(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.
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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