Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

Yet another who feels constant fatigue...

Posted In: Medical Stories 14 Replies
  • Posted By: Snowhawk
  • April 17, 2007
  • 00:24 PM

(Sorry in advance, this will be long...)

I'm a 26yr old female.

I moved to SE PA in Oct. '06. Before that, I lived in E TN, and I was active and spent a lot of time outdoors as a kid. When I got my license at 18, I took any chance I could to drive into the National Park. I love being in the mountains.

Of course, ticks were a problem, which only got worse when my family moved from the city to the country. And so were mosquitoes, which was an even bigger problem when I would spend time in FL, AL and SC. Bugs seem to think I'm tasty.

I was never been tested for any tick-bourne disease.

In middle school, I began to get a lot of aches and pains, but I figured they were just "growing pains" and never said anything. It didn't help when I had my locker taken away in 6th grade and had to carry all of my books everywhere. In 7th grade, I found a tick on the back of neck (I inadvertently scratched it off...). That was tick number 1, that I found.

During middle school and my first year of high school, I had several surgeries to remove ingrown toenails. My tendency to wait and not let anyone know I was having trouble led to those ingrown nails becoming severly infected, and requiring surgery. The last surgery, I was told I was lucky to not lose my big toes.

The aches never really went away, but weren't getting worse at any rapid rate, so I just learned to ignore them.

I did fall out of a couple trees while in elementary school, but that's why you don't climb dogwoods.

After high school was finished, I slowed down a bit, finding my time taken up by jobs. It left me too tired to get outside as much as usual, but I figured that was normal. I would request my days off to be right near each other, then spend one resting, and the other(s) doing things I needed to do.

I started noticing the fatigue more and more. But it wasn't horrible, and I could still be productive.

In mid '03, I stopped working and went to train as a pet groomer. 5 days a week, 9am - 4pm for 3 months. I took on pet grooming full time. It wasn't until my 3rd grooming job, when I finally had regular clients, that things started getting bad. I worked there from April '05 to Sept. '06, then moved to PA.

During this job, my right shoulder started hurting, no OTC pain medicine could touch the pain, so I visited a walk-in clinic that I had been to several times to take care of URIs. He said I probably over stressed it, told me not to lift anything for 4 days and to wear a sling in those 4 days, and prescribed me 800mg ibuprofen. After 3 days, I went back to grooming.

Dec. '05, I had my first car accident. Scared me half to death, scared my younger dog, but no physical damage done to either me or her.

May '06, I was in a second accident. Heavy traffic, guy behind me wasn't paying attention, car infront of me stops, I stop... one behind me didn't stop. My fiancé was fine other than sore, my older dog was fine, but I was far from fine.

I couldn't turn my head. I couldn't think well enough to dial 911. I started screaming and crying and generally broke down. I managed to get calm enough to drive to work to drop the dog off and wait on my mother to come and get me to take me to the ER.

I was released later that day, with a prescription for pain medications and a muscle relaxer, and told not to work for a week. Nothing was "wrong" on my x-rays.

This time I listened to the "No work" order. I didn't know, however, that my auto coverage would cover chiropractic visits in addition to the ER bills. I have no health insurance, and I haven't since I was 19.

The pain lessened, but never went away, and I had new problems develop. I began to have migraine headaches. I started having muscle twitches in my legs, arms, and often times at the waist when I tried to sleep, sometimes while awake. My head will twitch if I'm resting or not. Standing while grooming became impossible. The speed at which I could work was reduced: from 5 to 6 dogs a day, to barely doing 4. My boss or fiancé had to wash the dogs for me.

In a business where pay is commission based, that becomes a problem. But I stayed with it.

Between the two wrecks, Feb '06, I was bitten by a cat. I wouldn't have time to get to the clinic that day, or the next (I had to pick my fiancé up from the airport) and Sunday the place was closed. I soaked my hand regularly in Epsom Salts over the weekend, and kept it as clean as possible. I went to see the doc at the walk-in clinic three days later, with a very puffy hand, and he got on my case about not going to the ER immedietly, gave me a Z-pac, and told me to keep soaking it in Epsom Salts.

Shortly before we moved, my right ankle decided it would be fun to start hurting for no reason at all. This had been going on since I fell out of the second tree, landing firmly on my heels (my right ankle, knee or hip will randomy hurt). It was hard to walk, so I bought an ankle brace and hobbled around.

The moving van was loaded, and we came here to PA.

My ankle improved, but I guess I over worked my left leg, and had my first experience with shin splints. I kept it in an Ace bandage, it healed... but my right ankle began bothering me again. That only lasted a couple days.

I found another grooming job in Oct., hoping that the time off I took would help me work better.

