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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Where I'm At Now, Zio, Hematologist, 3 months Post Op...

Lot's of people have been asking how Im doing post surgery and with the start of my Lyme treatment again. This post may be rather long but here is where I'm at now.

When I was a child, I used to play with my two older brothers in the woods behind our house. All of the neighborhood boys would gather together with their fake weapons and camouflage clothing to play war. Being the only girl, I always pressured them to let me be the nurse. I had the dream of helping people out in the medical field, and cherished my education about it throughout middle school. I took things seriously, like extra curricular activities and sports, trying to educate myself about exercise and prepare for a long life in school to become a doctor. I never knew that when I turned twelve I had one last summer of joy before my life was overtaken with medical knowledge. I did not become experienced because of my own choice to, though I would be inevitably. I was thrown into the situation of being a chronic illness sufferer and advocate for others around me fighting disability. I look back on that final summer seven years ago and remember the late night bond fires, the first girl that moved into the neighborhood and became my best pal, hiking all over New Hampshire, spending time with friends and creating goals like learning guitar and becoming involved with horses. I was active, fun loving, popular, and a thriving social butterfly. I pushed to be the best and loved reading the last of the Heartland book series. That summer was my first time on social media. My new friend created a Myspace page for me, and I remember sneaking my age to thirteen to be included in the popular crowd. Little did I know the entitling age of 18 would have been such a terrible year for me, and that I'd wish to go back to where I was not a teenager yet. Our entire lives we push to be older and stronger and prettier and more independent. When we finally get there we see that it's nothing special.

Since my last post my life has been a whirlwind. I developed serious recurring symptoms due to the six week steroid treatment I was on. Babesia was running wild in my system. For those of you who don't know, Babesia and Bartonella have been my worst problem alongside Lyme Disease for the past seven years. They are all co-infections, they come together from a tick bite and can be the worst problems in the complicated case of treating Chronic Tick-Borne Infections. My symptoms consist of memory loss, nausea and stomach pain, joint pain and muscle soreness, headaches, dizziness and fatigue, and severe anxiety and depression. My anxiety has progressed to a point where it is worse than it's ever been. I have days where I fall into an anxiety attack and begin shaking and seeing blurry, running to my room or away from people to hide and melting anti anxiety narcotics under my tongue to get the quickest effect. I have become impossible, seeing the world as doomed around me and weeping for hours on end after starting fights with my boyfriend.

I called my specialist this week begging for a change. I told them I could not handle this hell anymore, that I was not eating and suffering from stomach pain and depression like no other, and needed help. They immediately got me an appointment this Wednesday where we can talk about treatment and getting help for my depression/anxiety.

Last week, I received a letter saying my health insurance through the state was ending. I called Medicaid to ask what that was all about, because I had been told I would be covered until the age of 20 with children's medicaid due to the newly passed expanded medicaid law. This was very reassuring, but now I was being told that was incorrect information and I was being dropped off of my insurance in just a week. I do have a financial assistance program that covers all of my main doctors and some testing, but it does not cover my medications and additional doctors, like dental work. This will throw quite the wrench in my plans.

As for post surgery improvement, I am doing my last physical therapy in about two weeks. I have switched from joint and muscle work to exercises and strengthening and will be testing my range of motion and strength at my next visit. My cardiac rehab appointments have increased in difficulty and I have been getting into a good workout routine there. I also have been increasing the weights and trying really hard to get myself to a point where I can get to the gym. It's been difficult getting myself to a point where I have the strength and motivation to get out of bed and drag myself to the gym. This is a constant obstacle for me, trying to maneuver around the Lyme Disease and it's affects when I only feel decent in the evenings and then I need to get to bed so I can sleep long enough. My rib cage and sternum pain have gotten a lot better, as time has gone on. I still cannot do the motion of putting my arms forward as if to hug myself, and I'm hoping that will improve over time.

The rehabilitation center watches my heart as I exercise, and they see a lot of changes in blood pressure with medication adjustments throughout the post op experience. I visited my cardiologist a few weeks ago because of the feeling of fluid on my legs. He prescribed a diuretic which lost some of the fluid weight after taking it for three days in a row. He also was worried about the electrical rhythm of my heart during exercises so he started me on a two week Holter monitor called the Zio patch. It's a two week EKG patch that watches your heart and highlights the moments you press the button (when you feel a symptom). I won't have the results until almost August close to when I return for repeat blood work for the Lupus Anticoagulant disorder.

My hematologist appointment was uneventful and we did not learn much, other than Dr. Walsh is a very understanding physician out of the New Hampshire Oncology and Hematology Payson Cancer Center at Concord Hospital. The experience was very pleasant and the only downside was that she mentioned possibly referring me to Boston to a blood clotting specialist. She said she sees a lot of blood problems and clotting with multiple generations is not her specialty. Now we must wait until the end of August for an answer about that.

Thank you for reading this long post, and I can do a continued post on my experiences with the Health Profession Opportunity Project (HPOP), horse shows, college preparation, health insurance status, and my next treatment plan after Wednesday's appointment.

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