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Oh what a relief it is!

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been suffering from some health problems. We weren’t really sure what it was, and when you have anxiety issues like I do, everything seems so much worse than it is! Before I go into all of my experiences and what not, I’d like to say that I will be doing my follow up on heritage, but I will be doing it Friday- after Thanksgiving. Now, back to the diagnosis.

Let’s start at the beginning. This all started months ago. It was about the time in my weight loss progress that I hit 132 pounds. Well, I suffer from moderate seasonal allergies (pollen mostly), and so I was taking Sudafed for the period of two weeks to keep them in check while I walked, jogged, ran, biked, and took my daughter to the park. I experienced a few mild symptoms, but I attributed them to the mixture of allergies, smoking, and exercising. They were things like having a little difficulty breathing when I first woke up or when I went to sleep at night; coughing, getting a little dizzy when over exerting myself. Then, it got worse. One day I was woke up with a general feeling of being unwell. My thinking was a little fuzzy, but I decided it was allergies, and continued to take my Sudafed. The day before I had taken two doses, which I had only done once before. I downed my Sudafed with some water, drank my first cup of coffee, and although I still wasn’t feeling well, I went ahead with my morning exercises. Big mistake. The extra adrenaline, caffeine, and additional doses of Sudafed triggered an extreme allergic reaction. I had been allergic to the Sudafed all along, and hadn’t known it. After mild effects, it finally set everything off. I blacked out, but was able to lay myself down and stop myself from losing consciousness completely. Being a mother at home with my three year old, that was VERY important to me. My heart, however, was beating so hard that you could see it in my chest. I was nauseous, and any time I stood up, I began to black out again. I called my husband at work, and he came home to drive me to the hospital. We thought it was a panic attack, which I am prone to having on occasion. Once at the hospital, they took my vitals, and saw that my pulse was very high, and my blood pressure was low. They ran a bunch of tests, and found I was allergic to the Sudafed. They said there was nothing they could do for me, so once my pulse and blood pressure returned to something a little better, they sent me home. They informed me I would have heart palpitations and fainting spells until the Sudafed was out of my system, and for the next 24 hours or so I dealt with those problems,plus a good dose of anxiety.

From that point on, I felt icky. That’s the only way I can put it. My stomach hurt, my chest hurt, and I couldn’t have told you one part of my body that did not hurt. I went to the doctor and found out that I had a pulled chest muscle just below my let collar bone. She assumed the rest of my chest pain was attributed to that,  but ran an EKG and blood work to be sure. My heart was good, so she told me to rest up and take perk 5’s. I did as I was told, but about two weeks or so later I ended up back in the emergency room. This time, I was having excruciating pain in my lower right abdomen, just about where my hip bone is. The pain was so bad I almost passed out again. They did two ultrasounds, a Cat Scan, a CBC (Complete Blood Count), and found nothing serious, so they sent me home with more pain meds. My pulled chest muscle healed up shortly after that, and my abdomen didn’t hurt as bad as then, but I still had bouts of pain that put me into bed for an hour or so. I made an appointment with my doctor again, and had to wait a week before getting in.

The doctor weighed me, and I saw that I had lost a few pounds- I was now at 130. She said she couldn’t do anything and sent me to a specialist. His name is Doctor Deshpande, and he turned out to be my saving grace, in a manner of speaking. It took me two weeks to get an appointment, because this fell around the time of the hurricane. During these two weeks, my symptoms grew worse. I was in pain all over, my bowels continued to spasm, I was gassy, nauseous, tired, had rumblings in my stomach way beyond what was normal, headaches, and my mood made drastic, uncontrollable swings. During this time, I continued to weigh myself, and my weight continued to drop. At first, I was happy- hey, I wanted to be thinner, right? Then it started getting worrisome when I hit about 126. Doctor Deshpande saw me, gave me a physical(I was now around 124 by that time), and ordered my test results from the hospital. He confirmed that everything seemed okay, except that the hospital had missed something on my test results. According to my test results, I was mildly iron deficient anemic. Those tests had not been done fasting,however, so he wasn’t sure as to what extent the anemia was. He scheduled me for an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy for the following week, and sent me for fasting blood work to test my iron, follic acid, B12, and celiac sprue.

I did not hesitate and got the blood work done that day. I hadn’t eaten anything, and had only finished half a cup of coffee before leaving the house. I did the blood work, and three days later my doctor called me at home to confirm that I was iron deficient anemic, but everything else had come out great. My iron was not only too low, but the cells were also too small. It wasn’t direly low, but it was significant enough to cause me a few problems. (keep reading for the entire diagnosis at the bottom).

