It’s been a while since my last post here, and in case someone has been wondering… yes, I’ve been sick. Again. I think I just felt this disaster coming for different reasons:
1) Due to the floods, my anxiety went too far up which always brings out all sorts of legitimate and “illegitimate” body symptoms and weakens the immune response;
2) Dogs were having their yearly vaccination and apart from preparing the environment, them and myself for the vet’s visit, I was very worried because of their reaction to the vaccine which was strong and quite obvious for 2-3 days after the shots;
3) I had a check up visit at my dentist’s office and the dentist who wasn’t wearing a mask turned out to be sick with some sort of “all over abdominal cramping”;
4) On my way back home I bought a pack of famous Italian Amaretti biscuits, surprised by their discount price – I distantly remembered that they should be made of almonds among other things, but after I already swallowed more then a handful of them, being somewhat suspicious of their a bit too sharp odor and bitter taste, I read the label which said that the product instead of almonds contained somewhere around 20% of… apricot seeds! 20%!!? What about that slight cyanide content in the seeds and all those warnings that the ingestion of too many such seeds can be harmful…
5) I’ve been literally exhausted because it’s been months since I last had some regular, peaceful night sleep… it got that bad that I reached the point where I almost forgot what a good sleep actually meant. Floods added even more strain to my bad sleeping patterns in the sense that even if I managed to doze off for just a while, I had nightmares all the time. In one of them I met my mother far away from our home and she was constantly repeating that I couldn’t go back home EVER AGAIN, because there was no home (i.e. safe place) any more, and what’s even worse, that there wouldn’t be any such place ever again for as long as I live! Can you imagine a worse case scenario in a life of an agoraphobic, to be alive but left without a home for the rest of your days? Honestly I can’t. In another one, I was walking through all that muddy water up to my neck and desperately trying to pull out from that ocean of dirt some horribly large pig that was drowning… I think you got the picture. So to sum up, I hardly had any proper rest at all.
6) I got a huge blister on my finger while I was taking care of one of the dogs’ fur, and even though I wore gloves and disinfected well that big wound that developed when the blistered skin came off, the fact remains that I still planted some flowers on the terrace on that day and the following days and that my wound got into some contact with the potting soil in spite of my efforts to protect it with a band aid. I cleaned the wound diligently every day and it healed well… but still!?
So what actually happened and why am I making this tragically long introduction? I ended up getting sick in a really unusual way. Some ten days ago I started having really strong muscle cramping and knot ball like nerve pains in my legs, alternating with periods of numbness and “I have some sort of a leg, but it doesn’t feel like my leg at all” feelings, subsequently replaced with horrible stabbing pains in my calves and thighs. I’ve NEVER experienced anything similar in my entire life. I deal with IBS on almost regular basis, but accompanying abdominal cramping was among the worst I’ve ever endured. This is where the fact number 6 from above suddenly dawned upon me – Am I dealing with… TETANUS??! The last booster I received was the 5th one administered as a part of the regular vaccination schedule at the age of 15, i.e. some 23 years ago. Are those 5 shots that I received from my birth to the age of 15 enough, or do I absolutely need additional boosters every ten years, which means that I already missed two of them?? Doctors opinions seem to disagree… so as I was waiting for my jaw to lock and to die in cramps, I found some relief in the fact that a tetanus infection can end in FULL recovery, but I was already out of my mind by the time I found this information. I also performed some weird “spatula” test :)) – they say that if you tackle the end of your throat and don’t get the usual gag reflex, but end up biting the spatula instead, you’d better get ready for the dooms day. I got the gag reflex all right, but it wasn’t that much comforting after all.
As the time passed, I experienced some burning feelings, as if my entire body went on fire and I developed slight fever, which I still have. Later, while I was lying down and staring at the TV which was pretty much all I was able to do in these last ten days or so, all that cramping migrated from the legs upwards and wrapped up my entire body in electric shock like knots that came and went pretty much without a pause. At this point I got a bit more prone to attribute everything to “some weird dentist’s virus” number 3 explanation, but I must say that even that number 4 “slight cyanide poisoning” from the Amaretti biscuits wasn’t so much out of question either, especially because I was growing more and more dreadfully tired and prone to… oversleeping??!
