So, I fully intended to write a Thursday themed blogging/social media post. However, after visiting another new specialist yesterday and spending more time on the phone yesterday and today with doctors than I care to admit, I thought it was important to update you all on how I am doing lately.
Sick of Being Sick –
In August/September of last year I started to feel unlike myself (unrelated to the running injury I had that knocked me out for a bit around this time) I generally had been a pretty healthy person – heck after 12 years of teaching elementary school I had built up a pretty killer immune system and yet suddenly I was constantly sick. I had constant sinus infections, lots of little stomach bugs, and shingles 3 freaking times! For someone who was rarely ill this was a sign that something was wrong.
On top of that I quickly gained 30+ pounds. Don’t get me wrong, I know I probably should have gained a bit since I wasn’t working like I usually did, but this was way more than it should have been. Plus, I am currently working my butt off and tracking everything I eat and no matter how hard I try I cannot seem to lose the weight, it has never been this tough before.
Finally, the biggest problem – I am constantly exhausted. It has been almost a year and I am still sleeping between 12 – 16 hours on an average day. Before this I would sleep about 7 hours a night on weekdays and enjoy a nap post long run Saturday, but nothing like this. Now, I am sleeping my days away. Right now it is bothersome, but I can deal with it because it is my summer vacation. That means if I sleep 14 hours (like I did today) I still have 10 hours left to fit in my workout, run coaching, blogging, and even some time relaxing of hanging out with family and friends. However, during the school year I worry because most days last year I would come home, check in with my run coaching clients, and then head straight to bed after work, sleeping all the way through to the next morning. It is frustrating to be this tired – to feel like I am sleeping my day away. When do I find time for training? For blogging? For family/friends? (Below – about to go nap post walk. Faking a smile for the camera, but only thinking about nap time.)
The Path to Wellness –
I have been actively pursuing trying to figure out what is going on for a while now. After seeing my huge list of symptoms (much longer than the main 3 I listed above) my primary care doctor was sure that I had some type of auto-immune disorder, so when he could not figure it out he sent me to my first specialist, a rheumatologist.
After waiting two months to see the rheumatologist (the waiting is the worst) he ran a ton of blood work for all the standard auto-immune disorders and nothing came back unusual. I was pretty surprised that he didn’t do more after that, but instead he wrote me a referral to my next specialist, a sleep medicine doctor.
Again it was tricky to get an appointment, about another two months later I finally got to see the sleep medicine doctor. I went in a spoke with her yesterday and she was great. We talked for a really long time and she asked me about lots of my symptoms. She was very honest in telling me that I truthfully did not rank very high as a candidate for any of the major sleep disorders and while a sleep study could be done there are some other options she would suggest first:
1. getting a Lyme Disease test – I do lots of my runs outdoors on the trails and she suggested getting tested and waiting for these results before spending money on more specialists.
2. going to see an endocrinologist – Turns out the two basic thyroid tests the rheumatologist did could come back perfect and yet I could still have low thyroid issues. She suggested getting some more extensive thyroid testing done as she believed this could more likely be my problem then sleep issues.
3. sleep study time – If the Lyme test comes back negative and then I go to the endocrinologist and they cannot find anything, she has schedule a nighttime sleep study followed by a daytime nap study in November. This would be used to see if I have clinical exhaustion similar to narcolepsy.
How am I Holding Up –
I am glad I have some steps to take. Right now I am back and forth on the phone with my primary care doctor trying to get an order for a blood test for Lyme disease. I am trying to get that done as soon as possible so I can figure out the results and get treatment if that is the issue, and move on to get a referral to an endocrinologist if it is not. I know from trying to book appointments with the rheumatologist and sleep medicine specialist that it took about two months to get my first appointment so I am just hoping things move as quickly as they can.
School starts back up in 3 weeks which means adding about 10 extra hours to my day with work and the commute, and honestly those are 10 really tiring hours because elementary school kids are busy, so I am really worried about what will happen in 3 weeks when my schedule changes and how I will keep my training up (Will I just sleep all day and miss it all?), but I am taking it day by day. I try to fake it until I make it by smiling a lot and counting my blessings – great friends, amazing family, job I enjoy, run coaching I love, town that makes me happy, and so much more.
Sorry about the super long, not too happy, medical heavy post, but I always try to be honest on my blog and share what is going on with me and I hope it helps someone else somewhere who may be having a tough time to know they are not alone.
Let me know –
How are you doing lately? Tell me something fabulous and fun! Lighten this post up a bit .