So then I had to get my procedures done. I was very frightened because I had never gotten them done before. I’ll spare you all of the details, but basically, I was asleep and the only discomfort I had upon waking was a slightly sore ‘tush,’ a lot of gas pains, and a headache. I’m still waiting on the results of the biopsies the doctor took to see if there are any bacterial or viral infections, but here is what we found out: first of all, I did have one small polyp, which I had surgically removed today. It was benign (non-cancerous), and was removed with no problems. He is going to test it to see if it had begun mutating in any way microscopically. If it was, I have to go back for another colonoscopy in five years. If not, even better. I also have acid reflux that has been left unchecked for a number of years, and the acid reflux, in turn has caused me to have acute gastritis. These are all very fixable, minor problems, but all of it combined made the problem seem much bigger- that, and the fact that the problems were steadily getting worse. No cancer, nothing inflamed, and all of my organs are great! I’m in really good health besides these problems. He does suspect an infection of some sort, but we’ll see how that goes.

So now the healing process can begin. I am on an as-needed medicine for the bowel spasming. I am on an every day medicine for the acid reflux,and I will begin my iron replacement therapy (in pill or shot form, depending on what I choose- which is going to be the pill, haha) on December 3rd. The doctor is positive the acid reflux will go away. He said it might take three years, but he is sure it will. The gastritis, being acute (short term) instead of chronic (long term) will go away once the acid reflux is in check. It may be a matter of weeks, or a matter of a  year,but it will go away, and when it does, my bowel spasms will end. The iron deficient anemia is the result of my allergic reaction to the Sudafed, along with my ‘monthly,’ and since there is no internal bleeding, it will also go away. It might take a few months or even a year, but once it is fixed, it will stay fixed-thank goodness!

What I find interesting is how these few small problems combined caused me so much pain, distress, and anxiety. It got so bad I could not even keep up with my daughter, with my house, or with my cooking. I had to stop working online, and even my ‘authoring’ came to a halt. I thought I was dying, and I imagined the worst- cancer, a lifelong illness, internal bleeding…you name it, I thought I had it. Yes, that’s a little paranoid, but it was over the period of several months where I felt as though I was no longer human. Only a big ball of pain and agony. So, let’s take a quick look at how this happened…or rather, WHY I felt so horrible over such small, fixable problems as these:

1) Iron Deficient Anemia: The iron deficient anemia caused multiple problems or me. These include: headaches, mood swings, extreme fatigue, muscle cramps and spasms, joint pain (from the muscle’s surrounding the joints, actually- it wasn’t the bone as I had believed), anxiety and mild depression, concentration problems, and a HARD (but not fast) heart beat. It also helped to contribute to my bowel spasms, although indirectly. It’s suspected the iron deficiency also contributed to my pulled chest muscle, but that’s just a suspicion.

2) Acid Reflux: This one was an iffy sort of thing. Most people think of heart burn, but I rarely got true ‘heart burn.’ You know, burning in the chest. No, mine manifested itself as general chest pains. Plus, a lot of gas- burping and otherwise. It also caused a strange ‘tight throat’ feeling, which has already started to go away.

3) Gastritis: This is the pain reason my bowels spasmed. It also caused the majority of my gas, my abdominal pain, and bathroom troubles, plus the strange rumblings in my stomach that could be felt (not to mention heard across a noisy room). It also caused the feeling of being full before I really was.

The weight loss was deemed a combination of everything. The anemia was causing my heart to pump harder (and faster, although I didn’t think it was), which resulted in me loosing more calories by doing less. Basically, if something normally made me burn 10 calories, I was now burning 20 calories (and still am, in fact), because my heart had to work twice as hard to pump oxygen in order for me to do what I was doing. That, combined with the fact that I was eating less because I felt full before I really was, and got sick every time I ate, resulted in me dropping from132 pounds to 118 pounds without trying. There is a good possibility I might drop a few more pounds during the next month or so while my body starts fixing itself. Now that I know what it is, however, I can just be happy that I’m thin again. haha! Would have rather done it the old fashioned way, but now that I am sure everything is going to be okay, I’m feeling good.

Knowing what is wrong has also made the anxiety go away. I know I will feel better, and I know that it will all eventually go away. This has made a drastic change by itself, and this Thanksgiving I can be thankful for my relatively good health! Thanks to everyone who has followed me through all of this, and I will continue to update you all on how quick a recovery I make! Thanks again to everyone!

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