I have been recently, finally, referred to a rheumatologist after finding a GP who took my symptoms seriously. But it is still 6 weeks til I have my appt. In the meantime, I have decided to stop suffering in silence and seek help & advice. Here's my history:
42 (almost 43) yr old female, very overweight.
Many bouts with illness growing up, mostly strep infections. When I was in 6th grade, I had the gamut of strep infections almost nonstop the entire school year: strep throat from Sept - Dec. "Well" for 2ish weeks, before coming down with strep pneumonia on New Year's Eve. Sick with that for 2 weeks. "Well" for about 3 weeks before another strep throat infection popped up. After 3 weeks, Dx with scarlet fever. Then shortly after, with rheumatic fever. After all that went away (ish), in May I was tested for some sort of vascular infection that the dr said was also caused by strep.
Had mono when I was 15. Sick with that for about 3 months.
Always had severe "growing pains" when younger, later called "shin splints" when I was running track.
Developed asthma in college.
Also Dx'd with polycystic ovarian syndrome while in college. Always had abnormal menstrual cycles...until I apparently hit menopause 3 years ago. I had 3 healthy kids, but also 3 miscarriages.
Migraines began in high school. In addition to the typical migraines with pain, I sometimes have "Alice in Wonderland" migraines -- where my perception shifts and I feel I have shrunken or grown larger than my car. These have lessened since I stopped having menstrual cycles.
Many respiratory infections -- pneumonia a couple of times, bronchitis almost annually. MANY sinus infections.
Severe pre-eclampsia with my first child.
After my first child was born, I began having problems with dizziness. One dr thought it was caused by small calcium crystals in my ears. Meds didn't help for that. Another dr thought it was another type of migraine, but migraine meds didn't help either.
Postpartum depression with 2nd and 3rd children. Severe with 2nd; began anti-depressants a month before #3 was born to try to stem it.
Hip pain began after my 3rd child was born, in 2002. Fatigue, stiffness in joints, sore hands, back aches also began.
By 2003, more random pains and cramps. Plantar fasciitis in 2004, until 2007. Illnesses continuing and interfering with work, to the point that I kept running out of leave at work and taking unpaid time. 2007 my joint pain was worsening, as was the fatigue.
In the past 4 years, the achiness, pain, fatigue, muscle spasms/cramps increased. Illnesses and migraines continue as well. In the past year, muscle spasms/cramps have worsened to the point that they will start in my toes, or in a hip, and travel the entire length of my leg. Only heating pad/hot water bottle will ease them. Wrist pain makes it hard to use a computer much of the time (its the BACKS of my wrists, not where carpal tunnel would be a problem). Sore ankles, feel like they are sprained.
Hypersensitivity to touch, I almost forgot. I remember it only being a problem after having kids, but my husband says it was a problem as far back as when we were dating 19 years ago. Even the lightest touch sometimes hurts, and little pokes can be felt sometimes as much as 30 minutes after the fact.
Also inability to concentrate and think. Very frustrating, as I used to love solving logic puzzles, crossword puzzles, etc. and now I can't think long enough to do them. This makes being a teacher very difficult, as well. I now keep lists to keep track of everything.
Local anesthetics don't work on me more than about 10 minutes before they wear off, and then only at the max dose. Had a C section with #3, and they almost had to use general b/c the epidural wasn't taking until they did max dose there, too. Then it wore off by the time they were finishing up stitching me when done. Dental work is a nightmare! I have to be under sedation, and even then I am told I react as if I am in pain. And it takes me a long time to come out of sedation.
3 years ago, my GP finally ran some tests on me to figure out what was going on even though he said he thought I was just depressed. Those lab results came back with super-low vitamin D, normal B-12, lowish cholesterol (under 120), positive for Epstein-Barr virus and positive ANA with speckle pattern. He put me on vit D supplements but didn't say anything about coming back to have levels checked, and didnt' say anything about the postive ANA or EBV.
This week, I had a somewhat new occurrence...my muscle weakness spread through both legs. Tuesday it was all I could do to focus on keeping my legs under me and walking while at school. Wednesday morning, I couldn't even get out of bed onto my legs because of severe cramps and muscle weakness. I went to my dr's office, and had to see another dr in the practice. She ran a battery of tests -- reactive to many tender points, electrolytes all normal, no anemia, B-12 fine, thyroid fine, vit D again low (8 instead of being 30-60), and positive ANA with speckle pattern (1:80). This dr immediately set up the referral to the rheumatologist, and put me on Lyrica.
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