Friday, September 5, 2014

Diagnosis

I have been thinking about writing this post for the past couple of weeks and I have wondered time and time again where to begin. Many (most) of you know that for the past three years, I have struggled with crippling chronic migraines. You know that since being diagnosed with chronic migraines, my family and I have tried everything that was within our power to get me well and despite our best efforts, my health continued to decline. In the past three years I have been to two neurologists, an infectious disease specialist, a chiropractor, a massage therapist, a naturopath, an acupuncturist, a foot-zone specialist; I have had a lumbar puncture, at least six MRI's, several blood tests and blood panels done, several excruciatingly painful sessions of nerve-blocking shots, had Botox, tried literally every migraine pill on the market and even some medications discovered through medical studies that weren't used to treat migraines, just to see if they would make a difference. To the astonishment of my current neurologist, none of these solutions worked. Under his care, I have recently felt like a completely mute guinea pig. It felt like he kept throwing out random medications just to appease me. It felt like he wasn't hearing me and I was beginning to think that he didn't believe or care anymore how much pain I was in. I was beginning to lose hope. After my latest neurology appointment and not surprisingly getting anywhere, my mum and I decided that it was finally time to go search for answers elsewhere. So armed with three years of medical records and research, we did just that. And that was when my life began to change.

My new doctor, funnily enough, is at a regular, old family clinic that just opened up just around the corner from my mum's work. She had a particularly good experience with him when she, herself, was sick and then again with my baby sister. Overcome with pain and exhaustion, and with a highly cynical attitude, I accompanied my mum to my first appointment.  I was surprised to experience actually being listened to by my doctor. He was overcome with concern and was outraged that I had been through so much and been treated so poorly and carelessly by my other doctors. From that moment he sprang into action and within just two appointments, that's right, two appointments, my family and I got the answers that we'd been searching for for three years.

I have been officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (this has been a big contributor to my severe migraines), Hypothyroidism, a heterozygous, genetic mutation that makes it impossible for my body to absorb vitamin B, and a couple of severe vitamin deficiencies. Needless to say that when I received this news, I became instantly overwhelmed. Overwhelmed that there were so many things that were making me sick. Overwhelmed that three of these sickness have no cure and I will have to deal with the rest of my life. And overwhelmed that my mother and I had suggested two of these diseases to my neurologist last year and just barely a few months ago and he dismissed them because they weren't strictly neurological. He even went so far as to call the heterozygous, genetic mutation fake and hyped up; that the doctor whose specialty this mutation is, was trying to take advantage of gullible people.

But do you know what's great in spite of all of these intimidating and overwhelming things I've been diagnosed with? Now I have answers. Now I know that this pain I've been feeling for almost three solid years is not in my head. Now, I can begin to take the first steps on the road to recovery and the first steps to managing my diseases.

This is only the beginning to what I am sure will be an excellent uphill climb towards better times and happier things. For the first time in three years, I can breathe easy knowing that I am finally learning how to take care of myself in the right way. And I no longer have to be afraid of the future. I can now go into it with open arms, armed with new and priceless knowledge to be the best version of myself I can be.

P.S.
Last week I didn't have a migraine for  five straight days. That is an incredible something that has not happened since before I was diagnosed with chronic migraines three years ago. Things are looking up!


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