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Avatar universal

What is making me sick?

I moved to NC from another state about 1 ½ yrs ago to pursue graduate school.  The change was a big one and certainly created substantial stressors that may or may not have had varying affects on my health.  The normal stress associated with single-parenthood, financial concerns, and my schooling continue to create some “anxieties” at times.  I am well aware that these circumstances can take quite a toll on the body, possibly mimicking a variety of other conditions. However, I am concerned that there is more to this…
A little over a year ago I started experiencing some “vague” but extremely upsetting symptoms.  Diffuse hair loss began suddenly and I lost ½ of my hair’s volume within about 6mo. Late this past fall, new hairs began to grow but I continue to shed far more than normal (in a year my hair is about 1/3 its usual volume).  Around the same time as the onset of telogen effluvium (sp?), I also began having chronic headaches and fatigue. The headaches are not as severe as what I have heard of migraines, but frequent and life-disrupting nonetheless.  The fatigue is overwhelming on many days (even with plenty of rest) and generally worse in late afternoon and evenings.
Since then, I have developed a myriad of other “issues”. These include (in no particular order):
1. occasional feeling of general “yucks” or ill-feeling, get cold easily and sometimes feel “feverish” (although body temp is usually norm)
2. lack of energy/weakness
3. difficulty concentrating/remembering or retaining new information
4. some depression- can be moderate to severe at times
5. occasional feeling of racing or irregular heart
6. tenderness in sides of neck and sometimes throat
7. occasional night sweats and other perspiration changes (armpit odor intensified)
8. often itchy/watery eyes, itchy (feeling of pulsating) in ears
9. sores seems to take longer to heal & scaring is worse  
10. bouts of diarrhea a couple times a week, occasional abdominal discomfort (but no nausea)
11. intensity in menstrual flow w/ increased pain during menstruation and “mid-cycle” (although fairly regular)
12. occasional shortness of breath for no apparent reason
13. frequent dizziness upon standing or after bending over (severe like I’m going to faint if I don’t sit)
14. very low back (center just above buttocks) pain/discomfort (more irritated after sitting or bending)
15. frequently feel “itchy” like one of the hairs fallen out is “tickling me or like a bug is on me (this is very frequent and very irritating- happens all over my body)
16. recent tingling/numbness in hands from wrist to fingertips excluding pinkie (sometimes alternate hand is affected simultaneously-sometimes not – persisting for days at a time)
17. most recently a “shooting pain” from groin (inside left thigh near to side of vaginal area) all the way down inside of leg through knee & calf to ankle – over and over like waves – this carried on for two days and subsided.
18. Most significant medical finding: 3 recent labs have showed elevated calcium levels (10.4, 10.6, 10.5). The last one was “high normal” (10.3)
Additional info:
• 34 yr-old female, petite frame -5’4”, 112lbs
• Have always been semi-athletic, and very active w/a “face-paced” life/job ect.
• Social drinker on infrequent occasions (a couple of drinks or wine less than 1x a mo.) – I am a light smoker (1 pack usually lasts 5-6 days) – no “drugs”
• Healthy eater –lots of fresh fruits & veggies –low fat/sugar – lots of “super foods”--- take a multi-vit each day and low dose biotin supplement
• Have previously been quite “healthy” with the exception of a benign vascular hemangioma in back of my right neck side (this is a slow-growing mass of irregular blood vessels in large tubular formations and fingerlike extensions that intertwine w/ muscles and nerves in neck, shoulder and back).  This has caused some localized physical difficulties over many years & is regularly monitored. Most recent MRI of neck showed little change from MRI 3yrs ago.  I have not had MRI’s done of head or lower back.
• I do not appear to have “immune system weakness” as complete blood counts have come back normal, and I do not catch viruses or get “sick” easily (aside from the “sick feeling” that I often have.
• Thyroid tests, including hoshimoto’s (sp?) have come back “normal”, and so has the parathyroid test.