It didn't.

3 dogs a day is all I could manage, over 3 days a week, and all while sitting. This time, I had no one to bathe the dogs for me. My left shoulder began bothering me in December, after Christmas, and I spent two weeks off of work from that. We found a free clinic run by one of the hospitals, and I hoped that would help. After a visit with the nurse practioner (three weeks after it started hurting, earliest appointment), I was told there was nothing she could do, other than give me naproxen (upsets stomach) and zantac (to help with the upset stomach).

I didn't take them.

My fiancé's grandmother said "You're going to the chiropracter." So, at the end of Jan., I started seeing a chiropracter, and he gave me a reduced rate. I found out that my C2 was twisted, and my L5 was pointing down and pushing into the L4. In addition, my lower back curved in too far, and there was a loss of curve in my neck. I did start feeling better.

Job hunting has been hard as I have also been seeing a psychatrist and therapist, and appointment cause problems. I found that PA has a wealth of services avalaible to help residents, and have been using those to try and get myself back in order. I'm currently on a mood stabilizer (Lamictal, 100mg) and something to help with anxiety (Effexor XR, 150mg). I was originally just on Lexapro (10mg) but it just made me feel like a zombie, so that was stopped. I am currently in hour-long therapy sessions once a week.

Honestly, I feel better. I WANT to do things. I have been drawing more (I love art), I want to get out and walk in the woods, and to be able to ride my bike again. I walked in the nearby park in February and took a whole mess of pictures. I recently went for a fairly easy bike ride on the (paved) bike trail in said park. Felt good for a little bit, then the next day I was unable to do much of anything.

About five weeks ago, I wasn't sleepy until about 5am. My left shoulder had been hurting a little for most of the night, kind of like the "Eh, I slept on it wrong," feeling. It started to hurt a little more, so I took 2 Advil about 20 til 5. By 5am, I was in agony, but tried to sleep. It wasn't happening. I started crying, and that woke my fiancé up. He called his mom, and she took me to the ER.

Blood tests, a CT scan, and several IV drugs later, I was sent home with prescriptions for pain medications, a muscle relaxer, the results of my bloodwork (everything was normal), a note to follow up with my doctor, and the diagnosis of "Severe Muscle Spasm."

I wasn't going back to the free clinic, so we found one that did treatment on a sliding scale. The doctor was very willing to listen, so I hope things are going to turn out well. He did think Lyme was a possibilty, so he told me to fast for 12 hours then go in for a blood test.

I got that done, then spent the rest of the day running around and getting errands done. That was Friday. Saturday and half of Easter Sunday, I was out. I got up enough to go to dinner with the family, then visit friends on Sunday evening, but I was again out on Monday. Tuesday I did get to have the blood drawn, and they took three vials. I was told it would be about two weeks until the reults came back, then sent on my way.

After leaving the hospital, my fiancé, his mother, and I went to eat a late lunch. My arm hurt. A lot. About halfway through the meal, my fingers started going numb. That went away, but my arm hurt for a couple of days. I bruised really badly too. At this time I still have a very noticable, large bruise.

The day after I had the blood drawn, I was exhausted. I barely made it to my chiropracter appointment.

Since the second wreck, I will have on and off low-grade fevers. I'm finding it harder and harder to get comfortable, both when trying to sleep, and just regulating my temperature. I have to wear socks all the time, or I'm unexplainably cold.

I'm tired, but I can't get comfortable. I sleep for four or five hours, then I begin waking up every half hour. That's even if I'm sleepy. I tend to nap on the couch every evening.

My appetite varies... I go through short periods where I eat and still feel very hungry, but it's usually a case of not eating much of anything.

Lack of concentration, inability to focus, mental overload, and extreme forgetfulness are also there, in addition to muscle weakness. My dogs and my cat range from 12 lbs to 23 lbs, and it's hard to pick any of them up and cuddle them.

When I go back to see the doctor (approx. 3 weeks), is there anything else I can ask about, or request, if this doesn't come back as anything on the tests?

