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Health Update - Micole Khemarrica
khromat
khromat
Health Update
(Sorry this is so late, but I've tried to update this journal 5 times now through my laptop, which keeps locking up. Grr!)

Okay, here's the skinny on my current health issues.


1) Left Foot: The plantar fasciitis has stubbornly refused to improve through the normal techniques (ice, OTC shoe inserts, physical therapy, night-splints, cam-walkers, etc.) so in January my podiatrist Dr. U. took casts of both feet and sent them off to a lab so custom orthotics could be made. (Why both feet? Because my right leg is shorter than my left by about .25" or so -- not enough to be visually noticeable, but definitely enough to be a contributing factor to the left foot's pain.) Orthotics need to be worn for about 2 months to see the maximum benefit, and after the first week of wearing them full-time I actually noticed an improvement.

Almost a month later, I noticed a growing pain in my left big toe, increasing to the point that within five days I couldn't walk on that foot. An emergency call to Dr. U. (immediate advice: remove the orthotics) and a Saturday appointment discovered a new complication: I have a bunion, a condition more often caused by genetics than the common belief of overly tight shoes. Between the orthotics and wearing the only snug fitting shoes in my closet (my non-slip kitchen work-boots), I had aggravated a condition that had been building up over years. Joy. I was to stay off the orthotics and the work-boots for two weeks (fortunately, a co-worker gifted me with a pair of non-slip sneakers from the same company I bought the boots at; They were men's size 7, but I could tighten the bridge area nicely without pinching the bunion, so I've been wearing those now at work) to get the bunion pain to ease up.

2) Right Hand: We don't know if the current problem is related to the initial injury that resulted in carpal tunnel 'open release' surgery. A month or so ago, I woke up to find my right thumb swollen, the base joint tender and painful when moved. I figured I had stubbed it in the kitchen at some point, and treated it accordingly (ice, ibuprofen, and a brace to keep me from re-injuring it) but after two weeks, it was time to head to the clinic to see my favorite general physician, Dr. K. After prodding around a bit (she complimented me on the brace I had picked up), she ordered a set of x-ray images. The images appeared normal, so she gave me a new arm-splint (stiffer, longer, less chance of moving *any* part of my thumb), a prescription for the stronger form of ibuprofen, and was going to get a referral for an MRI.

After waiting a week for the clinic to send me this referral, I discovered that Dr. K. had called to inform me that the head physician of the clinic countermanded the MRI and instead approved a round of physical therapy. Dr. K. wasn't happy about this change (and I agree, since I'm pretty sure the therapy isn't going to help this) but that's the way it works sometimes.

When I saw Dr. U. yesterday morning for a checkup on my foot, I let him know about the upcoming therapy sessions and he added his own scrip for my foot in hopes that the bunion will respond to the therapy better than the heel pain did. So, as of this Thursday, I get to do PT three days a week for two weeks before the next round of treatments can happen. I just *know* this is gonna be painful.

3) Respiratory System: For most of the winter, I've not had any major episodes of asthma or bronchitis (YAY!). I did manage to get a flu-shot early, and I think that helped, too. On the down side, my house-mate got walking pneumonia and passed it onto me (just because it's called 'walking pneumonia' doesn't mean you're supposed to be walking! But I understand she had pressure at work, too... I hope a few of them got it) and the usual winter sinus problems still happened. Then, just last week, the weather started shifting radically and set off my asthma, which hit me hard this last Friday and Saturday.

The form of asthma I've got is frustrating, as I have more of a problem getting all the air *out* of my lungs, rather than trying to get enough oxygen *in* my lungs. I've got environmentally-induced, bronchio-spasmic asthma -- in other words, weather changes and stuff in the air are my triggers, and it presents itself as a cough that just won't stop. During an episode, when I'm not actually coughing, my lungs feel spongy and I wheeze, I get numb and a little dizzy like I'm not getting enough oxygen, and apparently my face fluctuates between flushed and ashen. I don't have a pulse-Ox meter at home, but the one time I had to go to the hospital near school for an episode, I watched the pulse-Ox meter swing between 98% and 88% (I've learned that the 'low end of normal' is 98%, but apparently for my sensitive system anything below 99% results in asthma symptoms) and the peek-flow meter I *do* have at home has shown me that even on my best days I'm not at full lung capacity (again, hypersensitive system has a narrow range of tolerance -- my 'yellow zone' is 275 to 350, but I've rarely gotten the needle over 350 even on my 'good' days)

4) ADHD: In spite all the physical annoyances I'm dealing with, I'm still functioning reasonably well in the 'mental myopia' area, and definitely functioning well in the 'anxiety attack' area. Strattera is a boon for me, Zoloft less so but still helpful. I can't imagine how I could have made it through my externship *and* all the current medical nuisances if my ADHD was left untreated (or improperly treated).

5) Miscellaneous: In my web-research on my various medical issues, I came across something that set off alarm bells (well, happy alarm bells) in my head. There is a condition known as Mitral Valvular Prolapse Syndrome in which MVP is one of a host of symptoms rather than being the cause of the syndrome. MVPS is a form of Disautonomia, a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system.

Some of the host of symptoms of MVPS include: chest pain, irregular heartbeat, shakiness, faintness, malaise, exercise intolerance, heat intolerance, anxiety and/or panic attacks, depression, mood swings, memory and focus problems, shortness of breath, tingling extremities, gastro-intestinal problems, sleep disorders, and low blood pressure. Now, considering just how many of those symptoms are on my list, it's both a scary and exciting idea to think that perhaps I've stumbled upon the missing link to my health issues. It's certainly something to discuss with Dr. K. when I next see her!

Current Mood: curious curious
Current Music: Cult - She Sells Sanctuary (Gran Turismo 3 soundtrack)

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Comments
doodlesthegreat From: doodlesthegreat Date: March 23rd, 2004 08:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Good gravy, that's a host of maladies to have to deal with. But I am glad that you're making progress in nailing down what's going on.
From: jinxtigr Date: March 23rd, 2004 09:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I ended up learning that my own not-stop-cough asthma was reactive to dairy products, even though I'm not actually lactose intolerant. Maybe that's why I ate almost nothing but dairy :) anyhow, I've had a LOT of relief from isolating that cause and stopping the dairy products completely. Soy milk's on me ;) (and goat cheese)
I also ended up finding a very unusual way to be polyamorous, ought to chat with you about that sometime :)
Be well! For whatever value of well does the trick these days! :D
queenofstripes From: queenofstripes Date: March 23rd, 2004 11:55 am (UTC) (Link)
chest pain, irregular heartbeat, shakiness, faintness, malaise, exercise intolerance, heat intolerance, anxiety and/or panic attacks, depression, mood swings, memory and focus problems, shortness of breath, tingling extremities, gastro-intestinal problems, sleep disorders, and low blood pressure

Whee, let's exchange unhappy hindbrain stories sometime! Except for the blood pressure -- I'm hypertensive instead -- you're playing my song there, hon... *hug*
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