Ah, I strained my neck again! It was really hurting me for days. I'm prone to this issue because of the fused discs in my neck and curvature in the shoulder area. It's doing much better, but I haven't been writing entries or comments much because it tends to aggravate this problem.
Second, my asthma has flared up again. Off and on for days now it has been hard to speak without taking a breath without coughing -- hell, it's sometimes hard to take a full breath without coughing. My chest hurts and I'm usually short of breath. It's exhausting. I was only just sick with this weeks ago in Maui. I'm so frustrated. I've been taking my controller and rescue inhalers regularly, but they haven't helped as much as I'd like. It's more discomfort now. I've had asthma for 21 years. I don't think I could ever get used to flare-ups, even though they don't come with full blown attacks, thank goodness.
Third, the fatigue and balance problems have really hit me. I went for a check-up today and found I couldn't really even walk straight or quickly and I kept stumbling. Even in my house, I can't seem to stand without tipping or without my feet rising from the floor. I will definitely arrange an appointment for physiotherapy next week. This is ridiculous. I just hope it helps, given that it's a brain problem not a leg problem.
Also, my feet have been swelling again , I'm having the jabbing abdominal pains regularly and I have a fungal infection in my mouth from my asthma controller inhaler.
Despite all of this, I've been really happy for the most part. I think a lot of it is my puppy Pounce. Plus, I'm excited about my birthday party coming in a couple of weeks. Yay! I'll be 24. It's strange. I feel old physically, but young mentally. I think I look very young too.
That reminds me. That check-up I mentioned earlier in this post was an annual appointment with my cardiologist, who in an earlier entry I had mentioned I was a bit nervous to see. Well, he was a sweetheart, listening nicely as I told him about my virus last year and the post-viral syndrome/Dandy Walker Syndrome. He asked me about school and what I was doing with my time since I deferred that second semester. Aw! I find my doctors are all interested in me as a person, not just my health. I like that. Health encompasses more than your physical being after all!
Well, my results for the 48-hour heart monitor were brilliant of course, but I must confess that I was a bit disappointed because this means I shouldn't have any further treatment, even though I still get episodes. These episodes aren't significant enough to warrant further treatment, which could do more harm than good. My cardiologist is concerned I'm over medicated, so he told me to stop taking my Digoxin. I'm a bit nervous about what the effect of this will be, as, like I said, I still get episodes, and I wasn't doing terribly well before he put me on the Digoxin. Still, I'm on a lot of heart drugs for such a tiny person (5'2, 94 lbs.) who has a really strong heart. I agree with his decision. Who knows. Maybe the Digoxin is contributing to some of my symptoms like the nausea.
It bothers me that I pretty much have to live with these episodes. They are short and don't even seem to come every day, but when they happen, I feel AWFUL: tired, weak and nauseous. Sometimes even a bit light headed. The way I look at it is, with most health problems, treatment doesn't completely get rid of the problem, it just minimizes it to a safe level.
The frustration about my heart caps my frustration with everything else. Also, yesterday marked one year since my wisdom teeth extraction, which preceded the virus that started the post-viral syndrome/Dandy Walker Syndrome I am STILL sick with! A whole year! I keep wondering when it will get better, but I no longer have the delusion that I will be the picture of health when that happens.
After all, my neck problem, asthma, heart Dandy Walker -- these are pre-existing conditions that troubled me before I got sick just as much as they do now. I'd like to think the Dandy Walker symptoms have just worsened because of this illness, but I know my symptoms worsened months before I got sick. Dandy Walker symptoms can worsen (or even appear) in adulthood. So this could be permanent. Ah! I hope it will at least become less of a problem through patches in the rest of my life, just as it improved in late-elementary school and stayed good well into university.
Whatever happens, I'm happy I don't have anything life threatening. Maybe that's what makes me happy. I know it could be worse! The worsening of my Dandy Walker symptoms could have been caused by a shunt malfunction; if my heart was fast all of the time, not only would I feel worse, but I might have needed surgery to correct it, since I had outrun medication options; if I had full blown asthma attacks, I may have needed to go to the emergency room.
I think people who've grown up with illnesses often have this optimism. Like this elderly woman I met today at the doctor's office after my examination and discussion with the cardiologist. We were both waiting to have our echocardiograms (heart ultrasounds). She said she was sorry I had heart problems at such a young age, but I assured her it was a relatively mild problem and was well controlled with medication. I never want anyone to think I'm in danger. I remember before I was diagnosed with this minor heart issue, I thought any kind of heart problem was ridiculously serious. Then when I was diagnosed, I realized that there were probably other people living as actively and fully as I was with strong hearts like mine. The heart is an amazing organ!
The woman told me I was a good person and told me about how sickly she was as a child, getting mumps and diptheria -- a whole bunch of stuff that's mostly prevented with vaccines now. She said she just lives one day at a time and does what she can. She walks everywhere. I hope I'm like her when I'm older! I was sad to see her go. She was such a nice, inspiring woman.