I definitely have allergies (cats/ragweed) and asthma. For years, I just lived with it, but in the past six, I've gone all out to treat it. I have a cat in my life on weekends, and it's ragweed season. However, I've been battling what I think is an infection that everyone keeps telling me is just allergy/asthma.
Two years ago in August, I was sick, vomiting I was so ill. Twice, two weeks apart. From that point on fatigue never left me. Several months later, in February, I came down with a horrible upper respiratory infection at the same time I was exposed to a huge dose of animal protein and a very unsanitary condition filled with unimaginable filth. I've never lost my voice before, but this time, I could hardly squeak out a word. A few weeks later, my sense to taste altered. I had what is neurological damage to the area in my nose that sense taste. No doctor seemed to care. I could smell the infection. Finally, I did some exploration with a Q-tip. There were open sores in deep in my nose. One opened and drained like an abscess. An ENT and a CT scan, and there was nothing. I begged for antibiotics "for the infection that you don't have that doesn't show up in the CT scan" the ENT said, but he gave me seven days of Levaquin. I said to him that I have white patches on my tonsils. He said that they were from post nasal drip. They went away with the antibiotic.
One sore in my nose improved with seven days of Levaquin, but the other persisted. I felt better, but couldn't function past 3 PM still. I went to a DO. She was shocked, and said that I had a abscess in my throat. I was losing my hearing in my right ear, my throat was inflamed. I was in pain from the inflammation. The throat and nose culture were okay. She gave me two rounds of Augmentin and pronounced me cured. I said to her that the sore was still there, and that the glands in my throat were swollen. She dismissed them as salivary glands whose swelling subsided with antibiotics. She cultured the sore, but it wasn't MRSA so it was nothing to her. This was by August last year. But, I was still feeling fatigued, and the open sore high in my nose still persisted, but better. Finally, and luckily, I had my first full blown sinus infection last February. My allergist gave me a round of Amoxicillin and then Levaquin. The sore in my nose went away. I was still feeling fatigued, but could actually manage to make dinner.
I could definitely see that antibiotics improved my health, even though I was being told I didn't need them and any improvement was just the anti-inflammatory effect of antibiotics. On the other hand, I was feeling better and could actually walk a number of blocks and stay awake after 7 pm. So, I'd take any excuse for antibiotics. Let me note that I am not one to go to a doctor. I have an unhealthy fear of medical treatment. All of these trips for medical intervention were acts of pure bravery and desperation.
A tick attach itself to me in June this year, and took doxycycline. Doxycycline just made me feel healthy, and gave me endurance.
I received Cipro for a UTI two weeks ago. Again, I felt better still. What I had been attributing to my lungs and asthma started to improve. The dull pain in my rib cage and back disappeared. I had asked the doctor if that pain could have been related to a UTI, and she actually laughed at me. She sent me a note telling me the urine culture came back negative. I went to her office for a copy of the results. They weren't negative, but inconclusive, containing B group beta-hemolytic streptococci. I guess from what I read that this is common. She told me that the pain under my shoulder blade and top shoulder came from asthma, and I needed to stretch those muscles, and that stretching according to her belief would cure asthma. Obviously, she's never had asthma. I didn't mention to her that a few weeks previous that I had tightness in the center of my chest. The allergist suggested anxiety due to asthma, but I went for 25 years w/o being anxious about asthma, I doubt that I am going to start now, and I used a peak flow meter to test my breathing. It was very normal. I would say if it was anxiety it was more due to life, but I have never experienced that before.
Every time I have received antibiotics, some symptoms go away and never return. I feel better, less fatigued, and what has been attributed to sinusitis, allergies or asthma heal and don't come back. I went to the allergist a couple of weeks ago, and he told me that my nose and throat have never looked this good. I said it was all the antibiotics. I do have a long-term good relationship with him, and I can have conversations and challenge him, but he always defaults to allergies, or he doesn't comment.
Little by little, I peel away the things that I have been attributing the asthma and allergies, and find that they were caused by something else, but no one will believe me. Right now, there's still a dull pain under my right shoulder blade and top of my right shoulder when I move them. There's dull pain/soreness under my shoulder blade when I take a deep breath sometimes. The allergist wants to attribute all of this to allergies, but I keep getting better and staying better with antibiotic treatment. And massage does help relax the tight muscles and alleviate the symptoms. I was able to spend the weekend with my cat with minimal symptoms. I'm the best I've been with her.
When I am actually exposed to a cat, I can feel the spots in my right lung and right side of my nose where it's inflamed where the irritant hits. However, this is not true on the left side anywhere in my body. All the symptoms I experience are on the right side of my body.
I'm fully medicated for allergies, Xyzal, Singulair, Advair, NAsacort, Maxair, and I'm a neti pot master. I even will throw in a Benadryl if I think I'm really going to be allergy challenged. Now that I've had antibiotics, the allergy treatments actually tend to work. In the six years that I have tried to get relief with allergy medications they haven't worked. They do now after I've taken antibiotics.
However, it's the dull pain in my shoulder and shoulder blade makes me think that this isn't just asthma. In fact, the more that I think of the "asthma attacks," I had almost 25 years ago, at 25, when I first had any signs of an allergy to anything is nothing like what the allergist has been telling me is asthma in the last couple of years. At best, I call it inflammation and that's it. Yes, it could be just tight muscles from spasms. But, take into account the fact that fatigue has improved, the distortion of my sense of taste improved and the sore in my nose that went away with antibiotics, post nasal drip, and inflammation of my ear, nose and throat has gone away. Pain that girdled my right torso subsided. This is all responding to antibiotics, and not getting worse once I stop them. It seems to me that this is acting more like an infection than asthma or allergies, and that allergens irritate what is inflamed from an infection. It's as if I have a respiratory infection, but I can never get enough antibiotics or the right one to cure it. I only get enough to heal it partially. I have had tightness in my should blade and shoulder for a long time, but nothing as intense as it is now.
Yes, I've had a CT scan of my sinuses--normal. And, a chest x-ray six years ago, and the allergist a couple of weeks ago thought that it was sufficient because it was clear then. And, my lungs seem to test free from constriction from asthma. Is this just an allergy? Is is something else? Where do I find answers?