quality of what I am sharing. Secondly, the product or service has to be something that fits the themes of my blog and that I believe may genuinely be useful to some of my blog readers.

Recently the home medical testing company LetsGetChecked.com reached out to me. I liked how they offer a wide range of affordable, at-home medical testing options for sexual health, both men & women’s health, and general wellness. When I saw that they offer a women’s female hormone test, I decided to give it a try since I have been wanting to get that test done but my insurance won’t cover it and it is far more expensive if I get it done at a medical center. I have the test now and will do an update post once I get the results. I am hoping the test may reveal if I am indeed dealing with early menopause as I and my doctors have suspected.

I was curious about how an at-home blood test may work, as I am no phlebotomist, but it turns out they use lancets, similar to at-home diabetes testing, so it isn’t scary or complicated at all. I am excited to get the results of my test (which will be available online within a number of days after the test is returned). All of the testing is confidential of course, so there is no need to worry about your privacy being invaded.

In the future I may try their cortisol test as well, as I have always wanted to see how high my cortisol levels are. Other tests available include STD testing, hepatitis testing, fertility/prostate tests, a variety of vitamin/nutrient testing, tests for organ function (like liver and kidney), and colon cancer, lyme disease, diabetes, and celiac testing.

I personally feel that services like LetsGetChecked.com are most beneficial for people who have had certain tests turned down by their insurance, but still want to get those tests done, or people who have no health insurance at all and can’t afford the high costs of testing at hospitals and medical centers. Additionally, some may prefer the convenience of doing it all at home and not having to deal with insurance forms, waiting rooms, and medical personnel.

If you decide to try out one of the tests on LetsGetChecked.com, please use the code marandarussell20 for 20% off your purchase! 

Nervous About My First Gastroscopy

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Tomorrow I have my first ever upper gastrointestinal endoscopy scheduled. I’m super nervous about it. My biggest fear is that the anesthesia won’t fully knock me out and I will be conscious during it. I also worry about the possibility of the anesthesia wearing off early and waking up during it. I almost wish it had been done today so it would be over already and the anxiety would be over with.

During the procedure they plan to take a small biopsy to check me for celiac disease since changing to a gluten free diet has seemed to have some positive benefits for me. For one thing, since I switched to a mostly gluten free diet, my iron and vitamin D levels have stabilized for the first time in at least over a decade after always being too low.

The procedure is also being done to check for a hiatal hernia and acid reflux damage. I hope the results won’t be discouraging or worrisome. I also hope the anesthesia won’t make me sick. Prayers and positive energy are most welcome if any of you do that kind of thing!

Last Night was a Disaster

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That headline is not an exaggeration. First off, my MRIs went bad. I had MRIs for my brain and neck scheduled last night, both with and without contrast. I didn’t even get to the contrast part because the first part gave me a migraine, triggered severe neck pain, and gave me a major panic attack. I was almost sobbing by the time they got ready to give me the contrast, so they sent me home.

I left feeling embarrassed for not being able to keep myself from crying in public yet again. I also felt feelings of failure as I couldn’t do something as simple as completing two MRIs. Now I have to contact the neurologist that ordered the tests and tell him I wasn’t able to make it through and see if he wants to make separate orders for the contrast part. So, I might have to go through it again soon.

Also, we ate at a local restaurant yesterday that served me some bloody chicken. I didn’t notice right away because the blood pooled beneath the chicken breast. Anyhow, last night I got really sick and had to sleep with a trashcan beside me. I took both Mylanta and Zofran and nothing helped the nausea. I suspect I might have gotten a little bit of food poisoning from the underdone chicken.

At least I’m not fighting down vomit anymore, but still feeling nauseated and sick. Understandably, all this has made my mood rather blah too. I just want to huddle under the covers and hide from reality right now.

Migraines Caused by Neck Issues?

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I’m still struggling with migraines, but am starting to think that they might actually be cervicogenic headaches (caused by issues in the neck). The last few days, the left side of my neck has been visibly swollen and extremely tight, causing a great deal of pain. I can’t help but notice that the worse the neck pain is, the worse the headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue become as well.

One person on Facebook who also suffers from Ehlers Danlos even suggested that perhaps the migraines may be due to a chiari malformation or craniocervical instability, which are both common issues associated with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I have wondered about the neck instability possibility, as I often feel like my head is excessively heavy, not supported well by my neck, and sometimes bobbles around almost like a bobblehead. Whenever I sit for long, I have to have a neck rest because my pain worsens quickly if I have to hold my head up without support.

