Hey friend, where the heck have you been?

image- I'm pursing my graduate degree but if the opportunity arises to become a ninja, I'm taking it.jpg
Image: I’m pursuing my graduate degree but if the opportunity arises to become a ninja, I’m taking it.

I have literally abandoned my blog. How sad is that? And it is not because I am feeling all better because I am most certainly not. If anything all my health stuff just keeps getting more complicated and worse even. 

But I have been insanely busy in grad school. Grad school with my internship has kept me just crazy busy. I missed my blog. And so I’m trying to come back and post again because I miss the community here and I miss having a place to discuss the issues in my life. 

As of right now my biggest health issue is strep throat type B (read- noncontagious). Yea, I have had it for almost 5 months. It started last fall semester, around September, I had a sharp constant pain in my throat, not all over but in on specific area are on the right side where my gland/tonsil-ish is. At first, I thought it was something stuck in my throat, a chip…maybe? You know how that can happen… And I didn’t mention it to anyone right away. Not even Aaron, because I didn’t want him to be concerned about something that seemed not so important. I did eventually mention it to my friend Shelby but it didn’t seem like a huge thing. And time went on

Somehow I went through most of the semester like that. I could barely eat hard or crunchy foods. My throat hurt constantly. Finally, (and don’t judge…okay fine maybe a little but let me explain.) When I went to see my primary care doctor (PCP) in November I mentioned it to her. And she did a throat swab but held off on giving me antibiotics because I’ve been on antibiotics for months at this point for back to back to back to back bladder and kidney infections. 

So the throat culture comes back a couple days later positive for strep. Oh snap…I’ve had strep for a long time. But I’m a grad student with a family and other health demands so my throat was not my top priority for whatever reason. In hindsight, I regret that. 

So far, I’ve been through two rounds of antibiotics and it’s still very much there. I have an appointment with an ENT tomorrow so I will hopefully find out what is going on in my throat. But again, this is noncontagious strep so it’s not like I was giving strep to everyone I met…because I wasn’t. So it just wasn’t that easy to identify. As a child, I always had strep throat so I know what strep feels like and this wasn’t/isn’t it. 

My IC symptoms are still going strong. I’m in between antibiotics right now. But I’ve been on them for a long time. I generally only feel better while on antibiotics which is sad. 

My third semester of grad school which was the fall 2017 semester was incredibly stressful for a variety of reasons, including my internship.  Well, that reason includes…it’s grad school and that’s enough reason. I took 4 classes plus my internship. And now it’s the Spring 2018 semester and again I am taking 4 classes and my internship. I have one year left of my program because I am in a 3-year program. 

I will leave it here for now. But I plan to be back after I have results from the ENT.  

Hope everyone out there has been well while I’ve been MIA. Take care and talk soon! 

Image description: “Yes, hello, I’d like a refund on my body. It’s kinda defective and really expensive.”- Anyone with a chronic illness
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Antibiotics and migraines are all the fun.

Why aren't side effects ever fun? They are never like these meds might cause you to have a party in your pants. No instead it's like nausea and dizziness.
Image- Why aren’t side effects ever fun? They are never like these meds might cause you to have a party in your pants. No instead it’s like nausea and dizziness.

I finally got over that terrible stomach virus and started my antibiotics (Bactrim) on Wednesday, April 12th. It has not been without issue though. I am a very sensitive being and I do get all the best side effects…. nausea, stomach aches, mild diarrhea. You know all the stuff I just had when I had that stomach virus… sigh. And I’m sure the side effects are worse now because I literally just had that virus too and barely had time to recover from it before I started the antibiotics.

Needless to say, the last two weeks has thrown my Keto diet  (I am still on the IC diet though) out the window with a vengeance. When the stomach virus hit me…I immediately started on sick food: saltines, ginger ale, homemade chicken soup, bananas, applesauce and the like.

I have now been on the Bactrim for 5 days…have I noticed a difference in my bladder??? Sometimes… sometimes I don’t. So it’s hard to tell. But I am only 5 days into a 2 week round of antibiotics. Only time will tell…Ruth tells me I should notice a difference but maybe it’s just hard to tell because of all the side effects I’m having.

I know the Bactrim will take care of the E. Coli… but who knows what else is in there. Ruth thinks there is another infection underneath the E. Coli. And I will be doing a test for Lyme’s Disease, which is from a tick bite…the test is called iSpot…it’s a blood test. I’ll be getting the blood drawn for that in May because I need to be off antibiotics for at least two weeks before they can test the blood. 

It’s difficult for me to plan my summer when I’m so unsure where my health will leave me a month…let alone next week. But I will say this… I will plan on resting as much as possible this summer. Not pushing myself too much or doing too much. I will start an exercise routine that isn’t too strenuous and that my physical therapist, Jen, will help me to plan out so that I don’t hurt myself further. I used to do yoga almost daily before I was diagnosed with IC. But once the IC got really bad it just became too painful to continue doing. So we shall see what happens…..

In others news…My physical therapist and I decided to take a break from pelvic floor therapy (PFT) while I am on antibiotics to see if there was any noticeable difference because it would be difficult to tell what improvements are happening if I am also doing PT.  So instead we decided to work on my migraines… I actually just got back from that a little while ago.

I will tell you this… I prefer the PFT, which sounds insane…because that’s internal PT that hurts so much. But this PT was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I have trigger points all up and down my shoulders, neck, and head. Well…of course I do! Because I have chronic migraines…Duh! At one point she was pressing on a spot on my shoulder and it hurt so incredibly badly that I could feel it up in my temple. But she said that was a good thing because it meant that it was something we could work on… I was like…oh good…

Of course, it’s good. I know it is. But wow…I just did not expect it to hurt so incredibly much. It was just beyond brutal in ways that I can’t describe. It left me dizzy and disoriented. Luckily I don’t drive myself to PT…I always take Uber. My entire head, neck, and shoulders hurt… just like any other PT session. 

Also, I have increased my Topamax (aka dopamax), which is a migraine preventative, to the max dose- 100mg/daily. Which, of course, comes with its own side effects. Nothing is without side effects these days. Side effects like feeling dopey…hence the name dopamax. Forgetfulness, issues with word recall and understanding words…which is great to have when you’re in grad school. I don’t need words to write papers…nah. That’s silly. /sarcasm. 

image- My excuse for being brain dead is called Topamax. What's yours?
My excuse for being brain dead is called Topamax. What’s yours? Topamax aka dopamax

 

This semester can’t be over soon enough…Just two weeks left of this semester… I can and will get through this. This has been the hardest most frustrating semester I have ever experienced. I am not sure I will get through it with my sanity intact but as long as  I get through it… that’s the best  I can ask for at this point. I have a ton of school work to get done so I probably won’t write any new blog posts until the semester is over… but I’m sure you understand 🙂 xx

Image- Anyone can give up. it's the easiest thing to do but to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart... that's true strength
Image- Anyone can give up. it’s the easiest thing to do but to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart… that’s true strength