Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Results Show...

So today I got my lab results. And as backwards as it sounds, I am ecstatic because I tested positive for something. Somethings, actually. Let's see if I can remember all this. First my doctor told me that the food allergy panel came back normal, but that I had some serious antibody resistance to several environmental allergens. This was surprising, because that makes me think pollen, hay, pet dander, etc. and I've never had an allergy to anything like that before (that I've known of). Next she told me that all the general stuff that they tested, like anemia, kidney function, liver function, Vitamin E, etc. was all normal. She said, however, that my glucose/blood sugar levels were a tad high. Like, tiptoeing across the line of diabetic. Like, one number below the number where you're insulin dependent. They tested my levels now, which were high, and for the last three years, which were high, and have been steadily increasing. I asked her if this was a result of my diet of 40% carbs, 60% sugar, and she said maybe, but not necessarily, that people who are becoming insulin dependent start to crave carbs and sugar like crazy, so actually that's what could have been making me want nothing but sugar to eat. Yeah, we'll go with that theory. So, she said, we need to watch that. You think?

Then she brought up the one I'd been waiting for: celiac. She said this was what she wanted to talk to me about. Here we go, I thought. We have a winner. She told me I tested the same as I did four years ago (halfway positive) but that I only got tested for part of the celiac panel. Apparently she made a mistake and ordered a "complete" celiac test and not an "extensive" test. Luckily the lab people can still test my blood they already have for those other two things and I should hear back in a day or so. She did make it sound like it's a pretty good possibility that I have it, and depending on what these other tests say, she may want me to have another endoscopy/biopsy. THIS time with gluten in my system.

Then she asked me if I've ever heard of the gene mutation called MTHFR. My jaw literally dropped because my friend Mary Ann, the absolute guru of all things food allergies/digestive issues/etc. had told me about this MTHFR just a few weeks ago, the first time I'd ever heard of it. She said it's a hereditary gene mutation that can cause a lot of the problems I'm experiencing, and often goes hand in hand with celiac. I decided to wait to see what this testing showed before bringing it up to my doctor. So when my doctor (who is actually a PA but I love her) told me I should really consider being tested for it, I just couldn't believe it. Mary Ann, you really should be getting paid for this. Anyway, they can't test my blood that they already have for MTHFR so I have to go in and have more drawn and then she'll get those results back in a day or so. So, we'll see if I have that.

So, no definite answers yet, but finally getting somewhere. I start to get hopeful and excited and then I catch myself and think, "No. Don't. It can't actually be happening. After so many years of feeling like crap I can't actually be getting an answer, I won't suddenly start feeling better due to some simple findings." I just can't believe it. But I guess we'll just have to see. I think I'm pretty due. I've done my time, I'm ready to collect on some reward here.

In the meantime, I get to report for jury duty at eight bloody thirty in the morning tomorrow! So super excited. Except I'm not. At all. Unless by excited you mean completely dreading it and having serious anxiety about being trapped in a courtroom all day, then, yes, I'm out of my mind with excitement.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"So...good news. I saw a doc today."

So I saw my regular physician today. It. Went. Awesome. We were both completely on the same page. She ordered up a lab workup of all the general stuff, just to be sure, (like thyroid, cholesterol, all that good stuff), but she added anemia, Vitamin B, celiac, and..........drumroll......
a whole food allergy panel. They'll test my blood for all the common allergy foods in adults and test them for antibodies or something like that. She said it's incomprehensive, like, if it says that I show positive for one food then I most likely do have an allergy to it, but if it's all negative, then I could still possibly have something. So, hope for positives! She wants to compare the celiac report from four years ago with the new one, and she did tell me it was a possibility that since I was off gluten for a month when I was tested for celiac the first time, the biopsy might not have shown signs of celiac. So I finally got that question answered. Anyway, I practically skipped out of the office I was so thrilled to have got what I wanted and to be so close to getting answers, even if it just eliminates some possibilities. So tomorrow morning I'll go in (after not eating for ten hours) and get poked. Has anyone ever been so excited to have a needle stuck in them? Well, maybe drug addicts, but that's neither here nor there. She said she'd get the results back in about three days and she'll let me know. So...pray that in roughly three days I could have an answer, ANY answer! Even if it all comes back normal, those are things I can cross off my list.

