On this blog I talk about anything from our crazy love of dogs to my adorable niece and nephew because this is MY blog and well, quite frankly I CAN. I like to write about things that are important to me: my family, my animals, traveling, being "green", photography, art, etc. Lately, I've been concentrating a lot more on my health because I've learned (the hard way) that if I don't make my health a priority then I will forever be talking about how horrible I feel today. And honestly, well, I don't want to be known as the person who complains all the time about her health. I am very aware of how much I talk about my health to those around me. My mom and my husband probably get more than their ear full and God bless them for always providing a listening ear. Looking back in the last 5 years I have made leaps and bounds. Leaps and bounds, I tell ya! I am a new woman but I am still not the woman I want to be.
This is my life. I am taking control.
Let's take a look back... this is mainly for me but also for those interested in my health history. Obviously, a lot of this is personal so I won't go into a lot of details but feel free to leave me a comment or email if you are struggling with the same or similar issues and I will be glad to discuss more with you in private.
"Were you sick as a child?" I get this question a lot actually. And the easiest way I know how to answer it is this: I was a normal healthy active child. Yes, I got colds every now and then like other kids but I don't really ever remember being extrememly sick. My only real memory of extreme pain comes from elementary school when I use to have 30 minutes drive to and from school every day. I used to get these horrible migraines in the afternoon. I remember laying down in the backseat of the car very often on the rides home, praying we would arrive home soon. Now whether these migraines had anything to do with my current health problem, I do not know. Maybe it was some sort of foreshadowing in to the future...
My true real health problems begin in college.
2003 - 2005 I struggled with my health for several years in college, suffering from intense migraines, body aches and many other unexplainable symptoms. I missed a lot of class due to illness. I'm sure my professors thought I was lazy. The truth is I had no clue what was going on with my body. I turned to drinking and partying for a few years to help with the pain which, of course, only ended up making things worse. During this time is also when I was first diagnosed with depression after one of my best friends died of leukemia.
May 2005 - I remember being so incredibly sick with pneumonia, bronchitis, laryngitis, etc. This was my senior year of college. (Random side note: This was also the month I met Buie. He brought me soup and sat with me for one of our first "dates.") The day after I graduated college I flew to Montreal for 2 weeks. In hindsight, this was a stupid decision as I ended up getting a lot worse. I went to a nice French doc who loaded me up with lots of steroids, antibiotics and an inhaler to help me breath.
Summer of 2005 - I took yet another trip but this time it was to South Africa to visit friends. This whole trip was a blur of back pain, upset stomach and Ib profen tablets. I think I owe my friend, Angie, a family size bottle of Ib profen because I finished off hers in the 3 1/2 weeks I was there. The plane trip there and back was so painful, I swore I would not make another long overseas flight until I knew what was wrong with me and I was well. After this trip was when my mom and I decided to take action. I was tired of living in constant agony.
That same summer I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia by a local physican. Before this time I had never heard of Fibro. I started researching it and finally connected some of my symptoms such as: unrelenting fatigue, depression, flu like muscle aches, migraine headaches, constant joint pains, and even IBS. Ok, things were starting to make sense a little bit. But WHY do I have all of these symptoms? There had to be a reason.
2006 - If you were close with me during this time, you remember this was a hard time for me. I must apologize to my roommates at the time. I cried a lot. I slept a lot. It was not a fun time for anyone.
Fall 2006 - I found the Fibro and Fatigue Center of Dallas and my life started to change. I was taking control and I have my parents to thank for everything - for footing the bill, for driving me to and from appointments in Dallas, for listening to my cry when I was in so much pain to move. Thank you, mom, for being my rock during this time.
I had about a bazillion tests run and found out that I had several serious viruses living in my body which were causing me to get sick and stay sick: 1) parvovirus infection 2) epstein-barr virus 3) Cytomegalovirus or CMV This was all kind of overwhelming news but totally treatable. It's not cancer. It's not terminal. It's treatable. I knew it was going to be a long road ahead of me but what choice did I have?
My treatment would take place in Dallas, Texas which was over 5 hours away from where I lived. Let me just say, I LOVE Southwest Airlines and I am so thankful they have a direct flight from Little Rock to Dallas. I can't tell you how many times in the last few years I have taken that flight.
I flew in to Dallas every 6 weeks or so to meet with my doctor and get IV treatments.
I was prescribed about a 30 or so different supplements. Seriously, at one point I was taking 34 pills twice a day. That's 68 pills a day for all you math enthusiasts. I remember taking so many pills it would literally make myself sick. I would have to space them out and take a couple of pills every 20 minutes or so, which basically meant I was popping pills from the time I woke up from the time I went to bed to kill these stupid viruses.
The damage that these viruses had done to my body is something I am still recovering from. Vitamin deficiencies, anemia, thyroid disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disease etc. - these would all soon be normal vocabulary in the next coming years. And I would soon find out that so would the word gluten and Celiac Disease.