Hello. The Unleashed One here. I hope that everyone is having a good day thus far, wherever you may be. Today, I continue speaking about the Layers of Chronic Illness. For those who may need to play catch up, here are the links to the previous two entries:
Okay, so 2018.
In 2018, I made the decision to rejoin the gym. At that time, my main focus was to "firm" up some of the loose skin that had surfaced based on some of the weight loss that occurred during the time I was ill. At that same time, I was in search of a new primary care doctor. The search engine in conjunction with the insurance's website was a bit daunting. How could I choose a doctor? Proximity didn't guarantee effectiveness. Just because one was a woman didn't automatically equate understanding. Should one seek reviews from others, similar to how one would read reviews at a restaurant? If so, not many individuals were leaving any feedback.
At the time, it was overwhelming. However, I still had the referral from my old primary care doctor to the endocrinologist. She said that he was one of the best in the area. I did my research on him and there was positive feedback on him. The customer service aspect was a bit spotty and what people complained the most about. About him specifically, it was primarily good things.
I set up an appointment with him. I braced myself for receiving the same old song and dance about sticking to the metformin.
To my surprise and pleasure, he agreed that the metformin wasn't working and that we should implement a new strategy to not only get my diabetes under control but something to help with my cholesterol.
In the past, I had been placed on three different medications. After having adverse reactions to all three, I was leery of being put on anything else. Yet, he spoke to me about this new medication on the market, and he thought I would be an excellent candidate since my LDL (that's the bad cholesterol) was all out of whack.
I had never heard of the medication. Nor the one he wanted to put me on for diabetes. I was tired of being on the same old stuff and not getting any results. If he was willing to take a chance on these medications, I would jump in and take the chance as well.
The main thing I don't (and do not like) about the cholesterol medication was having to inject it. One can stick the medication in the arm, leg, or abdomen, but because there is a bit of pain after administration, I opted to deal with alternating between the left and right sides of the abdomen. The diabetes medication was a combination of two: part Metformin and part Januvia. We would do blood work every three months to monitor my progress.
In addition, he made suggestions about cardiovascular activity and changes to my eating habits that would involve less sugar, fewer starches, and more fiber. ⇦ Remember this, because it will definitely come into play as I progress more into my story.
At work, I got information about a program that would provide a primary care physician. It was affiliated with one of the hospitals in the area. Because I had not taken out the time to peruse the insurance website, I figured this would buy me some time until I made a definite decision about who I wanted to trust with my primary care. I wanted someone close to where I lived. Unfortunately, that doctor was booked to capacity. Therefore, I went with the next best thing: a physician close to my job.
Although I had a specialist handling my diabetes, there were two other issues lingering from the Super Flu: the cough (which I named Clingy) and chronic constipation. Since using laxatives occasionally was still working at this point, I mainly went to this doctor to get a handle on the cough.
She kept treating it as if it were infection-related. None of the things given to me worked. I'm not saying she was a bad doctor. She definitely wasn't the nightmare I experienced previously. However, I believed we were going in circles as it pertained to my care. It felt like a waste of time.
How bad was the cough? The cough was always consistent. Like, every hour on the hour, I was coughing. At night, the coughing was so bad, it would rouse me from sleep. I even had spells when I threw up. However, the only moments I did not cough as much (even stopped coughing) was when I was working out, especially doing cardio. It was like Clingy the Cough knew to cut the shit.
I tried over-the-counter remedies. I tried DIY remedies. I was placed on medications to clear out viral and bacterial issues. I was put on medication for acid reflux. Still, Clingy the Cough persisted.
I still wasn't sold on finding a new PCP yet but I did want to find a specialist. Maybe I had an allergy that was the culprit. Fortunately, within walking distance, there was a location that had an allergist and a pulmonologist. Since my insurance did not require a referral, I made the appointment.
I was given an allergy test as well as a breathing test. The breathing test concluded that I had asthma, which started me on the hamster wheel of asthma medication.
How many of these were tried on me? Let me count the ones ... sigh. I don't remember the order in which they were tried on me, but I recall all the different packaging.
How many of those provided any type of improvement or were effective? Don't worry. I will wait.
In the words of Greg Doucette, "a zeeeeerrrrroooooo". That's right. Eight different medications. No quieting the unstoppable Clingy.
There had been no call for any further investigation, like checking my lungs or chest for any inflammation. It was just, "Let's try another inhaler. Maybe we just don't have the right one."
At this stage, it seemed to be a dead end. I did not want Clingy to be a permanent passenger, but none of the costly methods were doing anything to give me a temporary reprieve.
Temporary reprieves at night involved my using a dehumidifier with some essential oils. As far as any medicinal relief, nada.
The end of 2018 marked the end of my visits to the allergy and pulmonology center. I decided that 2019 was going to mark a new beginning. Although my endocrinologist was a keeper, everyone else needed a complete overhaul.
I think this is a wonderful place to pause. Stay tuned for part four.