Insomnia

The timing of this is remarkable. 😛

Living Well with Chronic Illness

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New Doc, New Rules

bacon and egg

 

 

I started by going gluten free. Then soy free and dairy free. Then I went paleo, so no more sugar, grains or legumes, either. Now, no red meat. Have I mentioned how much I love my bacon and egg breakfast? And my bacon burgers? And… bacon?

Ok. So I haven’t been the perfect paleo patient. I do have a cup of coffee with a shot or two of cream. I still avoid gluten and soy like the plague, and I have been known to have rice, or quinoa from time to time.

But my recent visit to another LLMD is asking me to tighten things up again, and avoid red meat as well, since she suspects the hives I’ve been getting every day for years, and for which I take Zyrtec every morning, are being caused by an allergy (alpha galactose) that also could have come from the same tick bite that gave me Lyme, Bartonella, and Babesia. She’s going to run a blood test to confirm it, but invited me to give up red meat (“fish and feathers” are still ok) and see how I feel.

I’ll be damned.

Four days in, and I didn’t have to take my Zyrtec today.

(Did I mention my love for bacon?)

The dietary changes aren’t the only things we’ve done. Dr J is convinced that a previous mold exposure is keeping me from healing completely. Dr J also feels Dr C is approaching the Lyme treatment appropriately, but that there are two more pieces of the puzzle to look at, and those would be mold and hormones. I’ll get to the hormone piece in a moment.

I turned 16 in the fall of my junior year in high school. In the months to follow, so did many of my friends, and I attended a few parties. After one such party that was in the basement of a friend’s house (and weren’t most teenage parties in a basement of a friend’s house?), I found myself on the way to the ER, my mother screaming in panic because I felt like I was breathing through a straw, and was gasping for air. It was the night of my first asthma attack, and I’ve been treating my asthma ever since that night.

My mother was quite upset, convinced that the damp basement had mold and made me sick. Who knew that all these years later, she could be right.

Dr J says that it only takes one good exposure to have a mold problem growing in your sinuses. The spores just continue to reproduce, and generally these people will have constant sinus issues. She says we could test for the type of mold that could be growing in my sinuses, but that test runs about $800, and treatment for the mold is under $100, so we’re going to go ahead and start treatment, which involves antifungal meds delivered to the sinuses via a nasal atomizer.

I began treatment this morning, and it’s not the most attractive thing, either. Stuffing a machine in one nostril, while goop is being expelled from the other. But I figure starting now gives me 5 days to adjust to any herx reactions that might pop up, so that I’ll be ready for yet another clinical week and more exams. To help with the effects any massive die off could present, and to help break through the biofilms, I’ll be adding bentonite clay to my daily supplement regimen, in addition to the activated charcoal originally put in place to do that job.

Finally, Dr J says she wants to address the hormonal issues she believes is going on with me. Apparently, “Lyme and mold completely trashes your hormones,” and so more blood work is being coordinated around my cycle to figure out how to tackle that part of the equation. Once we get all that treated and under control, we can tackle any weight loss issues that still need to be addressed.

So I’m happy that we have another direction for my treatment. But boy, am I going to miss bacon…

 

Keeping My Head Above Water

Superman Mug 1

It’s finally come. The day where I’m just trying to keep my head above water, academically speaking. The truth is, most of my nursing class is at this point, or at least the students I speak to. Gone are the days where we’re working ahead, and voraciously reading from our textbooks. Here are the “what’s the most immediate thing I have to get done” days, and skimming is now the new reading, and usually AFTER our lectures, instead of before.
I have a long to-do list to get done today, but I need to purge what’s in my head if I’m going to approach any of it with some success.

I’ve also come clean with my educators about my health status. My professors now know, and I even spent some time in the college’s disability office getting a safety net put in place in case I have another bad day that effects my testing. I’m not worried so much about clinicals. It seems the adrenaline of working with patients is enough to keep me going, and stay on the ball. I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to visit the disability office. So many conflicted feelings. First, there is a part of me that feels that if some special accommodations are made for me, am I somehow taking something away from someone else? Someone “more deserving?” Second, I hate the idea of getting any preferential treatment. I don’t like to whine, and I don’t like to come across like my health issues are somehow worse than any others my classmates are fighting, and I know some of them are indeed fighting their own battles. I’ll be honest, I’m hoping that I never have to use the safety net we’ve established, but at least it’s there.

This week, our lecture class will not be taking place, in lieu of the college’s community health day, which the nursing program puts on every year, from my understanding. We will have tables set up with information and posters about different health issues, from obesity to drug and alcohol addiction. Hopefully when there is a lull in the action, I’ll be able to at least skim through a chapter or two from my text. I have to admit, the best birthday present I got from my family this year was the iPad. I have my text downloaded onto it, and it’s a boatload easier to carry around.

So far, I think I’ve gotten the most enjoyment from helping some of my fellow students with the medical math assignments we have as part of pharmacology course. I was always a strong math student, and I have to thank my high school calculus teacher for really solidifying my skills. (Mr. Rice. He was one in a million, I tell you. Tough teacher, didn’t take a lot of crap, but man he was gifted when it came to teaching. Even my sister was lucky enough to have him before he finally retired, and is thankful for it. So props to Mr. Rice.) I’ve made it a personal mission in my class to make sure that the math assignments will NOT be the reason why my classmates are struggling. Does this mean I may lose a few hours a week of personal study time to help out? Sure. But the folks I’m helping are going to make fantastic nurses, and I don’t want a few math questions on the NCLEX-RN to hold them back. And in the end, we need all the good nurses we can find.

So that Superman mug that you see at the top of this blog? Yeah. That was from a few of the ladies I’ve helped a time or two. I was overcome when I saw it, didn’t even know what to say, but wow it made me feel good. And that’s what I get out of helping. It just makes me feel so good when they start to wrap their heads around the assignments. We get to share a few laughs and a high-five or two as well.

Now, if I only had super speed like Flash, I could get the long to-do list done early enough to enjoy one of the few nice days we have left before the cold really sets into the Shenandoah Valley.