Unfortunately, it looks like if instability is the issue, the answer might be this huge, horribly-uncomfortable-looking neck brace that looks like it would be sensory hell for me. Of course, I do know from a prior MRI that I also have degenerative disc disease throughout my cervical and thoracic spine, and at least a couple herniated cervical discs. Whatever the issue, I wish it would clear up soon! This is miserable and I feel like I am living on NSAIDS, muscle relaxers, and Lidocaine right now.

Rough Week, But Some Good News

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This has undoubtedly been a rough week for me so far, but some good things have happened too. Here is a short run-down of the last few days:

Sunday and Monday, one of our pipes froze because of the freakishly cold weather so we had no water until that section thawed out. Luckily, it didn’t cause the pipes to burst or anything like that. My husband thinks he solved the issue by replacing the insulation around the pipe, but I guess we’ll find out the next time we all freeze.

Yesterday I had my appointment with the rheumatologist to get my Ehlers Danlos testing done. I’m officially a zebra! Right now my diagnosis is Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos, although I do plan to try to pursue genetic testing to make sure none of the other EDS genes are playing a part. The doctor also highly suspected I have POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), which would help explain my dizzy spells, vertigo, feeling faint, and maybe even a few episodes of passing out when I was younger. It sucks that there is no cure or really even further treatment other than what I’m already doing, but it is wonderful to have some answers that finally make sense!

Tuesday I made the mistake of posting in a Facebook chronic illness group about my surprise that a zoo we want to visit charges $25 for the use of a wheelchair for a couple hours. Soon I was accused of being entitled, expecting everyone else to pay for my disability, and even being too poor to go to the zoo if I couldn’t afford the extra charge. The attacks got to the point that it actually made me cry because it hurt my feelings so much. I wasn’t even saying that the zoo had no right to charge for use of their equipment, I was just questioning whether the price was a bit high for the time it would be used. Of course, then I heard that some zoos and theme parks charge way more, some even over $100 a day! I can’t help but feel personally that is taking advantage of the disabled. Maybe I’m wrong, but I still feel that way.

Last night all this stress took its toll on me. I had the worse migraine I have had in years. Luckily, I still had some migraine pills from the last time I filled the prescription which was several years ago. They were technically expired, but still did their job. Today I have that slight headachy, hung over feeling I always get after a severe migraine.

 

I Hate Kidney Stones

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Last night I spent a horrible evening passing a kidney stone. I don’t know if you have ever experienced that particular level of hell, but it is miserable. I did finally pass it late last night and immediately felt the relief, even though I am still sore and uncomfortable from the whole process. This is at least my 3rd experience with kidney stones and I’m really wishing they would leave me alone.

On the plus side, at least it is over now, the swelling has gone down, I’m able to sit and lay normally again, and I’m lucky enough to be able to take the time to rest and recuperate.

Another Fun Visit to the ER

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I spent yesterday in the ER. Always lots of fun. I was rather freaked out because I literally couldn’t swallow at times and felt like I was going to choke to death or something. I also was having chest pains, trouble breathing, and feeling like I was going to pass out. Now I get to go back to the GI doctor because they think there are probably issues with damage to my esophagus.

Still not feeling much better today. They put me on some meds that are supposed to protect and hopefully help repair damage done to the esophagus, but no relief yet. I still struggle to swallow, keep coughing, and feel like there is something permanently stuck in my throat. Eating and drinking is no fun, even the smoothie I tried to drink earlier struggled to go down. My chest, especially around my breastbone feels like there is an elephant sitting on it. Man, this sucks.

New Blog Theme, TMJ, and Being Silly for Halloween!

Hi everyone! First off, I want to say that I changed the theme (appearance) of my blog slightly. I don’t know if you all will notice or not, especially if you read most of my posts on WordPress’s reader function, but for those who actually visit my blog address, I hope you like the changes. I thought it was a bit more visually appealing, especially for sharing art and poetry, which I like to do.

Yesterday was the first day since my wisdom tooth surgery I was able to get out and have some fun. We didn’t do anything major, just went out to eat (still having to eat soft foods, so we opted for pasta), and did some Halloween shopping at Goodwill, where I decided to try on a couple “spooky” accessories:

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It was fun just playing around and being goofy after being sick at home for so long. The surgery pain is much better, although I’m pretty sure that this whole ordeal has brought on a flare-up of TMJ (a jaw joint disorder), which I have had issues with in the past. It still hurts to open my mouth very wide, talk much, chew anything, or smile big.