Update

Well, if Fall was all about my dad and his health concerns, Spring is all about my health concerns. After a couple of years of being frustrated with my family doctor, I finally got into research mode and found a new doctor in late fall. I really like my new doctor. She’s very patient and seems to look at everything more holistically — she looks at the big picture, instead of just dealing with patching up symptoms. Anyway, my first visit with her was okay. We talked about a lot of my concerns, including my near-terror of doctors, but I didn’t do the things she asked and kept putting off my second visit until the end of February.

February came and I had to go back or not get refills on my prescriptions. Ugh. Guess blackmail does work… it got me into her office and probably good that it did. My blood pressure was extremely high which was very scary. We talked about all of my medications and unfortunately, some of my meds have the side-effect of raising my blood pressure so it was time to get all my meds on track. We decided to start with changing my allergy/sinus medication, largely because it included a strong decongestant. I was in the process of getting a horrible sinus cold at the time so instead of stopping the old medication, I continued taking it for another week (when I ran out and my cold was mostly cleared up). Now I’m using a spray (Nasonex) and it seems to be doing pretty well.

I had to have some blood work done in the meantime and the results were that I have an iron deficiency and anemia on top of the high blood pressure. That led to some further blood work to figure out the cause of the deficiency. Hopefully will have the results of those tests and possible course of action this coming Friday when I see the doctor again. The anemia is both a scary thing and something of a relief–many of the depression symptoms I’ve suffered in increasing volume lately may actually be symptoms of anemia. It will be interesting to see what happens once we begin treating this.

So, the good news is that (1) My blood pressure has been coming down steadily since I switched medications. It’s still a little high, but not scary-high any more; and (2) My exhaustion, headaches, and other problems may be due to anemia rather than depression. Of course, where there’s good news, there has to be a balance of potential bad news and that happened at the dentist’s last week. I hadn’t been to the dentist in a while (part of my doctor-phobia) but had a loose front tooth and needed to get a checkup so I researched dentists and found a highly recommended one that was accepting new patients. After 18 x-rays and a lot of poking and prodding, the dentist told me that the bone surrounding my teeth is degenerating. I’m seeing a periodontal specialist in a couple of weeks to see if we can rebuild the bone or do something else to save my teeth. This just terrifies me! I don’t want to loose the rest of my teeth!

So I’ve spent some time in research mode, learning more about high blood pressure, iron deficiency, anemia, and periodontal diseases and trying to figure out what I can do on my own and what questions I need to be asking at my doctor visits. I’ve cut back on my caffeine in a big way (sigh, I miss Starbucks!) and have been trying to eat more vegetables and fruits instead of so much junk food. The diet aspect is always the most difficult thing for me. Always has been since I was a kid.

I’ve been resting a lot and trying to do some relaxing things to lower my stress levels. Work is still stressful so I’m looking at what I can do to level that out a bit more too. The upcoming week will be more restful than usual… it’s Spring Break at the University of Akron, so fewer students, no fighting for decent parking spaces, and a few days to kick back without as much pressure. Too bad Break isn’t two weeks long! I’m looking forward to Summer this year more than ever and dreading Fall!

I guess that’s it for now.

Have a great week!
Karen

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