My Misadventures with Autoimmune Disease

weird eye
Well, it started innocently enough. My week. I’ve been having some issues with my eyes recently. One of the other of them likes to swell up/get red for no obvious reason.

weird eye 2
I wouldn’t have thought much of it particularly except that the last time I went to see the dentist, she made a point of mentioning to me that if I had any issues with my eyes I should bring it up with my doctor right away. That given my health history of late, this would be an important development.

What health history you ask? Well, that is a rather involved story. I haven’t been talking about it much. Partly out of hope that it would go away. Partly because I was waiting for an official confirmation of my suspicions. And partly because I was worried it might jeapordize silly things, like my job. But as I mentioned, this is a long story. You might want to sit down. Make yourself a cup of…well, MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE.

mex hot cho
OK. Comfortable now? Alright then…Where to start? Well, it all started about three years ago when I discovered that I had incurred a prolonged TOXIC EXPOSURE. I had been feeling not quite right up until then, but I didn’t know why. Well, not quite right evolved into a whole host of problems which I’ve posted about more EXPLICITLY in earlier posts. But essentially, my body went into a kind of severe detox mode. Violently purging things every which way…until I landed in the hospital with a liver gone haywire.

hospital
At the time, they told me that I just had a bunch of viruses…hepatitis A and mono. And this is what had caused my liver to malfunction. (What they forgot to mention to me at the time was that I had also tested positive for an autoimmune antibody, ANA.) Things seemed to be getting better for a while. I took a bunch of time off and really rested. This did a lot for me. But as soon as I went back to work, new issues started to emerge.

proactive
I was being really proactive about my health and doing everything I could, but I was still having problems. Chest pains. And these strange body twitches. Plus, I was still tired all the time. So I went back in to get checked out. To my surprise, I found out about the (whoops we forgot to tell you about this) positive ANA result. I also found that I was still testing positive for mono. Six months later. They repeated the ANA test to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. Lo and behold, it was positive AGAIN. At this point, I got passed around to a few doctors who came to the conclusion that they weren’t sure what any of this meant. So the best thing to do would be…nothing. So, I waited. All the while stewing about little things that doctors/nurses had mentioned to me in passing. Things like …’You probably don’t have this but the ANA is positive in people with autoimmune disease’ … ‘permanent liver damage’ … ‘hepatitis A doesn’t make people vomit blood’ … ‘Is there anyone in your family who has lupus?’ … ‘i really don’t think there’s anything wrong with you’… ‘YOU have an AUTOIMMUNE disease and THEY need to diagnose you!’..’You didn’t want to have kids, did you?’. Needless to say, my experience wasn’t doing much to dissuade all the horrible things that people say about our health care system.

flower
Anyway, to get on with the story, I went in Monday about my eye. This doctor I went to see is actually my favorite of the twenty or so that have examined me over the last few years. He seems the most well intended and willing to stretch. Meaning that he recognizes that there are weak points in the architecture. Cracks that people fall through. And he seems the most willing to try to reach for us. Anyway, he told me what I had long suspected. He thinks I should see a specialist. An autoimmune specialist.

I haven’t fully processed what this all means yet. And I can’t even get in to see him until August. Honestly, I’m not even sure if I want to see him. But at the very least, it means that I’m not crazy. And that things are starting to change. I’m starting to find some answers finally. Which also means that there is a whole host of issues that I need to consider. Things that I think might be best left to their own post. Lots of complicated issues. But, at least I’m out of the closet now.

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