2006: February - March
I awoke one morning with Fever, Diarrhea, Nausea/Vomiting, Fatigue and Cognitive Dysfunction. The physician treated it as an intestinal virus. It took almost three weeks before it "cleared up" (I still had some residual issues for several months after).
This immediately was followed by Pneumonia and then an Upper Respiratory Infection. This placed me off duty for another four weeks.
Even after being cleared back to work, I continued to have minor bowel issues. I would often finish using the restroom, but feel “unfinished”, sometimes for hours afterwards. I also had several “near misses” where my warning time of “needing to use the restroom” was under 30 seconds (this still happens from time to time…frequently enough to be a concern).
I was tested positive for Rheumatoid Factor (also with supporting results from Anti-CCP and ESR). My PCP at the time sent me to a Rheumatologist, but my employer changed insurance carriers before I was able to get in to see him and the new insurance (Kaiser) refused to acknowledge the condition until their own doctors tested me. The test then came up negative and I was told the original must have been a "false positive".
2007: February - April
I experienced the same exact thing as above, only it lasted a month longer and was much stronger.
2008: February - April
I experienced the same exact thing as above. It lasted about the same amount of time and of the same strength as 2007. I did, however, have an extra ER trip due to having auditory and visual hallucinations with my fever at the onset of the illness. My fever spiked at 104.2 while actually inside the ER and it took six hours (and a lot of Ibuprofin/Tylenol) to get it down below 100.
2009: February – April, July - Today
I experienced the same exact thing as in 2007…Except that in July (and now into August) I developed Pneumonia and an Upper Respiratory Infection for a second time this year.
In addition to that, about two weeks ago I started having severe pain in my feet/ankles and hands/wrists. That aching has now spread to almost the entirety of my arms and legs. Tylonel, Ibuprofin, Vicodin, Norco and Ultram do not even take the edge off of the pain. They gave me Dilaudid at the urgent care and that turned the pain into tingling for a few hours and has been my only relief to date. When I contact Kaiser about the medication not working for the pain, it seems like they keep giving me progressively weaker prescription drugs (Vicodin, Ultram then Norco). There is no obvious redness or swelling. There are no rashes.
At my insistence they did do a Rheumatoid Panel and it came up clear (ESR was at 20, which was listed as high, but the physician said it was completely normal).
I was tested for Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) at the onset of the Pneumonia and it came up negative (non active). However, I went into the Physician's office a few days ago and a second test has come up as "Active". My PCP then stated that he was not 100% convinced that this is the diagnosis for my recent illness and they needed to wait for the County Health Department to confirm the findings. I was, however, placed on Diflucan (600mg Per Day for a month). Two different doctors have now said that my pain is probably not related to the Valley Fever, while one said it “definitely” was.
BUN, Creatinine, ALT, AST, Electrolytes, Albumin and TSH have all come back within normal limits. ESR (Sedimentation Rate) is "high" at 20, again something the doctor said was “normal” (range is 0-15 for males). As said above, the Cocci test came back as "Active" on the most recent test with a Titer of 1:8 (my wife actually saw the titer on the doctor’s computer screen and wasn’t’ sure if it was 1:8 or 1:18).
I have a high tolerance for pain, always have, but this is consistently between 7 and 8 on the 1 to 10 scale. I am having severe difficulty with tying my shoes, buttoning my shirts and pants, unscrewing bottle tops, lifting objects, standing up, sitting down, walking and etc. The worst pain/stiffness appears to be during the evening, night and morning (yes, it disturbs my sleep). This has affected my job as well, as I am unable to perform my tasks while experiencing this much pain/stiffness and fatigue. I am only in my late 30’s, but feel as though I am in my late 70’s. I can only walk if assisted by either a person or leaning against an object.
What I need to know is…what could be some of the causes for these illnesses/ailments? Friends and family have offered such things as “Fibromyalgia”, "Crohn's Disease" and/or a rare form of “Rheumatoid Arthritis”. My physician seems to be giving me the shrug off lately, “you will be fine in a couple of days, it is probably just stress” (he has said that a lot lately). However, it this recent pain issue is STILL just as bad as it was two weeks ago and the other illnesses have happened 4 years in a row…so…hmmm?