I think I haven’t slept all right for more than 6 months continuously, and now all of a sudden, total crash. Maybe I was just tired to the end of my limits?? Or perhaps the tiredness and my weakened immune response triggered some kind of dormant neurological disorder?? Is it perhaps my thyroid with its large nodule finally dying for good… or could it be simply that I have some… parasitic infection?? Dogs get their anti-parasitic meds regularly and they are definitely healthy and a bit fatter than they should be, but hey still, what if…
At this point I started going really crazy, because objectively there could be more than a few dozen explanations for how I felt, and my anxious over-analytical hypochondriac mind couldn’t stop searching for an answer. I needed something definite, THE ANSWER. But sadly, there was none. All I could do was pray for this to be some sort of a virus so that it could eventually go away and leave me alone, but I dreaded much worse scenarios all the same.
Pains migrated back to arms and legs and I developed some very weird almost constant numbness in my right arm and right leg. So here we went again… Dear Lord, now what… paralysis?? MS??? Or perhaps even… cancer…???? When I started feeling cramps even in my facial muscles and when the left corner of my mouth went numb as well making it harder for me to speak and swallow, even a possibility of a stroke came into picture… When on the contrary all that numbness got replaced by horrible leg pains once again, the mysterios illness started sounding more like… fibromyalgia?? Or was it actually some autoimmune disorder other than MS… sarcoidosis?? Lupus?? Or hey, I’m quite sure that I didn’t get any ticks hooked onto my skin in ages, but maybe I missed something… so Lyme disease?? Or, speaking of insects, maybe it was the consequence of all those mosquitoes stinging me in the days after the floods… hmmmm… West Nile virus?? Or even leptospirosis??
Then by some accident I got onto a hepatitis C web page and to my horror, I realized that my symptoms could fit fairly well even there… which reminded me of how I feared that I could have contaged the HIV virus because I received a blood transfusion in 1983 when blood still wasn’t tested for hepatitis C or HIV… contaging HIV of course didn’t happen, but I was obviously a hypochondriac long before my very first panic attack. :))
The minute I got hooked of the hepatitis C idea, stabbing pains started closing in on my joints, knees and foot ankles and all of a sudden, RA felt like a totally plausible explanation…
I’m very sure that by now you’re convinced that I’m a complete nutcase, but believe me that this mental self-diagnostic horror is not so much far away from what is experienced by many people who can’t be easily diagnosed and who spend months, if not years visiting all kinds of specialists in a desperate search for an answer to their problems. Being also very much aware that if I went to see any kind of doctor and said that I occasionally don’t feel my arm and leg quite all right, I would end up paying dearly for a MRI and spinal tap to verify the possibility of a MS diagnosis, I decided to wait a bit longer. In the meantime, pains got somewhat lighter and the overall weakness is almost gone, but I still can’t walk normally or use my arms as usual… handwriting and typing is quite a problem (it’s been something like 3 days that I’m typing this), and I’m really not sure what to do. Some basic blood work would be absolutely necessary, so I’ll see where that can take me. I just can’t believe that something so weird and obscure could be happening to me immediately after those catastrophic events that hit my country, but one disgrace never seems to be enough. I really did my best to help in some way during the floods, I truly felt the pain of people and the consequences of the rain in the whole region, I was quite active within the limits of my confined world and to my surprise, I somehow seemed to be “fine” health wise in a situation where nothing and nobody was fine… but it just didn’t last. I was separated from the blog and my consciousness was directed from outwards to inwards once again. I really don’t know how to get back on the track, I just know I’m scared and I want this to go away. I want to be “ok” (my usual chronically problematic ok state), so that I can make some much better use of myself.
Wish me luck.