Hi, I am new to Mayo Connect. Tonight I had an honest chat with my chiropractor of close to seven years. He has seen my illness progression with care at least 1ce a week. The discussion went-Terri you are getting worse despite all the specialists and many tests that don’t show anything wrong. My definitive tests are low cortisol/Adrenal insufficiency; extremely high anti centromere ANA; a tiny sacral fracture at s4; L4/L5 disc herniation, Raynauds, GERD. I suffer from small intestine bacterial overgrowth. I need to have my esophagus stretched periodically. I have glaucoma, nystagmus. i have mild obstructive and central sleep apnea.
I am on 20 medications, cpap, have started using a walker (prior I had a cane).
I have fallen 4x since early July-with falls that have resulted in my sacral fracture and earler this week one deeply scraped knee. I have had trouble feeling the upper half of my feet since winter.
So now a step back. My health history from a baby was one of chronic infections and clumsiness(falls) that resulted in trying ballet school to give me my lacking gracefulness. Unfortunately I was bound to be someone who would fall….college field trip to Costa Rica and I met the earth many times…3x in 2 weeks. Pre-med students said I needed eval of my ears. I actually almost lost my hearing due to a major infection before I graduated. Grad school I had signs of POTS as I found my tressured references hidden on bottom book shelves. Walks around campus Ivwould periodically fall-sometimes alone,sometimes to the disbelief of professors and colleagues.
Through grad school I would have crouppy respiratory infections. Every 6 weeks like clockwork i needed antibiotics. At home, roommates would complain my hair was everywhere. ivwas always losing hair. Colleagues thought I was anorexic when I truly was eating.
Then I graduated and entered the work force paper thin, and really sick, without a clue of what was wrong. The next ten years were tough. I was lucky to last a year at jobs. I would quit because the physical-ness or stress just shut me down. Those years I didn’t have insurance; pre-existing conditions were a factor when I tried to get insurance.
Beginning in 2004, my life really changed. i almost died of bowel obstruction/stenotic lesion. Then every 2-3 years I kept landing in the ER- PE /heart attack fear that turned out to be GERD-but they gave me coumadin to be safe; ischemic colitis which was initially called hemorrhoids; and severe muscle spasms.
In 2005, a pain management doc gave me a death sentence. He told me I had disautonomia and to get every book on it and that people usually survive 7years from diagnosis. The death sentence made no sense…unless he thought I would have multiple system atrophy (Shy Drager Syndrome).
So finally in 2008, I got a steady job and health insurance. I told my PCP I had clinically expedienced scleroderma attributes-so he sent me to a rheum, who also connected me to a GI specialist.
I ened up at a clinic focused on arthritis. I was treated for muscle pain/arthralgias and in 2011 got a SLE (LUPUS) diagnosis. i was started on Benlysta infusions in 2011.
i ended 2014 with a month long upper respiratory infection. Thenthe slide continued-about 3 months of vomiting, interspersedvwit periodic incontinence. i moved GI care to a local teaching hospital. 5 months later I moved primary care there. 4 months later moved rheumatology care too, and gained other specialists.
But here’s the problem-my care became very distributed-specialist silos. No one looking at the whole me.
Docs unwound the scariest meds-metotrexate,nuvigil. And…with the opiod abuse crisis abundant, no one would own my Butrans patch. So I quit cold turkey.
So here I am today with a list of diagnoses, using udifferentiated connective tissue disease as a catchall that would be worse jargon than lupus, scleroderma, etc…which urgent cares and ERs dont always recognize half the time.
My eyes started giving me trouble over last 4 months. I had inflamation of my eye orbitals and slight bulge. Endocrinology Evaluated for Graves- but it is not. One test, TPO had positive antibodies at 35. The standard is 60 to treat positively…but Mayo uses 9 Um/L. So inside I still wonder if I have Hashimoto Thyroiditis. Alternatively I asked my eye doc about Myasthenia Gravis. I tested positive for 1 of 3 tests. So he said I had it. But Nurologist said binding antibodies were okay (top of okay range).
And here I am, in a mire of chemicals, with no real effort to stop sliding worse. struggling to understand my conditions and feeling like I am getting worse. i have EMG next week and pray for real results. Last EMG, the doc said, even if you have MS what are you going to do?
My chiro said reach out-stop the downward spiral.I am on too many medicines and how can we know what is working. I feel like going off ben.ysta infusions was a mistame and now I have all this eye trouble and physically feel a downward slide with muscle weakness, falls, imbalance.
So this is my story-how do I get better so I can function safely at work. Are my diagnoses right or am I a bunch of unrelated puzzle lieces requiring lots of meds and still spinning downward. Have we done all the right tests? God i am waiting to hear ypur illness is all in your head…while my heart says I am too young to be giving up-bit I have fought illness my whole 52 year life (4 years past my expiration date).
Thank you for hearing my story. I feel my experience is just like many others…we just want to be understood and recover to enjoy life fully..