Anyway, that's that for now. I wish I had something funny or interesting to add that's not just about my health problems but I got nothing. Although I do find it hilarious that whenever we're reading scriptures Macy thinks "whore" is said "war" and we never correct her, because...why would we? "No, honey, that word is actually whore. Can you say that? Whhhorrrre." Yeah, not likely. So she teaches us about the war of all the earth and the evil people committing wardoms. The best part is that when Bill and I read, we say the word as it's supposed to be said and she never catches on. Love it. Goodnight y'all.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"I'm Just One Stomach Flu Away From My Goal Weight." -- Emily, The Devil Wears Prada

Thanks to all my wonderful friends and family for your advice and supportive comments. They truly were a ray of light during this dark time. I wanted to answer some of your questions and give a little more insight into my health problems. First, Noelle, I think you hit the nail on the head. I somehow forgot to add anxiety to my list of theories. It should have been close to the top, so to speak. I think there is a very real possibility that switching up my meds at the first of the year caused my anxiety to not only return but to return with such a vengeance that it's actually making me physically sick to my stomach. However, the sickness often comes right after meals, and daily, whether or not I feel anxious at all. I know I could be subconsciously anxious and it's only showing itself through stomachaches, but that scares me because then we've just reached a whole new level of anxiety that I don't know how to deal with. How do I stop anxiety that I'm not even feeling? So...I am going to eliminate the physical stuff first, at least narrow it down. I am going to insist on having an IgG food allergy test done (thank you M-A for enlightening me about that) and discuss my celiac tests from 4.5 years ago. (Wow, has it really been that long?) To review for those who know about this and fill in those who don't, 5 years ago I got the flu and it basically just never went away. From the end of May '07 clear through to October of '07, I was miserable: nauseous, sick to my stomach, dizzy, etc. My dr. tested me for celiac. Shockingly, it came back abnormal (one part showed negative for it, the other positive for it). She said it was a pretty good indication that I had it. So she told me to go off gluten right away and scheduled me for an upper GI. After a few weeks off gluten I felt much better, but then the symptoms came back. However, there were a few glutenous things that slipped in my diet that I didn't realize had gluten. Anyway, when the month passed and I went to a gastroenterologist for the upper GI, he did blood work again. It showed it was still abnormal. Then they did the upper GI (sent a tube with a camera on the end down my throat into my stomach). It showed no signs of celiac, but definite signs of acid reflux. But we wouldn't know for sure until the biopsy results came back. They showed negative as well. Then I get a phone call later from the gastroenterologist's office saying they wanted to test me again, because I'd been off of wheat for a month before the test which could screw up their findings. I was so furious and so not willing to go back to the whole celiac possibility that I said "yeah...no. Not gonna happen." Oddly enough, within the month all my symptoms disappeared. All was well, celiac was dismissed forever.

Fast forward to my stomach issues now. Very similar to that summer of gastro hell. It's been going on for months, no rhyme or reason to it, no explanation, same symptoms. So tomorrow I am going back to my dr. and asking to go over all the paperwork from that whole ordeal, have her walk me through it, and see where I'm at now. I'm sure they'll want to run the blood test again, which is totally fine by me. (M-A, are you just bursting with pride right now? ;) So please, cross your fingers, say a little prayer that this time, for real, once and for all, I'll actually find out what's wrong with me. And if this proves ineffective, I am definitely going to look into the naturopath/reflexologist/bio-energetic route. If NONE of these pans out in any way, then it's off in search of a therapist who actually gives therapy, and back to the psychiatrist for another med adjustment, which I'm actually going to do anyway.

Whew! That was probably way beyond more than you ever wanted to know about my health situation. Thanks to those of you still reading. It's friends like you who make me smile even as I'm curled up in a ball of pain in bed. And that's saying something!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Health is Totally Overrated Anyway, Right? Right???

I've spent the last 2 hours scouring medical websites in an attempt to do a brain-frazzling thing called "self-diagnosis." Always a walk in the park.

I'm taking action. I refuse to feel like an elderly person with an over-sized pill divider, constantly complaining about my never-ending aches and pains. But that is what I am, or at least it's what I feel like. But I'm not. I'm a young 31 year old woman who has never been diagnosed with any disease, chronic condition, or illness, other than Acid Reflux. So, pray tell, why do I feel less healthy than the 80 year old man and his drug cocktail? Why does not a single day go by where I don't have at least a headache and some kind of stomach issue, usually nausea and, my current frequent companion, stomachache or pain or feeling sick to my stomach. There have been other symptoms added to the mix recently, of which I will spare you the details.

