Thursday, January 19, 2012

An Update

Because of the medical problems I've had since the beginning of December, I'm now going every week for blood work to check my liver function. Still operating on the assumption that problems were related to a drug reaction I've been going back and forth between periods of feeling pretty good and periods of wanting to lay around the house and do nothing. Two weeks ago, after my weekly blood tests, I got a call from the nurse. My levels, that had been declining, had gone back up. I told her I was feeling ok, a little under the weather, but nothing too terrible but that I had been told by two different people that my yellowness was coming back. This being a Friday afternoon, she named off every severe symptom I could possibly have and then told me if I have any of those that I need to get to the ER at UNC (which is no less than an hour from my house) and not to go to any other ER. So what happened then? I had a stomach ache as soon as I got off the phone with her and I felt like crap. I was worried and tired of being worried and tired of not knowing what was wrong with me. So I pretty much laid around the house in a vegetative state all weekend - being asked several times by Husband if I just wanted to go to the hospital and he was serious (he was pretty worried too).

So having gone back to my less-than-appealing yellow color, I had my weekly blood tests done last week knowing that the follow-up phone call wasn't going to be great news. And it wasn't. My levels had shot up at a crazy rate in only a week. The doctor made the decision to put me on Prednisone on the chance that I have autoimmune hepatitis but also because he really just needed to do something to treat me. The way the nurse put it, she made it sound like he was diagnosing me with autoimmune hepatitis. So I started googling (which I try not to do with medical stuff but I couldn't help it) and immediately convinced myself that I was probably going to die. After that I had several conversations with people about how much I hate the doctor I go to and how the medical system in this country is so awful (I know...blah, blah, blah).

Having managed to finagle an appointment for this week, I started plotting all the ways I could make this doctor sorry I ever walked into his office! I talk a big game. I had said I was going to go in there with tons of questions and he is going to answer them, damn it. I think I had five questions total. And all of my desire for confrontation was gone by the time I sat down in that exam room yesterday. But the good news is, I feel better after talking with the doctor - who was much slightly less of a condescending douche bag than he was upon our first meeting. Contrary to what the nurse led me to believe, he is not convinced I have autoimmune hepatitis but felt very much like he needed to treat me with medication so my liver wouldn't burn itself out while it waits for a diagnosis. Because of the Prednisone, my levels have come down significantly (which he said would have happened even if I don't have autoimmune hepatitis) and I'm feeling really good. I have to try to stay away from sick people because this stuff weakens my immune system but it also gives me an INSANE appetite and I don't think I've ever had this much energy in my life. This past weekend I felt like I'd had 2 whole pots of coffee and was just plowing through some housework...and I'd not had one bit of caffeine. It was nuts! They're decreasing my dosage each week...which is good because I'd really like more than 4 hours sleep in a night and my hands shake in a way that makes nervous to shave my armpits in the morning. And I'll be happy when my appetite goes back to normal, too, because I'm about to eat anything that isn't nailed down. But hopefully I'll start feeling a little more normal in the next week or so. And that's really all I have to say about that. (Forrest Gump...anybody?)

*Side Note: Remember when I said that my meds weaken my immune system? Well, must be Grant realized how I've not been feeling very well and he decided to bring me home a present from daycare. Pink eye! Hooray for me! Next time I think I'd just like a finger painting or a macaroni necklace.

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