05 February 2018

Never easy

Well.

I have been meaning to post a follow-up after my trip to the allergist last Wednesday, and now I've just got a call from my regular doctor, and I'm all distracted, so typing it all out seems like a good idea.

I thought the allergist visit would be fairly straight forward. It was scheduled for 8 o'clock Wednesday morning, and not far from work, so I didn't even imagine I would be late that day let alone miss work entirely.

First they took my blood pressure, which was 100/72, on the high side for me, but perfect by everyone else's standards. I got the scratch test, which revealed nothing, surprisingly. Then they did a secondary test where they did a bunch of little injections in my shoulder, and I started shaking and feeling disoriented and dizzy, and nearly passed out. I was so shaken up I was practically in tears. They took my blood pressure again, and it was 115/72 - bit of a jump in 15 minutes! I had to lie down for a while, and then sit for half an hour, and then I thought I was fine. Then we did one more scratch test and I had the weird over-reaction again - shaking, dizzy, the whole nine yards.

This, if I didn't mention before, was the same sort of reaction after giving blook last July and October. I gave blood again this January - five days before the trip to the allergist - and I was fine. This time I skipped my morning coffee, so I thought I had figured out the cause and solution.

I had mild allergic reactions at the injection site to all the things my son is allergic to - dust mites, pollen, outdoor mold. The nurse thought it was significant; the doctor did not. He suggested it was an issue with "irritants" and chronic sinusitis rather than "allergens" and suggested I come back in six months to do a patch test, and gave me a prescription for nasal spray and sent me for some bloodwork to check my immune system. He also said something about sending me to an ENT, getting a CT-scan of my sinuses and "don't worry we won't do surgery unless it's absolutely necessary." I'm sure my eyes bugged out of my head! I was expecting something more on the lines of the recommendations we got for my son - ditch the humidifier, Claritin in the summer, etc.

He also told me to take the day off and go home and rest, which I did. I lay on the sofa for a few hours, felt better, then went out to do my bloodwork, and promptly needed to lie down again.

Fast forward to this morning.

I just had a call from my regular doctor's office (they were cc'd on the bloodwork results, which I can only assume came back abnormal). The doctor said my red blood cells had been "increasing in size" over the years, and "nothing to worry about, we just want to rule out a few things," and determine whether they need to send me to a haematologist. She said they'd email me a req for bloodwork (it's been 43 minutes and they haven't sent it yet! Anxiety!) to check my levels of B12 and folic acid, and liver function.

Naturally I have been googling all the possible causes. Alcoholism - nope. Hypothyroidism - wouldn't surprise me, as Hashimoto runs in my family, but I don't have any of the other symptoms. Malnutrition - seems unlikely, as I eat quite well, and looking at the list of foods rich in B12 and folate, they are all things I eat regularly.

However, another thing that runs in my family is pernicious anaemia. There are all sorts of autoimmune diseases in the family, but (up till now?) I have never had any of these myself. Looking at the symptoms of pernicious anemia, there are many that line up with what I've experienced: fatigue, lack of energy, or lightheadedness when standing up; shortness of breath, mostly during exercise; clumsiness; irritability; numbness and tingling in the hands and feet; problems concentrating; loss of balance. All things I've complained to my doctor about for years!

So, have I been finally hit with the traditional family autoimmune disease? If so, I guess pernicious anaemia is a good one to have. I'm kind of hoping that's it, because all you have to do is take the right kind of B12 supplements (I do take an off-the-shelf one, but if I have pernicious anaemia, I'd need a prescription supplement). In the old days, my grandfather used to drink sulfuric acid with meals to make up for the lack of "intrinsic factor" due to the illness. So much more easy to manage now!

Now it's been 59 minutes and still no req has been emailed. I am doing to die of anticipation if it doesn't get here soon!

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