(Thanks if you read through all that. )

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14 Replies:

  • You sound first with the muscle pains and other symptoms like its chronic fatigue syndrome. I typed in those words on my Yahoo Search bar and they listed about everything you had. I am having the constant fatigue also but none of the muscle pains etc like you mentioned. My doctor does have me set up for going thru the sleep lab or at least meeting with the doctor that does that, guess he decides if I need it or not. Couldn't get in until first of June though. I too feel the cold. Others will be warm and I'll be sitting around covered up or in long sleeves. Also, with the arm pain you could have ulnar nerve entrapment. That will cause numbness, tingling, pain then can change to a dull feeling in the fingers and/or hand. My internal medicine doctor when first saw me said I was in "total exhaustion and over stressed" but 2nd visit I was in one of my "up" days and felt better. It comes and goes but when it hits it last several days so I feel for you also. My lab work also was normal other than the GTT which was low, but he thought the test result was wrong and wants to repeat it. Read up on the chronic fatigue syndrome and good luck....think we both need it!
    agypsygrl 79 Replies Flag this Response
  • CFS was one of my thoughts. However, I did want to either confirm or rule out Lyme (as much as one can expect to) before I started asking the doctor about CFS or FM.... And I just realized that I made a fairly big typo up there. Got the letters on the vertebrae mixed up. Duh... :o It's the C2 that's twisted and the L5 is pushing into the L4. That's what I get for typing at 5 am.
    Snowhawk 5 Replies Flag this Response
  • Snowhawk, There is a correlation between having an acute physical trauma,(car accident) and developing an autoimmune disorder (CFIDS, or Fibro). No one knows exactly why, but it has something to do with miscommunication between the brain, nervous, and immune system. It is possible you have lyme as well, and glad you are getting a test for it (Bowen is supposed to be a good test). You may have both problems occuring simultaneously... I suggest trying an alternative approach to treating your illness. Have you tried Oriental Medicine or naturopathy? I also highly recommend a treatment called NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique) as it is brilliant for treating autoimmune disorders. Some docs think that there is a correlation between an autoimmune disorder and allergies. NAET is a noninvasive treatment that reprograms the brain and corrects the miscommunication that occurs...it's hard to explain, but it really works! Have you been tested for allergies? Western testing is not accurate, and a NAET practitioner can use Muscle Response Testing to determine if you are allergic to dogs, for example. Visit www.naet.com for more info. One last note of caution. Please be an informed consumer when it comes to the meds you are taking. If you are prescribed any more meds, please visit www.drugs.com and click on the drug interactions tab- you can type in all the meds you are on and they will check for possible interactions. I recommend anyone who is taking over 3 pharmaceuticals to do this, as most docs and pharmacists don't check for interactions and I have caught quite a few scary combinations in my acupuncture practice. Drugs.com is a great resource! Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3,080 Replies Flag this Response
  • I have a great web buddy that was diagnosed with CFS and FM for 15 years. She eventually got the real diagnosis - Lyme. She has studied naturopathy and is extremely sharp. She states that now since we have reliable tests for Lyme that when FM / CFS sufferers are correctly tested, about 90% are actually Lyme. Lyme is a "great imitator" as it can present in many different ways with many different symptoms and combinations of symptoms.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • acuann: Thank you. I will be looking into alternative treatments and allergy testing as well. I've never been tested for allergies, though it seems like my mother is allergic to almost everything.After forgetting the psych medications once, I had some horrible withdrawal symptoms and wound up having to go to the crisis center (where the on staff doctor was in no way helpful and made things worse). I got the information I needed and I'm now stepping the dosage down on both of them, and will be stopping them. And kindly telling the doctor that I refuse to go back on either.Western medicine has it's place, but I don't think it's a fix in a lot of cases. I'm very open to Eastern medicine.ralph: Lyme was my first thought through all this. I have had friends with very similar symptoms, and been diagnosed with it. Since I've never been tested and I spent so much time outdoors, it really just made sense to start there.Thanks to everyone who read through that first post, and can offer any help. :)
    Snowhawk 5 Replies Flag this Response
  • Was just checking on your replies tonight and saw the site about drug.com so thought to go there also. OMG! I listed my main medicines and no wonder I am washed out all the time, heart rate running as low as 50, and dizzy, nausea....each one of my meds were against the others or had adverse side affects like I named!Thanks for the heads up on that for I am going to see just what I HAVE to take now and what can do without.Anyway, that said, let us know how your test turn out if you do in fact have Lyme.
    agypsygrl 79 Replies Flag this Response
