Sunday, January 23, 2011

Health issues..

Some strange, somewhat concerning health issues have arisen in my little world..

A. Unintentional Weight Loss-Now who knew this would ever be a problem for me. I spent years as a teenager and adult, trying to lose that "last 5-10 lbs". Through all my Ironman training, I only lost weight during my first one and it was very quickly packed back on after race day. When I was 40 years old, I participated in a body building competition and my body fat percentage got to an all time low. I dieted like a maniac for that show, it was torture.  After my divorce in the 1980s, I got down to a frightening low weight-well it was a divorce-'nuf said, it was very temporary. So when I recently dropped 15 lbs in 2 months without even trying, I had mixed feelings. For one thing, happy that I finally reached the ever elusive weight goal I had when I was a teenager. All sorts of fad diets, wishing and praying for the almighty flat stomach seemed to evade my young life. Fast forward 40 years and here I am, goal reached! Now I get 2 kinds of reaction to this. "Wow you have lost alot of weight. Are you OK?" and "Wow you have lost alot of weight-you look great!" To which I reply to both "Thank you"? Weight is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. My family does not think it is all that cool. H wants me to GAIN WEIGHT. Something I never thought I would hear him say..I have lost weight in well..some important body parts..I have had to buy smaller clothes, bras, etc. I finally, after all these years, have a "skinny closet". I have mixed feelings about all of this. I am happy to not have to worry about my weight or food for once. I am a bit alarmed because "sudden weight loss" which is "not voluntary" can be cause for alarm. I go to the doctor's office and mention it in passing and no one there seems alarmed, at all. As a matter of fact the last time I said something to the medical assistant, she got kind of snippy with me and said Your BMI is within normal limits! I have had my thyroid checked, and have normal routine blood work. So I am somewhat enjoying my current body with some reservations. I miss the muscle mass, which I need to work on...I am not continuing to lose, I have plateaued for the time being..

B. Numbness and tingling in extremities-This has been WAY more of a pain in the ass than the weight loss. At the beginning of December I woke up one day with my hand asleep-you know like everyone does at times. No big deal, except the next day it happened again, and daily again until both hands were now asleep upon awakening and hurt until I stood up and got blood to my hands. As time has gone on this has gotten worse and worse to the point I can't sleep some nights because my hands hurt so much lying down..And since I have not mastered the art of sleeping standing up..this has become a REAL annoyance. I have seen the doctor twice. First time, he just did not seem alarmed at all but thought it might be nice to see a neurologist. I got an appointment for the end of January. After 2 weeks I could not stand it so I went back and this time saw my regular doc, who took me more seriously and ordered an MRI and blood work. In the meantime I am getting more pissed off by the day that I can't get in to see a neurologist until this week. After the MRI, my doctor called me himself, which was amazing and scary. I thought for sure I had cancer of the hands if he were calling me. NO, he just wanted to tell me my MRI showed some changes in my cervical spine from 3 years ago, degenerative changes, etc..He is not sure that is what is causing my symptoms. He asked me how I was doing-I was floored-isn't that sad? Well besides the fact that I dread each night's bedtime and am barely sleeping normally and am scared out of my mind when I wake up from a dead sleep not being able to feel my hands, I'm great! Not only that, it was starting to come during the day just walking around now..He said he would try and get me into the Neuro guy sooner but I have not heard a word. So I see this Neurology guy on Thursday and if nothing is found there, my P. doc said something about a Neurosurgeon-holy crap-don't even want to think about that yet. I am appropriately scared for many reasons. First of all I am a hypochondriac of the highest order-I google symptoms to death and convince myself I have all kinds of ailments and am practically polishing up my will by the time I see a real medical person. Cyberchondria is my middle name. Secondly, women in my family tend to die young of auto-immune diseases. My doc checked my blood for a couple of them..normal..but the worry is constantly there for me. I just have to be patient and have learned to somewhat live with this condition and go with the flow as much as I can. I wake up often crying out from the pain in my hands and jump out of bed wringing them until blood flow gets to my extremities..It really, really sucks! I am having horrible nightmares and H says my whole body shakes like crazy when I sleep. It does not take a brain surgeon to figure out that I have something obviously going on in my nervous system. I have tried the wrist braces used for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and it makes everything a hundred times worse so back to the store they went. I have tried sleeping on my back, with different pillows (this was the first doctor's suggestion-really?) I HATE it when doctors talk to you like you are 12 years old and do not know a thing about medicine. At least my PCP gets me and is aware that I know some stuff and he does not have to spell out much medically for me..

I am afraid that if this Neuro guy is an idiot, or tries to treat me like one, I may go screaming out of the doctors office at this point, my frustration is so bad. I am taking H with me to testify to my woes and hopefully bring that "male energy" that seems to sadly, but truly bring some answers in the male dominated medical world.

On a brighter note, my running has never been better..Go figure! More about that later...

I wait patiently and continue my daily stuff until Thursday, when I pray I will get some answers!


Jacques S said...

Glad to hear your back on the track. I had some serious issues with my ankle a couple years back. After multiple MRIs, It was diagnosed as a ligament tear (I was lucky it wans't more serious.) Take it slow with the hand, that is too valuable a part not be on the safe side. Prayers and wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

I truly understand your concerns!!
I have numb hands too, but not the pain...but my brain goes to the "worst" often before I know the facts. I'll be praying for your appointment and your nights' sleep!!
Love you
~ Linda :)

JohnnyTri said...

Sending you some good vibes Debi!!! hope all is well..
ur a superStar!!

always your friend, JT.


Kathie said...

Hmmmm. Look forward to hearing what neuro thinks. Praying for you and sending multiple hugs your way.