One thing after another

Well I guess I prefer one thing following another rather than having it all at once!

TMI to follow, may be triggering…

Between January 31 and February 3, I got over the cold virus that was plaguing me. And then that allowed my body to start in with the premenstrual stuff.

Since about February 5, I have felt like I was developing a urinary tract infection, and overnight, I got a pea-sized bump on my right outer vulva. I’ve also been experiencing the worst anal shooting pains in probably ever.
It got to the point on Friday night while I was at a Taiko drumming show that I thought I’d need to leave and go directly to the emergency room. My entire abdominal region extending into my pelvic region felt bloated and inflamed, and it felt like someone was intermittently shoving what can probably be described as a splintered broomstick up my ass, plunging, then pulling it back out again. Dear gods. On several occasions, I gasped and elevated out of my chair. Same thing on the drive back home. I took medication when I got home.
The next morning, I was feeling better. The bump on my vulva even went down significantly. I had only a few moderate anal pain instances on Saturday, which can be described as someone shoving a safety pin into my anus. The pain was over much quicker.

Now, the first thing I think of when I get such pain is, what have I been eating or doing differently?
I have not had a drop of alcoholic beverage since January 1…but in the past week, I’ve added dried apricots to my diet, and I’ve been chowing down on gluten-free chocolate chip cookies out of PMS cravings. In the past week, I began drinking skullcap tea once a night before bed because it’s a calming agent (I’ve had a lot of self-induced anxiety over the past couple of weeks, centered around self-manufactured blogging deadlines).

I looked at the ingredients on the gluten-free cookies – they’re safe.

I looked up apricot allergy and found this webpage, which helped me a lot. Parts of the second paragraph really applied to me. It says, “Symptoms are more severe including generalised urticaria, abdominal pain…Individuals with apricot allergy also tend to develop adverse reactions to other fruits including peach, apple, cherry, plum, and nuts (such as hazelnut and walnut).”
Fascinating…I cannot eat the skin of apples or peaches without feeling like my intestines and asshole are being ripped apart. Now I know it’s all tied as an allergy. I don’t normally eat cherries or plums, so I can’t comment on whether I have a reaction to those. I haven’t paid attention to whether I have a similar reaction when I eat hazelnuts and walnuts, so now I can pay attention to that.

I looked up skullcap, and while I found that it won’t give me any abdominal or intestinal side effects, the webpage I found did go a long way in explaining why my anxiety was increasing rather than decreasing. I’ve been using the max dosage for my tea (30 drops of tincture) instead of the minimum (15 drops). So I’ll scale back on that and see if I notice any results.

With my thoughts on the apricots, on Friday, I phoned up my allergist and requested to go forward with the endoscopy that he wanted me to do last year. He wanted me to do this because he felt the blood test for celiac was not enough to go on, and he wanted a better test to rule out celiac. He really thinks I have it. I have not wanted to do the endoscopy out of fear, but now I feel that it is time I do this, to get definitive diagnoses ruled in or out. I spoke with the nurses there and they told me that peaches were tested for but not apricots, and the peach panel turned out negative for allergies. The doctor is to call me back this week and we’ll go over what all needs to be done in preparation for an accurate endoscopy reading.

In keeping with my ever-expanding goals for 2009, I am also trying to locate a rheumatologist so I can get my osteoarthritis looked at again, and rule out whether it’s rheumatoid arthritis or just osteoarthritis. This could be an important distinction, because of the fact that I have other immunological problems (endometriosis, allergies, spontaneous onset of acute pancreatitis at age 21).
I would also like to know definitively whether osteoarthritis is also considered an immunological disease like rheumatoid arthritis is.

I have osteoarthritis in my cervical spine, with bulging discs at C5 and C6. I thought this was from the car accident in 1994 but it may be that I’ve had degeneration since childhood. I definitely have osteoarthritis in my knees for example, and I had to have doctors notes exusing me from certain activities in gym class all my life. It’s possible that the car accident severely exacerbated the osteoarthritis and that’s why I now have bulging discs.