  • Was just checking on your replies tonight and saw the site about drug.com so thought to go there also. OMG! I listed my main medicines and no wonder I am washed out all the time, heart rate running as low as 50, and dizzy, nausea....each one of my meds were against the others or had adverse side affects like I named!Thanks for the heads up on that for I am going to see just what I HAVE to take now and what can do without.Anyway, that said, let us know how your test turn out if you do in fact have Lyme. Gypsygirl,I am so glad you checked out the website www.drugs.com. I can't tell you how many of my patients have come to see me with unexplained problems and who also are taking a toxic cocktail of meds! It's the FIRST thing I check with anyone seeing me who is taking more than 3 pharmaceuticals. It is the LAST thing most docs check for! I hope other people reading these posts who are also taking medications will check the drug interaction checker on this website. Especially for the elderly - drug interaction is a leading cause of death in the elderly.It is an invaluable resource, and may really help change your life for the better! Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3,080 Replies Flag this Response
  • Eh...:(It's been a day shy of two weeks and I haven't heard from them about my blood tests yet. Does anyone know how long is normal? I know there were five tests ordered. A CBC and a cholesterol test and the test for Lyme, but I can't remember the last two.Still weaning myself off the psych meds. And I'm calling to get a doctor who will be in the office more than once a week. And check voice mail more often. --Will add updates as I know of them, and any suggestions anyone can give are very welcome.
    Snowhawk 5 Replies Flag this Response
  • I would almost guarantee that you have Lyme disease , but sadly it is very difficult to diagnose with those blood tests. My daughter has Lyme and we went to several doctors, chiropractors, neuroligists etc. before getting a clinical diagnosis and then blood work sent to a certain lab that confirmed it. Sometimes you may show 10 or more negatives on these tests before you get a positive. As far as I am concerned, the CDC had really sctrewed up criteria for a Lyme diagnosis using the Western blot test. Don't give up on this- no matter what this test comes back with. There are many doctors in PA that think that Lyme isn't a problem here. Let me tell you that I know at least 6 people personally that have it. Two were misdiagnosed with MS. Sadly,Lyme is horrible! If it is treated immediately, you have great chance at recovery. Once it's chronic, it's very difficult. My daughter went through two rounds of having a picc line in here arm for months at a time where she had to infuse with antibiotics twice per day. The thing that seemed to help the most(believe it or not) was hyperbaric oxygen treatments. This was not covered by any insurance and was terribly expensive BUT My daughter is doing well. Your symptoms are so classic to Lyme. It is truly the great imitator. I wish you luck.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Very good post above. The mention of the hyperbaric chamber is also very good. An MD that I know uses hyperbaric extensively and one of his employees (who is so bright she remembers everything) said at an HBOT training she was told that the HBOT followed immediately by a far infrared sauna really nails Lyme and can actually eliminate it ! First time I ever heard anything like that so I will check it out - sources and if possible studies.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks everyone. I did get the results back, and apparently Lyme didn't show up (or the lady I was speaking with didn't say anything about it). She was just like "Well, your LDL cholesterol is at 114 and we'd rather see it under 100." So, more working (or fighting, whatever it comes down to) with them. I go back to see the doctor on Friday... And I will again stress that I haven't lived here long, I lived in the southern US.Anyway, updates as I know about them! Thank you all again!
    Snowhawk 5 Replies Flag this Response
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  • I have been following your post and replies for this interest me too. Also, I live in the southern part of USA oops just reread and you said you "lived" in the south..... Acuann: I have drugs.com saved under My Favorites now and you can be assured that anything I am given will be checked on there before I swallow it! I stopped 3 of my medicines for IBS, even though I only took one at night and I can tell a difference. I was supposed to take tid but no way could I work and take them that often. Also, on drugs.com is where I learned a new medicine I was prescribed had been taken off the market a week after I had been given it. So thank you for the site info. I have never been checked for Lyme so can't answer you on those symptoms but by them not telling you then you tested negative for it. Your cholesterol is a bit high like they said......omg mine was WAY out of sight and the bad level was in the hundreds so good luck to you on yours.Hope you find your answer soon to good health. I see my internal medicine doctor on Wed this week.
    agypsygrl 79 Replies Flag this Response
  • Agypsygirl,You are welcome, and I am glad you looked up this website and I could help.:) Many people don't realize just how dangerous drug combinations can be, and that they can cause many side effects that get completely dismissed by docs and pharmacists. I have so many sad stories, but also happy ones where patients were able to find out some of their symptoms were directly related to a med, and once they stopped, they felt much better! www.drugs.com and www.rxlist.com are two very good websites to help educate people about the drugs they are prescribed. I hope everyone reading this who are taking medications will check them out and educate themselves on drug side effects and interactions! Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3,080 Replies Flag this Response
  • Well, I had an appointment Friday. Another round of blood tests ordered, as well as neck and spinal x-rays. I have another appointment in two weeks to discuss the results of that, and I plan to get the x-rays and take them to my chiropractor to see if there's been any change since the ones I had taken in January.Still trying to narrow things down, though it was noticed that I was weaker on my right side than my left.Still hopeful something will show up. Chiropractor thinks CFS, therapist mentioned fibro... Psych dr. isn't being very helpful, so I'll see her once more then I'm changing. Not to mention she's impossible to get ahold of. >>
    Snowhawk 5 Replies Flag this Response
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