Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March: still sick, but improving

It's been almost a month since my last post. I think the more my health improves, the less interested I am in posting, or thinking about Lyme disease.

Not that I'm all better, of course...

I'm finished with the course of Ceftin and Biaxin. And I'm a bit confused as to what was herx and what was normal lymie-ness. The fatigue I reported in my previous post came back periodically throughout the month, as well as almost constant neck and back pain. There were a few days here and there of nasty neuro (I feel like an unhappy troll hiding under a bridge, waiting for it to stop), and some brain fade during the periods of fatigue. Still struggling with ringing ears and sensitivity to noise.

But... there were also periods, like during the last Diflucan course, where I felt pretty darn great, and am beginning to feel like my old self again, both physically and mentally. I just have to remain objective, and not be too dismayed when the lyme comes crushing back in a day or so.

Is it possible to have a "wrist herx"? Last week my left wrist hurt so bad I was beginning to think somehow I had a stress fracture. Both constant toothache-y pain, and *very* sharp pain if I so much as turned my hand slightly in the wrong direction. Screamingly sharp. I thought it was unlikely I had broken it, and figured it was either lyme-causing-tendonitis, or tendonitis-made-worse-by-lyme. Either way, I know tendonitis is really hard to heal, and takes a long time.

Well, after 3-4 days of this, and taking the occasional Tylenol with Codeine so I could sleep through the pain, it just went away. Completely. I can do anything with the wrist now, and no pain at all. What the heck? I'm happy, but confused. It's not all in my head, really! :) All I can figure is that it was a herx reaction. Many folks report joint problems, almost always knees. I've never had any problems with my knees, but early on could hardly use my hands due to pain in thumb and wrist joints. But even that wasn't nearly as acute as this recent condition.

I'm feeling increasingly like I'm in a "middle place". Still ill, still disabled, but often don't feel like it. Early on, I was so sick I couldn't even begin to think of "doing anything". Plus, I'm kind of hunkered down in the finance department, having not earned a dime in a long time now, and the prospect of reversing the disability denial merely a concept, not reality. But now that I'm getting better, I feel like using this time to do something. Anything.

The financial writing is coming along, though it'll never pay more than lunch money. But it keeps me busy.

I've always liked the idea of being able to express myself artistically, but never had any easy, innate talent, and always put off working hard at it. So, for Christmas I asked for, and received, a beginner Bob Ross oil painting set (don't laugh, I like Bob Ross :) . Now that the weather's warming up, I'm going to try a bit of oil painting. If I can relax into it, and not do too horribly, it should end up being healing and entertaining. Or it could turn out to be just frustrating, we'll see...

I felt so good one day that I packed my backpack and went for a hike! Really! I packed everything needed for an overnight (about 18 lbs.), and headed up a mountain on the Appalachian Trail an hour from home. Just packing and driving there tired me out, but I proceeded very slowly, enjoying the fresh air, and the motion of my body. I ended up only going 2.5 miles, resting a couple hours, and turning around and heading back to the car. But it was good. I just figured I didn't want to push a good thing, and that when the end of the day came, I'd be better off sleeping in my bed than on the ground. I was glad to have the gear and food so that I could have stayed out if I'd wanted. I was pretty sore the next couple of days, but I survived. It was a pretty teeny hike for a former thru-hiker, but it's a beginning. I'm hoping for a repeat soon.

So now I'm off meds for a week or so, letting the body regroup a bit. Next week I see the LLMD again, and find out what April's little medical adventure will be.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I want my Diflucan back

Hi folks,

I'm one week into my course of Ceftin and Biaxin, and I figured a quick update was in order.

In the hiatus between Diflucan and the current meds, I experienced worsening symptoms. First, some neuro issues I mentioned in the last post, and then a couple days before I started the new stuff, crushing fatigue.

It's really hard to get across to someone who hasn't experienced this. At one point I finally got myself into the bedroom, with eyeglasses and a book, sitting in bed. Exhausted. Now, all I had to do was reach over about 18 inches and pick up the book. Not possible. So I just sat there, willing it to float over to me. Unsurprisingly, this didn't work.

This level of fatigue lasted about a week. I found it interesting (and dismaying) that it even occurred on waking in the morning after a good night's sleep. Get out of bed, and instant exhaustion.

Yesterday the fatigue lessened, but is still lurking. It was replaced by pain. The usual lyme muscle inflammation of back, shoulders, and neck that I often have, just worse. Oh well. I'll take fatigue and pain any day over anxiety and brain fog.

My doc says it's probably too early to herx from the new meds. So all this is just going off the Diflucan? I'm not sure. Sickening how fast the gains retrace. Anyway, I'm able to get some writing done - both freelance financial analysis articles, and writing code (before I got sick I worked as a programmer). This stuff becomes much harder, to impossible when the brain messes up.

Tune in next week or so for the "herx report". Ha ha.