When you are suffering for a long time and don’t know what’s wrong, when doctors look at you like it’s all in your head (and some even tell you that), when it takes years and still no one knows…it’s so nice to be diagnosed.
Some of my illnesses were diagnosed fairly quickly, and still some things are still pretty vague. (chronic hip and pelvic pain – ummm, why?)
I know it may sound weird but I was so happy when I found out that I had a wheat allergy, gluten intolerance, hypothyroidism, Meniere’s, hypoglycemia, a B12 deficiency, a Vitamin D deficiency, and finally and most recently fructose intolerance.
Each of these diagnosis took a long time to discover. Especially the wheat allergy (gluten intolerance) and Meniere’s.
For years I was sick. I saw a note in my medical records one time from a doctor that said, “This patient comes in with a laundry list of complaints….” I was shuffled from doctor to doctor. I was told I had Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and IBS. I had to learn to live with it, and I did for years. I even started a local Fibromyalgia support group. (I’m so very thankful for one very special friend that came from that group. You’re great Lisa!!) But I never stopped looking for an answer, or something that could help.
Finally, I was reading about food allergies and asked my doctor to test me. Come to find out I have a wheat allergy. Thank Goodness, I found out. I stopped eating wheat immediately, and started feeling so much better within weeks. Then I read about how many people can not tolerate gluten, and the symptoms for celiac disease. A lot of these symptoms fit me, so I decided to stop eating gluten, and it was like a light switch came on in my life. I no longer felt like I had the flu all the time, or that I needed to sleep most of the time. I had a new lease on life. I’m so grateful.
I had vertigo attacks on and off for years, with a full feeling in my ear and a constant ringing, but no one could tell me why. One night after having vertigo and throwing up over 8 hours my fiance (now my husband) took me to the emergency room. The doctor there told me that he thought I may have something wrong with my ears. Perhaps the crystals that some people get, or something else that causes vertigo…he even mentioned the possibility of Meniere’s. I loved this doctor. I was so grateful that he believed that there was something wrong with me, and I wasn’t just getting food poisoning over and over. (yes, that’s what I had been told.) So I went to an ENT, and he said I have Meniere’s Disease. I was so thankful to know something. Am I happy that I have Meniere’s? NO. But I am just so thankful that I have a diagnosis.
I’m so happy to be involved in the research going on at Duke to find out if an imbalance of Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) may be one of the causes for vestibular vertigo in some Meniere’s and Ramsey Hunt Syndrome patients. I was so very happy to find out that I had CSF leaks and they could patch them. My life is a new again. (no vertigo for over 2 months now!)
Most recently, after 7 months of chronic, almost daily, diarrhea; and a battery of tests, I am so thankful to find out that I have Dietary Fructose Intolerance (or Fructose Malabsorption). Yes, it makes eating much more difficult, but I’m already feeling better after just one week. What a difference knowing can make.
Am I thrilled to have so many chronic illnesses? Of course not. But I’m so thankful that I know.
I’m also thankful for all that I’ve learned from having chronic illnesses. I’ve grown so much as a person. But that story is for another day.
Thank you all for supporting me through all of time trials. Isn’t it great to know?