Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Silly Woman's Disease

Before I start, I do want to apologise for this self-pitying post. I've written bits over the months and deleted them each time. I'm getting to breaking point now and just need to rant.

I've mentioned a few times that I haven't been well for a while now. Since mid-November actually. For a long time I avoided going to a doctor as I haven't had good experiences with the ones here. For months I put up with the extreme fatigue, dizziness and nausea 24-7. I kept telling myself that it would all go away soon.

About two or three months ago, the tingling began. Just a strange little sensation in my toes to start with. It quickly spread and had been up to my knees for a while now. It's become really quite painful and often sleeping or walking is difficult. After a day of standing in class (luckily only three a day) I'm almost crying from the pain. About a month ago, the tingling began in my fingertips, that's now spread up as far as my elbows, a few weeks ago, it began in my face. On top of this, breathing is becoming more difficult and I get the occassional chest pain. With all of this, other symptoms have been getting worse and I can no longer make it through a whole day. Luckily my work has been really supportive and I've been able to cut down my hours a little every day.

But what gets me really upset with all of this, is the %^$#@*) doctor's here. The first one was just horrible, you can read about some of the appointment here. A couple of weeks ago I found another doctor and had some hope. Things were done at a snail's pace however, one or two tests done at a time, then a week's wait to see the results and then another one or two tests after that. All the while he'd mumble that it looked to be autoimmune, but not testing or referring me to anyone else for tests.

At this week's appointment, in my frustration about the lack of answers, I made the mistake of telling him that I was getting really down about it all. He got excited, "That's it! That's the problem! You're depressed!" He'd set his mind to it and I could not convince him that I was depressed BECAUSE of the pain and inability to do things. In Japan, women are often considered to be silly hypochondriacs, so of course, (male) doctor knows best. He's now decided on my diagnosis but has indulged me with one last test.

After I get those results next week, I have to look at trying to find another doctor and go through it all again, in the hope that someone will listen to me and to get me back to my usual self.

Of course, while some positive results are scary, the not knowing can be much, much scarier.

21 comments:

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

How frustating and worrying for you - I hope you get the answers you seek. We are the best judge of when something is far from right with our health - keep on fighting until you get to the bottom of it. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way!

ethel and edna's tearoom said...

Oh no! Have been wondering what the upshot of the last lot of tests was. How frustrating and worrying for you. We moan about the NHS in the UK but if you shout loud enough something would get done. I hope this all gets resolved soon. Have you any way of finding a more Western-thinking doctor?

青いビースト said...

Check your b vitamins. In partic vitamin b-6 and vitamin b-12. I say this from experience, as I had similiar problems: fatigue, tingling in extremities, dizziness. It even reach a point where I was stumbling when walking. Which for a guy who doesn't smoke/drink and exercises it was pretty scary. I too went through a barrage of doctors who basically gave up because every test from neurological to cancer came up negative. I ended up going to an immunologist and turned out my b vitamins were low. I ended up taking extra b-12 and b-6 (still do) and things stopped fairly quick. It was a lot cheaper and way less scary than the possible Cancer diagnosis :-P

Guzzisue said...

hang on in there, plenty of people out here in blogland more than ready to hold your (virtual) hand whilst things get scary. I must agree that finding a more western thinking doctor does seems to be worth considering.

Fuji Mama said...

Aargh! The doctors here can be so frustrating!

Michelle said...

Maybe it's worth a trip home with a heap of appointments prebooked? Cheap really when it comes to your health because nothing is more important. As others have suggested, it's probably just an imbalance somewhere, and easily treated, but the unknown is always way more scary. Sending you lots of good health thoughts! Take care.

kirsten said...

gosh, melanie.
i truly hope you can find some relief and results super-quick...
just terrible for you.
kirsten xx

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leni & Rose said...

Oh, thats just dreadful...very frustrating. Boo to the doctor, and boo to his dismissive manner.

Keep up your positivity - I'll be sending heaps of energy your way!

CurlyPops said...

Do you have any opportunities to come home and have it sorted out?
There are so many different types of autoimmune problems and they quite commonly tend to onset in females in their 30's (sorry, not trying to make you feel worse). At least if you were here, you would be taken seriously. I hope you find some help asap.

Semsavblanc said...

Hi Melanie,
I was wondering if you checked out the website I mentioned where you can be diagnosed through an internet site diagnose-me.com. It could be worth a try. Someone will know what all these symptoms mean.

Have you heard of Fibromyalgia? If you do a google search you will be able to get lots of information. Your symptoms seem to tie in with this condition. I wonder if they have heard of it in Japan.

I really hope you get to the bottom of this. I can understand how distressing it is becoming for you.

You're in my prayers!

Sherrin said...

Melanie, this sounds awful. I hope you can find someone who will take you seriously and help you. Look after yourself! ((hugs))

zoesquid said...

This does sound awful. I reckon I'd be on a plane back home as quick as I could. Surely someone over there knows of a good physician????? Take care of yourself. Libby

Two Peas In a Pod said...

Oh, my Im sending happy thoughts your way. Positive vibes. I really hope you find the answers, your health is so important, so take care and dont take no for an answer, you know your body and if it isnt feeling right find a doctor who will listen to you. Wishing you well!
Kyla

Sybilla said...

Aaaahw, I'm so sorry to hear that Melanie! Must be awful to be treated like that on top of all your distress and pain. I pray for you that everything will turn out all right, please take care of yourself!

Best wishes and hugs,
Sibi

Hila said...

Oh this is awful, I feel terrible for you. It is so frustrating talking to people who dismiss you - you know your own body best. I sincerely hope that you'll be ok - I'm sending good vibes your way.
Take care!

Jenny said...

How annoyingly frustrating and scary too. It sounds as though you need to find someone who you can trust and who is going to take you and your symptoms seriously.Coming home for awhile to sort things out may be an option. I am sending you lots of postive thoughts and a big squeezy hug:) Take Care.

Bec said...

I'm only just catching up on my bloglines, so I'm a bit late in my message of support I know, but I want to send it anyway. What you are going through sounds so awful - and there's nothing worse than being treated the way you have been, on top of what you're going through. I really really hope you find someone to help you work through it all and find out what's wrong. You sound like you are actually staying very strong in the face of it all. Take care, Bec.

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

I really can't thank everyone enough for their kind and supportive words. It means so much.

Just a quick update, I'm still waiting for the latest blood test results (tomorrow) for hypothyroidism. It that comes up negative, I seem to have found a good doctor in Osaka, and hope to get an appointment to see him soon.

Hubby started some accupuncture on my this weekend (such a handy husband he is!) and I feel so much better for that and for a fun crafting weekend.

Oh, and Semsavblanc, I don't seem to be able to reply to you anywhere else, so I hope you don't mind me doing it here. Yes, I did you the site you recommended and as well as some scary stuff, they pointed towards a very high chance of it being a thyroid problem. I have heard of Fibromyaglia and the doctor in Osaka specialises in that and Cronic Fatigue.

Once again, thank you so much everyone.

Semsavblanc said...

Hi Melanie
It sounds like you are on the right track with the doctors now and you have all these good vibes, positive thoughts, prayers and wishes coming from all around the world (and a wonderful husband to stick needles in you??).
I truly hope your appointment goes well and you'll be able to get back to feeling full of life and energy again soon.
I love the handmade things you are doing by the way. If we weren't saving up for a trip to Japan, I would probably be your biggest customer!
Bless you.

flossy-p said...

Oh my god, that IS scary. You know if there's persisting symptoms it's not just a passing thing. Keep going with the doctors, hang in there, I hope a good one presents themself soon.

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