Saturday, March 17, 2012

Where's My Lipo?

I had a fat pad biopsy this week, something my current favorite doc ordered because my arrhythmia combined with my longstanding symptoms could possibly be caused by amyloidosis. Mind you, I stand a better chance of winning the lottery than having amyloidosis and there's no real reason to think I have it.

But it's something that he and other doctors have mentioned in passing, and this doc felt that the addition of weird heart beats to the mix of my health issues warranted ruling it out. And because he isn't the kind of doc who orders tests simply for the sake of something to do the way too many of them seem to.

Interestingly, my fat pad biopsy didn't go the way all the descriptions I read online. Instead of the needle aspiration, the surgeon made a 3/4-inch incision on my belly and took out a plug that way. He put in four layers of stitches! It was all done in the office and no big deal. (I'd have been even happier if he'd taken more of my fat pad. It's not like I don't have plenty to spare!)

Meanwhile, it looks like I'm going to finally get my tachycardia treated. The event monitor I wore last month showed that I'm having premature atrial contractions (PACs), which is nothing serious, but since the palpitations are frequent and painful, they can treat it with a medication that will also slow my heartbeat. I'll take digoxin, which is an old drug based on digitalis. Beta blockers are contraindicated for me because of my asthma and the fact that I have low blood pressure. But digoxin works differently and won't affect my blood pressure.

The best part? There's a chance it will help with my intense fatigue by lowering my heart rate from its current 100-120 at rest. The downside? Digitalis is toxic if it builds up in the body, so they'll have to do regular blood tests to make sure I don't end up with too high of levels. But I don't have a fear of needles, so I'm not too worried about that. 

On a completely unrelated topic, we officially launched our online store. Please check it out and share the link with anyone you know who might be interested! And check back because I'm slowly adding more items.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What Would You Like To Tell Congress?

Brittney over at The Road I'm On has an intriguing topic for the March edition of Patients For A Moment: Given the opportunity, what would you tell Congress (your state's delegation, the entire body, and for you Canadians and other nationalities whatever your main government body is called) about your chronic illness, the way it affects your life and why it's important to fund research into finding new treatments and ideally a cure?

I have some ideas percolating on that topic, but in the meantime, if you want to participate, you should start writing asap. Brittney has extended the deadline until 8 a.m. March 14. You can see her post requesting submissions here.

Meanwhile, I am happy to announce that I got my overdue meds from the mail-order pharmacy, and it definitely makes a difference! I'm still flared, but I'm no longer as out-of-control pain-wise as I was without the Flexeril. And my unrelated back pain that pre-dates my chronic illness is back under control, which is a huge relief.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Still Waiting ...

Yep, I'm still waiting for that darn mail-order prescription.

On the upside, the website shows that it's in transit and scheduled to arrive March 6, so just a few more days.

But oh, I dug through the less-than-intuitive mail-order pharmacy's website and discovered that I requested the medication on Feb. 13.

And since I still had refill available, according to that website, it kind of boggles my mind that it is taking so darn long to get here!

Meanwhile, my pain levels just keep ramping up. So far, I've refrained from using narcotic pain pills, but since I'm forbidden from ibuprofin (I get peptic ulcers from all NSAIDs. And I mean all.) there really isn't much else I can turn to for pain control. I'm hoping that having the end in sight (Tuesday!) means I can hold on.

OTOH, I'm not really sure why I try so hard not to take pain pills. My doctors prescribe them and say they're meant to be available when my pain levels get high. In nearly five years of this illness (or ever), I've never abused them. But there's a stigma attached to using narcotic pain meds, especially for a chronic condition, and like a lot of people with chronic pain, I've internalized that attitude. And that's despite the fact that I know from experience (and it's supported by numerous studies!) that letting pain build and grow just makes it much harder to get control of later on.

So, um, I guess that's my update on the status quo. 

Meanwhile, although I doubt I'll manage to post daily for April, I went ahead and signed up for Wego Health's Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge 2012 (HAWMC). If you blog and are so inspired, you should sign up there too. They will send you daily prompts, although you're free to blog about whatever's on your mind instead of their prompts.