Bottom line: I'm so over this. It's been 2.5 months and frankly, that's roughly 2.5 months longer than I'm willing to deal with this crap. With no end in sight (and in fact, it's getting progressively worse) I am becoming proactive. I don't trust doctors to have enough of a clue as to what's going on inside my body to be able to make a guess, however educated it may be. When it comes to the perpetually unsolved mystery that is my health problems, doctors and guessing have proven to be less than productive. So I'm researching. And I'm tracking my diet; the time, each ingredient, snacks in between, drinks, even gum--and the resulting effects. Because this is where I'm at now: every time I eat, within a half hour, sometimes sooner, I am completely sick to my stomach. Doesn't matter what I eat, it seems, just has to be food to have me curled up in bed wanting to die. Or running to the bathroom because...well, I said I'd spare you that. It's not vomiting, I'll say that much and leave it at that. So the obvious conclusion to draw would be that it's something I'm eating. But so far I haven't found a connecting factor. I do, however, have a list I fashioned of everything I think it could possibly be. Wanna hear it? Here it goes.

My new anti-depressant. Possible side effect is stomach pain and other stomach issues. Also, can cause ulcers.

Sugar--why not? It causes enough other problems.

Gum--peppermint, aspartame (when I was diagnosed with acid reflux, peppermint was on the list of foods they said to avoid.

fatty foods (fried)--also an A.R. no no.

Pop--carbonated drinks can make the A.R. flare up.

Gluten--I keep going back to Celiac again and again.

Vitamin deficiency--maybe something I'm not getting.

Advil, Tylenol--I've always known too much of these can cause stomach issues, even ulcers. Obviously I've practically lived on them my entire life. Maybe my stomach finally said "when".

Acid reflux--maybe my A.R. has just gotten much worse in general.

Excess stomach fat--it took every ounce of courage in me to put this last theory down, but it's not a big secret where I carry most of my weight, as much as I lie to myself that it is. A big secret. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and wondering if it's actually causing me problems other than trying to buy clothes. Like, legitimate medical problems. It seems totally plausible. I feel like everything in there is being pulled down, down, down. Maybe it's messing up my organs, my stomach. Maybe they'll discover this and tell me I absolutely have to get lipo and a tummy tuck right away in order to save my internal organs and I come out of it with a beautiful flat stomach and no more feeling like death on a stick every day of my life...

Oh sorry, I must have dozed off there for a minute. Dreaming again.

Anyway, I think if nothing else, it's a place to start. My plan is to take my list into my doctor and discuss each one as a possibility. And, depending on what they say, I may or may not demand a food allergy test. (but I really want one). It's just not normal. It's just not a way anyone should have to live. And I'm gonna do something about it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

So I looked back to see when I last did a Teaser Tuesday, and it was over a year ago. Crazy. The funniest part is that I have read and re-read the segment I "teased" several times and I can't for the life of me figure out what part of my novel it would be from. Funny. But weird.

Anyway, I don't have my Teaser Tuesday picture I usually use cause I don't have it on this computer and I have no desire to go searching for it online right now. So without ceremony, here's my teaser:

Something woke me some time later; I had no idea how long I’d been asleep. My head ached slightly and my cheeks were tight with dried tears.

The atmosphere in the room had changed since I was last awake. It was darker, pitch black almost, dead of the night. Silent, except for the rain now pounding outside on my window loudly, which I realized was the source of my wakening. My apartment had grown colder, but I wasn’t cold. Why wasn’t I cold?

I shifted, and instantly felt the body beside me.

© A. Leppert 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ambien Express

Yup. It's 1:42 am, I'm laying in bed awake with my phone, and I took my sleeping pill almost two hours ago. You know what that means! You're about to take a ride on the Ambien Express right into Crazy Town. I'll be your conductor, engineer, all that good stuff. So climb aboard and keep your arms and legs inside the moving vehicle at all times. Enjoy your ride.

