Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Paging Doctor Google

UPDATE: survey closed.

Okay, folks, here's some fun for those of you who like to play Dr. Google. I'm going to list the currently known facts of my condition and you get to cast a vote on the diagnosis that you think is correct!!

There will (I hope) eventually be a correct diagnosis, but, for now, the possibilities are quite wide open.

And I know what you're thinking: Wynn Anne is bringing hypochondria to new heights lows.

While you are undoubtedly correct, I will put forth that one is not unduly paranoid if there is, in fact, an assassin aiming at your head.

  • Bloodwork: 
    • high (bad) scores on my liver function tests; these same tests were normal one year ago
    • slightly low iron, but not so low that the doc would worry if other scores were normal
    • blood sugar A1C is 6.6 -- very slightly high for a normal person, but quite good for a diabetic(A1C is the 6-month average)
    • all other tests (so far) normal, including tests for hepatitis and for good and bad cholesterol
  • Prescriptions
    • Refer to my Pill Poppin' post. The doctor has told me to cut out the claritin and wean myself off the Metformin as it is metabolized by the liver.
  • Mood and behaviour
    • I drink 1-2 glasses of wine per night (7-10 glasses per week); this has not changed in the past year.
    • I drink four glasses of water a day. I realize I could do better, but I think that's still more than average. (Sadly.)
    • I am currently depressed and have increased my antidepressants. They aren't responding as they usually do.
    • I've tried to increase my activity level a little, and have started using an SAD light for light therapy.
    • I am exhausted. On a typical evening, I come home from work, eat dinner, then lie in bed reading or playing on my iPad until bedtime. It's all I can do to get the laundry done on the weekend.
    • I've gained weight in the past four months.
  • Physical
    • After quite a while with minimal symptoms, my IBS is acting up. 
    • The joints in both hands are quite sore all day. The balls of my feet occasionally hurt, as do my hips and shoulders -- but nothing I would consider unusual for my age.
    • I've acid reflux for at least a year.
    • I'm pretty much through menopause. (O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' she chortled in her joy.)
    • I am hot All.The.Freaking.Time. Today, for example, the temperature was slightly above freezing. I was comfortable in a sheer blouse and capri leggings. If I'd stayed outdoors longer, I would have put on my sweater. This has been going on for about a decade, but may be caused by Zoloft. It did get worse with menopause (because, why not?), but has settled down to a steady state of "move to Nunavut!"
    • Migraines are steady at about one a month, but (since about a year ago) now include vomiting either before or during. (I've had migraines since my teens, but never had the delightful spewing.)
    • I bruise very easily.
    • My liver does not feel enlarged.
  • Family history
    • Lots of cardiac, stroke, diabetes, and colon cancer in my family. I have an aunt with Lupus. 
Differential Diagnoses:

(You can tell I work with doctors, right? "Differential diagnosis" simply refers to the possible diagnoses to rule out.) The following links all go to Wikipedia.
  1. Aging: I'm getting old; I should just get over it. (Oh, come on. Have some fun with this!!)

  2. Rheumatoid Arthritis: an autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic joint inflammation - though it is systemic and can affect many organs. Think of those gnarly old-person joints. I do have some swelling and redness on my hands and feet, but nothing that would suit a Disney film.

    Fatigue and malaise are common with RA, but so is weight loss.

    There is a blood test for RA; I had that test done today.

  3. Liver disease: there are many, many diseases of the liver. According to consulting expert, Dr. Wikipedia, symptoms of liver disease "include both physical signs and a variety of symptoms related to digestive problems, coagulopathies [bleeding and bruising disorders], blood sugar problems, immune disorders, abnormal absorption of fats, and metabolism problems."

    Interestingly, this is the first time I've ever seen "overheating" as symptom of anything other than a drug reaction or menopause.

    Diabetes usually damages the kidneys, not the liver.

    I've been referred to get a liver ultrasound.
  4. Lupus: another autoimmune disorder, less well-known than RA. Like RA, it is systemic and can attack many organs. Lupus is often characterized by a unique rash on the face. Lupus used to be a really dreaded disease, but medical management has come a long way.
  5. Fibromyalgia: According to Wikipedia, "the term "fibromyalgia" derives from new Latin, fibro-, meaning "fibrous tissues", Greek myo-, "muscle", and Greek algos-, "pain"; thus the term literally means 'muscle and connective tissue pain'." [Who gave them permission to combine Latin and Greek? Hmm? Who?]

    So, basically, it just means: pain. But it also includes some neurologic and mood symptoms.
  6. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Honestly, I'm not sure how this differs from fibromyalgia, except that it doesn't have a cool Greco-Latin name. It usually starts suddenly with flu-like symptoms and, though it does cause some of the pain seen in fibromyalgia, it is predominantly a disorder of fatigue [Duh! - ed].
Okay, fellow hypochondriacs and medical junkies: start googling!

1 comment:

  1. I am of no help to you. But, my husband says every symptom of mine is me being old, so I'm going with that.


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