Anyone when getting into better shape physically or attempting a drastic long-term lifestyle change should probably make sure everything is cool physically to make such a change, correct? Alright, cool I’m glad we’re on the same page about that.
So, about a year ago when I slowly but surely made my way into the realization that I was looking to “become superhero” (more so physically, mentally, and emotionally leveling myself up-in which my introduction piece to that can be found here). The very first step in this journey was my seeing my primary care physician- as a newish mom (my daughter was just over a year old at the time) I had let my own health greatly decline. I had put myself on the back burner to care for her, my home, and to be there for my husband-not to mention the additional stress of a prolonged friendship break up)
Now, there were quite a few symptoms that I was experiencing that I will list here (some have been dealt with to the best of my abilities and then further improved just by general nutrition improvement and self-care, aaaaand then some are still a mystery, but I’m quite certain I am closer to solving
Symptoms as of November 2021:
- Hair loss
- Excessive thirst
- Extremely dry lips
- Inner Thigh/Groin Pain (possible workout injury)
- Achy joints
The First Visit
(Primary Care Physician)
My first Doctor visit with my primary care physician went as follows- listened to my symptoms, requested blood work, prescribed me a corticosteriod (for my lips), referred me to get a scan of my knee joints (to make sure nothing was physically dislocated, etc) and then I had to wait about 3 weeks to see my PCP again to discuss my blood work and x-ray, in which nothing of note had come up *le sigh*. Well, considering that I was having literal symptoms she then referred me to Rheumatology.
The “Second” Visit
My first Rheumatology appointment occurred in early December 2021. All of my symptoms were still occurring in varying degrees and rotations (e.g the excessive thirst and dehydration, I continued to be chronically dehydrated and generally thirsty, but once in a while I was extremely thirsty). Can you guess how this appointment went? It went as follows- the Rheumatologist listened to my symptoms, requested blood work, she did start to mention a corticosteriod for my lips, but I was like “nah, we tried that, and although it did work temporarily (for the 2 weeks then and additional week I was told to continue to apply it) my lip dryness came right back”. Side note- Corticosteriods are not suppose to be a long term treatment, so that was clearly not the answer for this problem for me. So, I diligently got my blood work done and waited for our next appointment.
Over the course of the next two months I returned to the Rheumatologist twice, once to review my blood work, in which we found that my vitamin D levels were deficient- overall a “score” of 20-50ng is considered adequate. My vitamin D levels were at a 17ng soooo, yes, deficient. Now, here are some of the symptoms of low vitamin D:
- Bone pain.
- Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps.
- Mood changes, i.e depression
Yes, that would fit the bill for some of the ongoing symptoms I had been experiencing. I was then prescribed a once weekly tablet of Vitamin D2 of about 7,000IU.
Sadly, to the dismay of my Rheumatologist the full lab she had requested had not been completed. She had ordered full labs to check for auto immune disorder markers as there was concern that I may had/have something along the lines of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. So, it was then requested once more and I had to get more blood work done (hello needles my old friend). I then returned for our subsequent appointment in early March with fingers crossed. Was there something more or was it “simply” a vitamin D deficiency? Well, this time more of the labs were run so we were able to rule out a thing or two-primarily Lupus was ruled out, but my labs did come back with a positive ANA score. Essentially, the antibodies in my body were attacking its own tissue.
My score was a low score of 1:40, so it could have been just an odd day. So, she requested further blood work to double check not only my ANA scores again, but also for an update on my Vitamin D levels. By this time it had been over six weeks or so since I had been prescribed the Vitamin D2 so sure-Needle me up! I then returned later that March and my blood work showed that my Vitamin D levels were now adequate, I still had a low positive ANA score, and so my Rheumatologist made the call to diagnose me with Fibromyalgia. I was then prescribed ibuprofen (for inflammation) and gabapentin (to help with nerve pain). This was/is the best diagnosis so far as I did have symptoms that fell into this category, the positive ANA score, and there were a few instances of myself having what would be considered a “fibro flare”. A fibro flare-up can best be describe as the inflammation, muscle aches, fatigue, reaching a peak and you essentially feel uncomfortable to outright continued nerve pain all over.
In so, being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia doesn’t necessarily “solve” the problem. You’re body still has inflammation, nerve pain, muscle aches, fatigue, etc. For me I took it as “alright, at least there is confirmation that yes, something is not “right” in my body, but clearly SOMETHING is causing this, so further investigation is needed”. Also, since my symptoms consisted of more than what falls under Fibromyalgia e.g hair loss, dry lips, excessive thirst my Rheumatologist decided to refer me to a Dermatologist AND since I was more so less wanting to do medication (the medication she prescribed to me was just in case and on an as needed basis if things got really intense). She then asked if I was interested in physical therapy, and oh yes I was! I want to get into Superhero shape– hell yea I’m interested in physical therapy!
It takes time, patience, and perseverance to get the “Superhero” body, but also all those things and more to get the Superhero mindset. My Superhero Journey is going to continue- we still have physical therapy and dermatology to discuss, in which that will be coming up in part 2!
Also, you can find videos of these articles with all my personal footage, narration, and just me being me on my YouTube channel!