Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hungry, Hungry Hippos

I think most of my generation in New Zealand grew up watching repeats of Friends and The Simpsons every weeknight. In most situations you can make a reference to either show, and everyone in the room will have seen the episode so many times themselves they instantly get what you mean. Personally every time I hear an oven timer go off, I feel the urge to yell: “My Fajitas!” and when my hair gets particularly curly: “It’s the humidity!” And I know every time one of my friends mentions Hungry, Hungry Hippos that what they’re really playing is the waiting game.

It’s possible another diagnosis may be on the horizon for me. Nothing confirmed yet; it could turn out to be absolutely nothing. I wasn’t going to post about this, until I knew for sure either way but then I realised “the waiting game” is a big part of living with chronic illness. Whether it’s test results, approval for new medications, treatments to start working, or answers to the cause of new symptoms, it feels like we’re always waiting for something.

I went to see my GP to get some forms filled in last Monday, and in the course of the appointment, I asked her to check my blood pressure. I was pretty sure it was low. I’ve been having more and more dizzy spells and headaches lately, especially upon standing up from sitting or lying, and I’ve had a couple of unexplained falls as well. It was, as I suspected, low but we were a little surprised by how low. At the time it was taken, I was feeling fine which suggests it may be dipping even further when I’m having dizzy spells. My GP suggested I should start drinking coffee to raise it, and when I mentioned I’d found drinking water with added electrolytes helped, she checked my blood test results and found my electrolytes levels are also low. I think there are probably a lot of reasons this can happen, but the one that my doctor thinks it could be is Addison’s disease. I don’t know too much about it, and I’m resisting to urge to google anymore because the Wikipedia page freaked me out. From what I have read, I do have all the symptoms, but given that they are all fairly non-specific symptoms and could be attributed to any one of the other conditions I already have, that doesn’t really mean much.

Autoimmune disorders tend to run in packs, so after you’ve been diagnosed with a few it’s not really all that much of a surprise when another one is added. Even so, I have to admit the possibility of this one has unsettled me a little, especially as I hadn’t even considered anything new might be wrong, before my doctor brought it up. My GP said it’s quite hard to diagnose, and she’s on leave for the next month, so for now it’s just extra blood tests, self-monitoring of my blood pressure... and playing the waiting game.

Whenever you’re waiting on something the advice everyone gives is don’t think about it, but as we all know that’s like trying not to think about elephant when someone tells you not to think about elephants. Still, I’m doing my best not to worry about it at least.   

The waiting game sucks. I really need to get Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

Thanks for reading 
Little Miss Autoimmune