• Endocrinologist has also checked for other endocrine/hormonal conditions (I don’t know all that were considered/assessed) & all returned results w/in “normal ranges”
• Most recently, magnesium, ionized calcium, vit D, “ACE” level test, and electrophoresis test for proteins and immunoglobins (have no idea what the latter 2 are ) have all come back w/in “normal ranges” even though calcium was still “high normal”.
• Endocrinologist seems to think that “something is going on”, but “it may be out of his league”. I am currently awaiting the long process of insurance auth/referral/appoint sched etc. for a neurologist.
In the meantime, after over a year of “vague” but frustrating and sometimes debilitating symptoms with no answers… I am just very curious if anyone out there can relate or has any ideas for “direction”. I have never posted anything in a forum or used services like this before (even try to be careful what I research on the internet with all the info out there that can make you have the “oh my goodness, what if’s…”).  I think I just feel a little desperate at this point and would be so grateful for any relevant advice.
I have wondered about Lyme (although I don’t recall a bite & haven’t seen a rash), Lupus  and MS (although I don’t have all of those symptoms either and some of mine don’t “fit”). I have even considered “mercury poisoning” (as I do have some dental issues and I have wondered about the old fillings). I have also wondered if this is somehow all related to stress (although I feel like my life has been more “stressfull” at other times).  I’m clueless!
• One more thing that may or may not be worth noting, is that I have recently discovered that I may have a “mold problem” in the manufactured home that I have been renting for the last yr & a half. I’ve completed some DIY home kits (with substantial growth results) and am sending for lab analysis (although I have heard that these may not be reliable forms of evidence of severity).
I know this has been very long…. Thanks so much to anyone who has the time to read and can offer any suggestions!!!!
5 Responses
Avatar universal
Wow...I was going to say parathyroid, thyroid, or pituitary, -but it seems you've had those checked...Have you been checked for hepatitis C as well? It can have a cascade-effect of things that affect your endocrine and nervous system as well (and immune, etc...) The elevated calcium will cause many of these symptoms because it can also affect many of your hormones creating a "perimenopausal" effect of hot flashes, night sweats and palpitations, and it could also be antagonizing your thyroid creating a mock hyperthyroidism...-Just curious, what was your PTH, calcium, ionized calcium, TSH, and Free-T (t-3. T-4) numbers? Did you actually get a copy and look at them? -I had to do this with my Drs, and I ended up diagnosing myself because the "high" normal values weren't evaluated correctly...If you didn't know this already, your PTH and calcium levels should either be in-range, or at opposite ends from each other. If one is high or "high normal" then the other should be "low" or "Low normal"...I think your diagnosis is there in your labs, but it takes the right person looking at them to find it...I'll be waiting to see what you've found...best of health...(((HUGZ)))~MM
Avatar universal
Em, also, get your doc to draw blood and check where your Vitamin A is at.  Too much can cause many of your symptoms, headache, hair loss, itching, menstrual irregularity, depression, fatigue, the list goes on.  There are also various causes of too much Vit A, to include a problem with the fluid pressures in your head, so your neck hemangioma just might be the source of all this, and your doc can do a spinal tap to (a) see if you've got intracranial hypertension and (b) temporarily relieve pressure just by doing the puncture until they can figure out how come you have it.  Also, some cholesterol-reducing meds and progesterone can increase Vitamin A.  And even check how much Vitamin A is on the bottle of your supplements, 5,000 IU or less is ideal.  But my thoughts are strictly if Vitamin A figures into this somehow.  See, a high calcium reading, other than being caused by hormones like MedMom said (thyroid, adrenal), can also happen from too much Vitamin A.  One more thing, change shampoos for a while, just in case.  And while you wait to see if you've got black mold in your house, do a little window shopping for another place.  And carve out some ME time.  GG
Avatar universal
Thanks very much to you both for your thoughts and suggestions. I really have no idea what my actual numbers have been on any of the labs I've had done - the calcium was the only one ever specifically mentioned to me. The truth is, I'm not entirely of everything I've had checked in the last year (and/or I'm not sure what certain tests mean or what the docs were "looking for"); I have just assumed that they (pcp & endocrine) knew what they were doing & would alert me if anything stood out. Almost 14mo later, I sure feel "abnormal" with little explanation. With all the supposed "normal" results, I wonder if my complaints are taken seriously or if they suspect I imagine things- I'm sure I'm not alone with this frustration. That said, I am in the process of obtaining actual copies of all of my labs & other records. It seems such an obvious and proactive measure as you mention it MM, but I really hadn't considered that- thanks. I will post more info about the labs after I get the copies.
