To the larger WrongDiagnosis Medical Community -
My doctor has been no help; I tell him my symptoms and he promptly does some cursory tests and tells me I'm fine. Maybe I'm a hypochondriac, but these seem serious enough to ask. Medical professionals and students please, go nuts!
- Mother is diabetic (insulin dependent), has high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cataracts. Struggles with weight. Asian descent. No family history (parents died of unnatural causes).
- Father has history of heart disease, his father died of testicular cancer. No other family history. Also struggles with weight. Recently had his gall bladder removed for having difficulty processing fat? Western European descent.
Me: Male, 30, 5' 6" 185lbs. In the process of losing weight (lost 30lbs. in several months; weight-lifting, cardio, lower-fat, higher-protein diet). Engineer, so I work a desk job. I hate my job. Manage investments on the side; fairly high stress (especially these days :P).
- Chronic Bronchitis as an adolescent.
- Started smoking 1995. "Quit" twice, most recently in 2006; started exercising more (90-minute games of competitive soccer) and had asthma problems. Use Albuterol rescue inhaler once in a while. Started smoking again 2007 (shame on me) 5-7 cigarettes a day. Need inhaler less (go figure); use it maybe a few times a year.
- Shingles in 2005 (lucky me). High stress time for me; got them on my right lower abdomen.
- Diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease about 2 years ago; L4-L5 disc was herniated in 1998 causing severe pain/numbness in low back down to left big toe. MRI in 2006 showed L3-L4, L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs were "dried up" for lack of the proper medical term. L4-L5 was the only one seriously herniated. Had Partial discectomy on L4-L5 in 2006.
Nerve Pain - Down left leg, though not as bad as before discectomy. Assuming it's just my old back problems. Problem for 10 years.
Lower Back Pain - Stiffness, aching; I'm sure it's associated with the DDD. Problem for 10 years.
Upper Back Pain - Stiffness, aching, and most recently when going from hunched to standing straight there is a point in the movement where a specific point in my spine has very sharp pain that comes and goes as I stand. Possibly just more DDD in my spine? Problem for at least 5 years.
Joint Pain - Specifically dull, constant pain in my knees, sometimes ankles and shoulders. OTC and prescription NSAIDs seem to have little impact. Exercise aggravates them, but even after rest it doesn't go away. Also sometimes sharp pain in left hip, but probably associated with L4-L5 problems. Noticed the problem for the last 2 years, maybe more.
Muscle Pain - Dull pain in Qaudraceps. Dull to sharp pain in trapezius and latissimus dorsi. Muscles can be tender to the touch, sometimes warm to the touch. Makes it hard to rotate and bend over. Problem for at least 5 years.
Weird (Possibly Unrelated?) Symtpoms -
Heart Skips a Beat - Once in a while it feels as if my heart has stopped and starts again. It feels like my breath has been taken away. Happens sporadically, maybe 1 or 2 times a month; can go for long periods without it happening. Noticed this maybe 2 or 3 years ago as happening more often than over time.
Sinus Problems - Sinuses are constantly "stuffed." There doesn't seem to be any mucus, but I can't draw in much air through my nostrils. They feel obstructed. Allergy medications seem help. May be smoking related, but during periods of "quitting," even long ones (over 1 year) sinus problems did not go away. Problem for at least 6 years.
Often feel like I can't take a deep breath - I draw in as much air as I can and it feels like it's not a full breath. Almost feels like the bottom of my lungs aren't working or something. Doctor has listened to chest and found nothing of concern; thought it might be anxiety (very doubtful) Problem for at least 3 years.
Lack of Interest - I have a hard time deciding on things and have diffculty motivating myself. This was not a problem 6 years ago. Sadly I found that while on Vicodin/Oxycontin for my back this was not a problem. Probably just depression?
Fatigue - Tired all the time. Hard to sleep due to back pain though, so hard to tell if it has anything to do with anything else. Problem for at least 7 years.
Embarrassing Symtpoms -
Bad Skin/Dandruff - Red irritated skin between eyebrows and on nostrils that flakes. Dandruff. Maybe I haven't found the right soap. Might have something to do with smoking. Maybe my T-zone hates me.
If you've made it this far, you have my thanks. Any advice would be appreciated. Have a good one.