Monday, May 01, 2006

Health and Denial

I'm stuck in this funny place where I can't really tell whether I'm being stupid or sane.

I don't like doctors, I don't like the notion that someone knows my body bettter than I do, I am not interested in medication and invasive intervention for the most part.

I feel that I have a good working understanding of my body and its functions, probably better than that of the average American doctor-worshipper.

That said, it's entirely possible that my desire to avoid doctors might have gone a little too far.

I have found an MD I really like -- she supports my extended breastfeeding, and has worked really hard to help me find answers to the extreme exhaustion I've experienced over the last two years -- exhaustion beyond that which is normal for a mother of two young children.

I haven't told her everything, though, in all of the visits I've made to her since August of last year, when I had gotten sick of fainting and feeling lousy all the time. I told her what I thought was relevant to the situation -- that I couldn't digest "easy" foods, that I was tired all the time, fainting at work, couldn't sleep at night. She told me about Addison's disease and suggested I had a lesser but similar condition called adrenal fatigue. I looked it up and, sure enough, I fit the profile of a patient wiht fizzled-out adrenals. The most remarkable thing was my blood pressure, a whopping 70/45.

I started working to get more rest and take better care of myself. I felt marginally better, but all the sleep in the world wasn't helping the exhaustion abate. My doctor ran some tests; surprisingly, I am iron deficient. I've started supplementing with liquid iron and I feel a lot better, after 10 days of faithful consumption.

But, I still haven't told her everything.

I took my little Anna to see the pediatrician the other day, because sometimes, when I wipe her bottom, there is blood on the paper. I was concerned about why a little girl of 3 might have rectal bleeding and whether she was losing any significant amount of blood.

The pediatrician turned the appointment around to me, about my own history.

I told him everything.

He scared the living daylights out of me and now, I am going back to my doctor to tell her everything. I'm going to tell her that I've been losing disarming amounts of blood in the toilet since May of last year, which is likely contributing to my iron deficiency and my exhaustion. I'm likely going to need some kind of colonoscopy, which I just don't want to make the time for.

My instincts don't tell me I'm sick, and I don't think there's anything wrong with me, but the doctor said "This isn't about you anymore. You have children, and you owe it to them to take the best care of yourself that you can."

What's funny is that, when asked about my chief complaint about my parents, it's that they don't take care of themselves.

Maybe the apple doesn't fall as far from the tree as I thought it did.

3 comments:

  1. I am a lot older than you (I'm 52), but have been feeling crummy for about the last five or six years. Only recently did I learn that I am (was) anemic. I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy (a "twofer") and learned that I have celiac disease. Now I know that not very many people have this disease, but I have also learned since my diagnosis that it can take up to ten years of suffering before getting a correct diagnosis. I have been wheat and gluten free for almost 8 weeks and I cannot believe how much better I feel. Much more energy. Less depressed. It was really a life changing thing to learn about this.

    In case you are wondering who I am, I am a long time LLL Leader (27 years) and mother to five great kids ranging from 28 years to 15 years. All nursed well past the societal "norm".

    Good luck finding out what's going on and start feeling better soon.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am a lot older than you (I'm 52), but have been feeling crummy for about the last five or six years. Only recently did I learn that I am (was) anemic. I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy (a "twofer") and learned that I have celiac disease. Now I know that not very many people have this disease, but I have also learned since my diagnosis that it can take up to ten years of suffering before getting a correct diagnosis. I have been wheat and gluten free for almost 8 weeks and I cannot believe how much better I feel. Much more energy. Less depressed. It was really a life changing thing to learn about this.

    In case you are wondering who I am, I am a long time LLL Leader (27 years) and mother to five great kids ranging from 28 years to 15 years. All nursed well past the societal "norm".

    Good luck finding out what's going on and start feeling better soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Diana, I got here from the link you posted on an email list. I am so sorry to hear about your symptoms and I hope all the tests come back normal.

    Hannah

    ReplyDelete