I was an elite athlete ten years ago. On September 11th, 2001, I went to help in the rescue and recovery effort. Helping was uplifting despite the tragedy around us. New Yorkers united, America united, to overcome and help those who needed help. My health, however, began a downward spiral. I am not depressed. I do not have mental illness. But I go to bed every night praying that I don't wake up. My body is too painful to keep on. I wish I could hang it in the closet and take a break from it - even a day a week would be helpful.
Within two years of returning from 'Ground Zero', I was put on warfrin (blood thinner) because these mysterious blood clots started to appear in my lungs. My symptoms seemed somewhat stable or at least less obvious. Then, since about 2007, I have been on a physical down hill fall. I somehow gained forty pounds. My diet or lifestyle had not changed. If anything, I hardly eat at all because I am chronically nauseated.
I did start an SSRI which improved my depressed mood and anxiety and wonder if all of that weight gain could be due to that. The joints in my hands, particularly my left hand, are chronically sore. I had to stop playing guitar because my left hand would swell up like a baseball glove as if it were engorged with blood, and become cool and very painful like a "charlie horse".
The worst symptoms have come on during this past year. I now get short of breath walking up a flight of stairs. My joints, especially my larger joints - hips, SI, knee, shoulders, wrists, are incredibly painful. They do not seem warm but do get slightly swollen. There is this predictable cycle to when my condition goes to the next level.
First, I get a sore throat. There is no tonsilar enlargement or pustular crypts. Just a slightly inflamed, reddened, sore throat. Then an unbearable fatigue which comes with the pain the joints mentioned above. I can manage to get through an eight hour shift but only if I have slept about ten hours minimum the night before. Added to this is often pain where I imagine my spleen to be. Sometimes I get a gripping left sided chest pressure.
This aspect has gotten more severe. Last night, I developed severe palpitations. I passed out twice while lying in bed. This followed about an hour of intense chest pain. Most people would have called for help by this point. I was scared but I was almost relieved by the thought that I might die. To wake up this morning, in an immense amount of pain, upper respiratory congestion that seems to be a daily event for the past three weeks, and nausea, was incredibly disappointing. I feel like I am being punished for something. In addition to every joint in my body aching, the muscles in my legs feel like I have exerted myself.
I am only 37 years old.
I am trying to list everything on the chance that someone knows what I have. But forgive me if I am not optimistic. I am a critical care physician. This will sound pompous, but if I cannot figure it out, I doubt anyone can. Thankfully, I still believe in miracles because that is what I need right now.
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