Speaking of trains, I'm reading a book about a train. Well, it's not so much about a train as it is an elephant and the pretty lady who rides her and the young college drop-out-turned-circus roustabout who falls in love with her. (the pretty lady, not the elephant. Although--little known fact alert--Robert Pattinson wasn't too keen on playing the main character Jake in the movie adaptation until he saw and fell in love with the elephant he'd be working with. Just a little movie trivia for y'all) Anywho, here's the thing!! I'm pretty sure they completely bloglifted my idea for this story! Ring any bells? Maybe this will refresh your memory:

Rudolfo's sobs could be heard from the trapeze. Ever since Absiddy's confession, he had been beside himself. How could she do it? Renesmee was his sister. Despite her big hair and freaky voice, he loved her. She was the only sister he had. He had been traumatized enough when he'd heard of the freak avalanche that had taken her life while on vacation in the Bahamas, and now to learn that not only was she murdered, but at the hands of his beloved Absiddy! It was just too much. He had to get away.
Putting his unicycle in his pocket, he stalked out of the big top and whistled for Poopsie, his elephant. Climbing on, he patted her head and said, "Well girl, I guess it's just me and you from here on out." With a broken heart and black face paint streaking his face, he headed toward the highway, thoughts of revenge filling his brain. With one last glance over his shoulder toward the tent that had been his home for almost a year, he started on his journey.
He had no idea where to go. Somewhere he was needed. Somewhere he would belong. Somewhere with warm weather and a TGIFridays. Suddenly, he knew exactly where to go. With a new found hope, he turned Poopsie westward. He only hoped Celine Dion could use him in her act.

YeH, just a little too "coincidental" if you know what I mean. I should at least get in on some of these royalties, or at the very least a kiss from Rpatz. See, I'm not unreasonable. I'm willing to negotiate.

Okay, but in all seriousness, I am loving this book. Old time circus life has always intrigued me, and I love the writing. Simple, easy to follow, written like people normally talk, but still amazing writing. The downside is there's been some pretty naughty parts. Well, only one so far but I'm fairly certain more will come. It sucks cause I love the book! If they could just leave out the raunch...oh, in case you haven't caught on, I'm referring to the book Water For Elephants, soon to be a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon and the aforementioned Rpatz. (That's Robert Pattinson to the layman) I'm pretty sure the movie's gonna be rated R and I will cry.

I got a new phone today, through no fault of my own. I was trying to do a good deed and make my husband's dream come true, and it completely backfired on me and what do I get? A brand new phone. I know, right?? So here's the whole heart-wrenching story that for some inexplicable reason I'm going to tell in a caveman/broken English way. Just roll with it. Boy need smart phone. Boy have new busy calling at church. Boy think time to join 21st century. Boy research. Boy say AT&T better. More plan, less money. Also, contracts not over six more months. Girl say AT&T crap. Girl counting down days Verizon get iPhone. It is dream for her. She will wait six long month to finish contract with crap provider even. But boy want phone now. Girl want boy be able have new phone. Much debate ensues. If boy get phone now with AT&T eligible upgrade, girl also have stay with boy at AT&T or pay double if separate. Girl's Verizon dream slip from fingers, to make boy happy, have nice new phone. So boy and girl go AT&T to upgrade. Evil monsters at AT&T say "just kidding upgrade. Not eligible even though we tell you last month you eligible today. Boy and girl very angry. They shake fists and gnash teeth and storm out never return. Boy sad. Girl sad for him. Then girl has idea! "we go Verizon. We pay AT&T kiss-off fee. We make switch, girl get Verizon, boy get new iPhone 4 he dream long time of. Boy and girl go speak nice people in Verizon. They say, you come us. We give good plan. We give new iPhone 4 for fraction of price. But to girl they say, you have to have new phone. No can use old phone here Verizon. You have new iPhone 4. Everyone happy. We do happy phone dance, much like rain dance but drier. Now boy have dream phone, girl have dream phone, both have good network provider not crap, Verizon have business and AT&T are cry very much they miss us. Everybody wins! And that's my story of how my selfless thinking scored me a new iPhone. See? Thinking of others does pay off. In the form of the hottest new technology.

It's 3:00. I really should wrap this up. Tomorrow, if I actually remember, I'll do a real Teaser Tuesday, with an actual exerpt of my book. And one day in the near-to-distant future I'll post the last of my cakes. Okay. There you have it. We've reached the station, the Ambien train has come to a stop and is shutting down for the night. Hope you had a wild and crazy ride like I did. And no I will NOT be sleeping with my phone tonight, why do you ask?