June 7, 2015

The Health Chronicles, Volume 1...My ANA is Rocky Mountain High

*Sigh*  Where to start...  I've thought about this post for a long time, and I'm still not real sure where it'll end up, but I guess this is where it starts.  I've typed about 10 lines and erased (deleted, I suppose, in this age of technology) them all.

My goal with these posts (it won't fit into one) is to share a little about what I'm experiencing in hopes that either (a) someone else knows what the hell I'm talking about, and/or (b) someone else might be relieved to know you're not going crazy (I can't promise that, but...).

Here we go.

For about, oh, all my life, I've not felt good.  As a little kid we had to complete a 600 yard walk/run.  I couldn't really run it at all, but I'd try to keep up with all those speedy little bastards in my class.  It usually ended up with me sucking wind while finishing it up in a slow walk.  All those other kids were back in the cold AC by the time I was done, and I know my gym teacher cursed my name every year.  I was plenty active, but running kicked my ass.

I believe I was probably the only kid in Trigonometry that needed an extra chair to prop up my swollen, purple knees.  While I wish I had some super athletic story to share (winning basket, sliding in homebase), my amazing maneuver was simply walking to class.  I went on a date once with a boy to a dance place for teens, and I could only sit.  *sigh*

Through my 20's and 30's, I went around and around to doctors.  All I could describe was that I didn't feel well.  My bloodwork always looked good, and I had nothing that could be "seen" by anyone.  The best description I had was that I felt like I had a bell jar over my head.  Imagine the look I got as I described this..."Well, have you read Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar?  That's how I feel, like I'm an insect trapped inside and the rest of the world is out there."  I feel disconnected from everything...

Essentially, I feel like my body is flipping me the bird every.single.day.

In my early 30's I learned I was allergic to milk.  I love milk.  In all forms.  Ice cream. Whole milk. Cheese. Yogurt. Sauces. Coffee Creamer.  Me and milk?  We good.  My allergy didn't take an epi-pen kind of approach, so I just kept on consuming it.  I learned that soft cheeses and whole milk kinda messed with me, so I avoided those, but I still kept on.  I'm beginning to wonder if I have kept my immune system in overdrive for so long fighting the allergy that it's just had enough?

I also have the amazing luck of having polycystic ovarian syndrome.  This is endometriosis's sort-of cousin.  Recently while having an transvaginal ultrasound (the tech and I are VERYCLOSE after this procedure.), I got to see what polycystic ovaries look like.  The answer?  Swiss cheese.  Those bitches hurt, too.  One burst a few months ago, and it was what I expect I would feel if I were being stabbed by a long, rusty blade in the lower abdomen.  

PCOS screws with your hormones, and not in a good way.  I guess there's really no good way to screw with one's hormones, but...  I've always struggled with my weight, and the only time I've been able to lose weight has been right after being pregnant, when my hormones are as close to normal as they will ever be. I've been lucky in that infertility has not plagued me as it does a lot of women with PCOS.  Still, it's a pain in my arse.

So here I am....According to my ANA test, which measures inflammation in the body, I have very high inflammation right now.  I've changed my diet completely.  No milk.  Let me repeat that:  No milk.  None.  I'm sure there are trace amounts sneaking in, but to my knowledge there is no lovely, delicious milk entering my very pissed-off body.

That is where I am at today.  Of course there's more to how I know my ANA is high, and I'll let you in on that in the next post (did I mention this business makes me super lazy and fatigued?).  On a high note, I managed to vacuum the living room today! Doesn't everybody get excited about that?  No?  Oh.  

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