I also recently found out that I have osteoarthritis in my thoracic spine! I was looking back through all of my medical reports through the years and found a report from my chiropractor. In that report, it is noted that I have a diagnosis of Hyperlordosis and mild levoscoliosis, or curvature of the spine. Okay, I’ve known this since I was about 12 years old, and my family never had the money to fix it. And several of my aunts, as well as my maternal grandma also have/had this.

But the real kicker of this report was what I found at the bottom of the report: I also have osteoarthritis in the thoracic spince, from T6 – T8. I don’t recall this ever being properly explained to me. I’ve always focused on my neck injury. This totally explains the out-of-alignment bump on the spine that I have in my mid-back, which my husband likes to play with, because he finds it so weird-feeling. ;)

Now I wonder, did having this out-of-whack thoracic vertebrae CAUSE my acute pancreatitis when I was 21 years old? Hmmmm.

Anyway, to wrap up, the more immediate issue had been the abdominal/pelvic/anal inflamation and pain. I’ve not eaten any apricots since Friday, and the pain hasn’t been a problem at all today. Hopefully my system will get back on track in the anal region before the pain really sets in within the pelvic region by Saturday.

With all the pain in the past week, I was really depressed. The depression was already setting in the week prior – it’s my annual winter blahs, which always hit pretty badly by February. The pain just made the depression REALLY BAD for a few days. I hope I’m coming out of it, cuz I really need to be emotionally strong in the next week to be able to battle the endometriosis pain – and the fact that I’ll be bedridden for days again.

mittelschmerz

I do have an official trend. This is my 3rd month of noting when I get uterine pain between menstrual cycles. And it definitely happens 8 days after I stop the previous cycle. At least I know, now.

The mid-cycle pain (mittelschmerz) hit me on Friday. I took 800mg for the pain, met some friends at the local German restaurant to see a friend play drums for the Lee Vilensky Trio and to wish his girlfriend well – she’s our upstairs neighbor and she’s moving out soon to shack up with her rock star boyfriend. ;)
From there, we jetted off to San Jose to see our friends 187CALM play.

At the nightclub, I got some juice to drink, because I’m no longer drinking booze. I noticed mid-way through the show that the pain was getting pretty bad, and it was moving into my bladder region. Of course, I forgot to bring my medicine. I began to wonder if the orange juice that the bar serves has high fructose corn syrup in it, because that ALWAYS gives me low uterine/bladder pain. By the time I got home, I was declaring I’d be taking Tylenol 3. But I was so tired that I forgot, and I went to bed.

I woke the next day (Saturday) and it hurt to even walk. Every time I moved my left leg forward to walk, my lower left pelvic region shot pains from the front to my anus. I popped 800mg Ibuprofen again and went about my day, wincing from the pain. Whenever I had a moment of privacy, I’d do some pelvic exercise (kinda like slow belly dancing – rolling the hips/pelvis around) and get a little bit of relief.

I dunno, I just refuse to take the Tylenol 3 unless I’m at an 8 on the Mankoski Pain Scale. I’d say that I was at a 5 on Thursday and a 6 on Saturday.

Saturday night, I went dancing. I only drank water with fresh lemon all night. I was fine for much of the night, especially when dancing. As soon as I stopped dancing for the night and we were on our way back to the car, the pelvic pain returned with force. I declared I’d take a Tylenol 3 when I got home, and once again I forgot.

Hey, you could say I’m a masochist or you could say I’m prolonging my life by not further damaging my liver with Tylenol 3. :p

Today I woke up pain-free. This makes me very happy, but it’s also what alerted me to the fact that the past couple of days could have been mittelschmerz. And now I know that’s what it was.

I have one more good week – possibly two – before I’m bedridden again. I’m due on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Gives new meaning to My Bloody Valentine!!!

Good thing my husband and I aren’t fans of celebrating that day, anyway, or else I’d get all bitter and self-pitying at how special plans were once again ruined by this stupid illness.