Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Curse is Broken

WARNING: This is going to be long, but it has a happy ending. =)

Greeks have a tradition that is typically done on New Year's of baking bread called Vassilopita. A coin is baked inside the bread, and whoever takes the piece of bread with the coin is supposed to have good luck for that year. Since I do not spend New Year's with my parents, my dad usually makes the bread for Christmas. On Christmas 2008, I was the "lucky" one to find the coin in my piece of bread. I thought it was great since I had some high hopes for 2009. Unfortunately, I think my coin was cursed.

Superbowl Weekend (the first weekend in February) is when the curse and all of my health issues began. It started with numbness and tingling in my arms, hands, feet and legs, along with extreme fatigue. I had experienced the numbness and tingling before and started seeing a neurologist, but she attributed it to my wonderful migraines. This time was different; it just came on one day without any rhyme or reason. I called the neurologist and she saw me almost immediately. She began the first round of tests - MRI, EEG, and bloodwork - looking for a whole slew of possible causes, including some very scary possibilities. Everything came back fine. My symptoms continued, and continued. My fatigue was so bad I could barely walk up the stairs or hold a book up to read to Evan before bed. I went to several different doctors and had so many tests done I probably can't even name them all. The first glimmer of hope was when they found I was severely deficient in Vitamin D. They put me on megadoses of that, and still no change in how I was feeling. I was starting to think it was all in my head and basically, life just sucked. It's not that I wanted something to be wrong, but I wanted answers.

Then another possible answer came when I started seeing a rheumatologist. He did more general bloodwork and I came up as being positive for Lyme disease. I was shocked...Lyme disease? I said to the doctor, "But I'm an indoors type of girl." He referred me to an infectious disease doctor (yes, the same Dr. who sees patients with HIV and all sorts of other things). While I waited the few weeks for my appointment, I did a lot of research and discovered I had tons of the symptoms, and you could get it just from being in your backyard. So I was all prepared for that dr's appointment to hear my course of treatment, I go in, and he tells me I actually don't have Lyme disease. The more accurate blood test came back negative. I went back to the rheumatologist, and in June was finally diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Now the problem with CFS is that there is no test to diagnose it. All they do is eliminate every other possible thing it may be and stick you with this label because they don't know what else to do. Along with that, there is nothing they can do to help you other than tell you to exercise in low doses (keep in mind the word FATIGUE in CFS) and possibly prescribe medicines often used to treat depression.

The other issue that was going on is that Rick and I were hoping to add to our family during this time. But, with some of those tests I went through I could not be pregnant for, and then not knowing what was wrong, made this a near impossibility. So when I got the CFS diagnosis, the doctor said to go ahead and try since "You're not going to feel better any time soon." Months and months went on and no sibling yet for Evan. Everything was just so frustrating. (My fatigue did finally get better in September due to some miracle vitamins that I'll talk about in a later post.)

So, back to that curse I was talking about. Christmas dinner 2009 with my family.... time to share in the Vassilopita again. I told my family my last coin was cursed and I do not want it again this year. I pulled my piece of bread from the plate, and sure enough, there was the coin in my bread. I was NOT happy. I could not go through what I dealt with in 2009 again.

It turns out that this truly was my lucky coin this time. January 11th I woke up, took a pregnancy test, and it was positive! =) We had our first ultrasound Feb 23rd and everything looks great with an estimated due date of September 22nd. We are absolutely thrilled and think that Evan is going to be a great big brother!

I am hoping to blog more often, but by the time we eat dinner I am pretty much checked out for the day. Working full time, having a 3 year old and being pregnant is exhausting!


Cathy said...

So sorry to hear about the CFS diagnosis, but I'm so happy that it's all turning around!

liz said...

hey bouk. i had been wondering for a while because of all your FB posts. i'm really sorry to hear all that. but i'm glad you are feeling better!

amypfan said...

HOORAY!!!! I am so happy for you! My doctors actually thought I had CFS a few years back, until they discovered that I actually have a freakish thyroid condition that the normal tests weren't catching. So I can definitely relate to the whole toddler / exhaustion / pregnancy thing. It can be done, I promise!!