When to believe your Doctor. Or not.

Published July 7, 2011 by Charlotte

To say my Dr appt yesterday was enlightening would be an understatement of immense proportion.  And I’m not exaggerating one iota. 

About Dr A.

I’ve been seeing the same Dr for 5 or 6 years.  He’s seen me thru 3 hospital stays (only ones I’ve had since birth), numerous colds/flus & a multitude of other complaints.  I’ve seen him without sleep for 2 days (from working in multiple hospitals & running a private practice), his practice go from 2 to 1, heard stories about the Pilgrimage he took his Mom on back to Pakistan (awesome) & his staff has changed over at least 4 times.  I’ve no doubt he is more than smart.  Masochistic because of the work schedule he chooses to keep… a little maybe.  And he cares about his Patient’s.  No, really.  I’ve seen it with my own 2, slightly dysfunctional eyes.  {Yes, his info is available if you email me}  

When it began…

In 2005 & again in 2007 I was hospitalized with Sepsis.   Sepsis (/ˈsɛpsɨs/, from Gr. σῆψις: the state of putrefaction or decay) is a potentially deadly medical condition that is characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state (called a systemic inflammatory response syndrome or SIRS) and the presence of a known or suspected infection.[1][2] The body may develop this inflammatory response by the immune system to microbes in the blood, urine, lungs, skin, or other tissues. A lay term for sepsis is blood poisoning, more aptly applied to septicemia, below. Severe sepsis is the systemic inflammatory response, plus infection, plus the presence of organ dysfunction.  

Two weeks after the 2nd hospitalization I started experiencing severe pain in my chest.  Felt much like, I suspect,  a heart attack would.  My Dr had me admitted into the hospital… again.  They quickly diagnosed me with GERD.  Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus).  Yes it does suck but at least it wasn’t a heart attack right!?   Take this purple & yellow pill daily.  And they mean daily.  Not, miss a day when you forget to order it or forget to take one  b/c you’re lazy on the weekends.  Nope.  They meant daily.  

Since I was already in the hospital my Dr decided to have some Rheumatologists come in and see me about the pain I’d complained of.  All 4 did the “Fibro test” and concluded that I did indeed have Fibromyalgia.  Fibromyalgia — is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Since being diagnosed the symptoms have only seemed to worsen.  Which after reading up on Fibromyalgia makes no sense.  But who am I, yet a lay person,  to argue with 4 MDs? 

Fast Fwd – 2011

Yesterday I spent almost 3.5 hours in Dr A’s office.  They poked me 4 times for blood & I did the usual “leave a pee”.   They also did an ekg & some test that tells them if the blood vessels are thinning/closing in my arms/legs.  I scored in the “normal” range & was prepared to celebrate what I’d thought certain a victory when Dr A tells me that it is indeed ‘not’ a cause for celebration.  I should be ‘above normal’ {ha like that has ever happened} and being normal means I’m very close to not being normal.  Confused? 

Around an hour or so of that 3.5 hours was spent directly with the Dr.   After I told him of all the issues I’ve been having, including the recent “fibromyalgia flare up” I had last week that lasted 3 days, he tells me that a) There is no such thing as Fibromyalgia & b) I have Diabetic Neuropathy.  He goes on to explain what Neuropathy does in his medical terms that almost go over my head.   He tells me to “google” it when I get home.  He must’ve seen the confused/blank stare I was giving him. 

So in response to “a)”  I ask “There’s no such things as Fibro?” 

His response is “No.  It’s what we call a ‘waste basket’.  When diagnosed with Fibro it normally  means something else is wrong that has been mis- or not diagnosed. “

I immediately Poo Poo that idea and move on to ask questions about my liver enzymes being elevated.  Seems I have a fatty liver that has nothing to do with my fatty fat.   Apparently you can be skinny and have a fatty liver.  I feel immensely better about myself today. 

Dr A explained the chest pain from last week {that I brushed off as part of the flare up} is actually called Costochondritis (kos-toe-KHON-dri-tis), an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum).  He said that it’s 10 times more prevalent in females than males.  Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours as needed for pain.

In response to “b)” I decide to indeed ‘bing it’ to see what this Diabetic Neuropathy is.  I don’t want to be in no waste basket!!

HOLY JEHOSEFAT.  {melt down}

All of these “fibromyalgia” symptoms I’ve been having and a butt load of what I thought were “non-related” symptoms are all, in fact, related by way of Diabetic Neuropathy.   Yep.  Every. Damn. One. 

Introducing Diabetic Neuropathy:

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. (ps.  Yes, I am diabetic.)  High blood sugar can injure nerve fibers throughout your body, but diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet.

Depending on the affected nerves, symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can range from pain and numbness in your extremities to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. For some people, these symptoms are mild; for others, diabetic neuropathy can be painful, disabling and even fatal.

Diabetic neuropathy is a common serious complication of diabetes. Yet you can often prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progress with tight blood sugar control and a healthy lifestyle.

Treatments and drugs
Diabetic neuropathy has no known cure. Treatment for diabetic neuropathy focuses on:
  • Slowing progression of the disease
  • Relieving pain
  • Managing complications and restoring function

Here in it’s entirety you can find the whole Mayo Clinic article on Diabetic Neuropathy.  I should be their poster child.  Fa Realz.  There aren’t many symptoms I don’t have. 

Big Question Mark! or err ?

So my question is this… do I have Fibromyalgia?  or don’t I? 

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