GG, ahhh, yes... ME time... something that always seems just beyond arm's reach!! ;) You are right, we all need some peace and relaxation now and then - and I probably WOULD benefit from trying a little harder to make it a priority for myself on occasion. :)  It is interesting to me that you mentioned the vit A. When I first began developing symptoms (when hair suddenly started coming out diffusely in massive handfuls and the headaches & fatigue appeared out of nowhere), I did a little bit of research & wondered about "vit A toxicity". The first bout of labs I had done w/ my pcp assured him that I was in "great general health" and there was "absolutely nothing unusual" at the time - that is when he referred me to the endocrinologist to access hormone/endocrine possibilities. You know, again, I kind of just assumed that vitamin deficiencies/abundances would have shown up along with iron levels etc in those first labs. The endo never mentioned it either - no conclusive results there (the calcium highs have shown up just in the last four months, but I'm not even sure if calcium was checked prior to that). The multi-vit that I take (usually daily although I forget sometimes) has 4000 I.U.. The bottle states that it is 100% beta carotene. (The calcium in this supplement by the way, is only 200mg- says its only 15%). I also eat a fair amount of vit A rich foods - but I really always have. I wonder if people can develop a sensitivity to it suddenly for some reason??? I feel so silly for not having been more involved and informed about what my docs have been doing/not doing & about what I have been "checked" for.  Always something to learn, right?
Maybe it is all (or largely) related to the hemangioma, GG. I have never seen a neurologist before - only general docs/surgeons, vascular specialists, and PT - - it was deemed inoperable a long time ago & really it just gets "watched".  It will be interesting to see what the neurologist has to say about it all- - I just found out today; the insurance went through and I have an appointment on the 7th!!!
Meanwhile, I am taking both or your advice and looking into what has been evaluated thus far, and educate myself a little more on what those evaluations/results could mean.
I'm so very, very appreciative to you both for the help!!!  I will post again when I have a little more info.  -Em
Avatar universal
Something else that I found very helpful (although you may get some strange looks from Drs and nurses) was to keep a copy of my own personal medical record. I went through a period of about 3 years where I was seeing 10 different Drs for different things. Most of them were specialists and surgeons, and few of them knew my entire history (actually, I think only my GP really knew everything...) Anyhow, by getting copies of every test, diagnostic disk or film, and diagnosis/ treatment and putting them in an organized binder, I was able to drag this thing to each Dr appt and offer copies of test results they didnt have. It also made it easier to keep track of what I'd had done and when. (I started out having perimenopausal symptoms at age 38, had 7 kidney stones in two years, was diagnosed with hypercalcemia from a parathyroid tumor (had it removed), got a dirty needle stick at work and caught Hepatitis C, and went through 6 months of chemotherapy-like treatment, had a thyroid storm, and then had hypothyroidism for a while, and also had gall bladder surgery...I think there was more in there somewhere...LOL
Anyhow, there was a lot going on, and being proactive got me through it...I wish you health with your journey...(((((HUGZ)))))~MM
Avatar universal
P.S. Look up the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism and see how they match your symptoms. (Warning, there is info about cancer, but don't let it freak you out...)~MM
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