Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More Reasons Why My Body Hates Me

One thing I really enjoy about having to renew our adoption paperwork for a third time (some seriousness, some sarcasm) is the medical form.

I get to go my doctor and have him sign a form that says that I am likely to live until my mythological child is 18.


Sort of. I like to think of it that way. A benefit of having to be stuck with a TB test yearly is that I will LIVE FOREVER (okay, 18 years) according to my paperwork.

This year I got demerits though, because the box for hypertension had to be checked off next to YES. Which is sucky. My blood pressure has been creeping for a few years. I feel like it started in the death throes of IVF, which makes sense, really, that all that manipulation and stress would raise my blood pressure, but now that's done and it's still high. I do have a stressful job (I love it, but it is not low on the stress until summer), and this whole waiting for adoption thing can be tough on the ticker in more ways than one. But, the past few months have seen my blood pressure in higher brackets than anyone is comfortable with, so I went on medication.

It's a medication that also works to prevent migraines, so it's kill-two-birds thing. Those have also been getting worse and more ocular in nature. Probably, the two things are related. There's another medication that is even better at preventing migraines and does a good job on the blood pressure, too, but that one exacerbates asthma so it was a no go. My lungs don't need to be exacerbated, as proven by my horrific flu experience last year.

Anyway, I started up the meds, and everything seemed to be going okay.

Until the week that just kept throwing me curveballs. I wrote about it on Thursday and was like, "hopefully everything will be fine now!"

Except the week just kept being a jerkface, and Friday had me calling my doctor about a very red eye.
Courtesy of a student who wants to be a surgeon. "I zoomed in!" she said. Also, this is the last day I wore eye makeup. Isn't it sparkly?

In fact, I called my pharmacist first, because the inflammation in my left eye had been steadily increasing since Tuesday, yet I had no signs of conjunctivitis (no pus, no crustiness, I hope you're not eating anything right now...), and I finally figured out that there was a new element that had been introduced. My blood pressure medicine.

The reaction I got from the pharmacist when I described my eye and asked if the meds could have anything to do it was disturbing at best. "CALL YOUR DOCTOR NOW," she said. "STOP TAKING THE MEDICINE UNTIL YOU SPEAK WITH A DOCTOR!" Apparently a lesser-known rare side effect of my medication was a localized glaucoma thing that can steal your vision. Awesome.

So I called my doctor, and they told me to stop the medication and call Monday for an appointment if it wasn't any better. And if it got worse or painful over the weekend, to go to the emergency room.

Okay...that's not freaky at all.

On Saturday, when we were trying to do the whole birthday mystery thing, it looked like this:
Hmm, that's not any better. 
It started to feel a little sore, but I didn't think "a little sore" qualified as an emergency room visit, so we did the birthday thing and Bryce pretty much worried about my eye THE WHOLE DAY. 

And then, Bryce's birthday proper on Sunday found my eye looking like this: 
Ewwwwwwww. Also, least. flattering. picture. ever.
Bryce at this point had googled all sorts of horrific things, some having to do with blood pressure destroying your eyes (although I was mystified as to why my body would choose to destroy just the inside portion of just my left eye), and the soreness started become more noticeable. I couldn't read for more than 5 minutes because the tracking motion back and forth hurt. So I called the on-call doctor to see if they thought the ER was necessary. 

They did. "You don't want to mess with your eyes," they said. Yeah, eyes are pretty important. 

And so we spent nearly 8 hours of Bryce's birthday in the emergency department, not seeing anyone who would peek at my eye until about 4 hours in. 

They called in the ophthalmologist on call, who I'm sure was super excited to come out and see my red eye at 6:30 in the evening. He looked at my eye, checked again for surface damage or to see if the veins were inflamed at the surface level, and dilated the crap out of my poor eyes. Then I REALLY couldn't read. There is nothing sadder (almost) than being stuck in a situation where you have a really good book to finish and you CAN'T READ, first because it's painful for more than 5 minutes at a time and second because the world is a blur. 

I feel like this is a bad Snapchat filter. That yellow business is an eyedrop that was supposed to show if I had surface damage. I didn't, but it stained my face like I had cried pee. Mmmm.
The upshot was, the veins that were inflamed were deep inside my eye. The on-call eye guy decided that it's likely scleritis, which is an autoimmune disease of the eye, which has a slight connection with celiac, my autoimmune disease of the gut. AWESOME. He told me to put myself on 1800 mg of ibuprofen per day (600 3x), and that the inflammation should go down. I asked about the blood pressure medicine, and he said it wasn't a glaucoma thing, although the pressure in that eye was at the high end of normal and higher by several points than my other eye. Hmmm. I asked about the fact that ibuprofen raises blood pressure, and mine was through the roof that day (probably because I couldn't read, har de har har har), and he said it wouldn't be forever. 

Bryce was wildly unsatisfied with the whole thing. He is very nervous there's something else going on. 

I called my family doctor on Monday and went back on the blood pressure medicine, which I feel is just being cancelled out by the ibuprofen. No joke, just two weeks ago when I had my appointment that put me ON the blood pressure medication he told me to stop taking ibuprofen or Excedrin Migraine for my migraines because they don't treat the deeper cause, just the symptoms, and they RAISE BLOOD PRESSURE. So I'm real happy about that. 

Now it is Wednesday, and I have been on the insane amount of ibuprofen since Sunday night. THERE IS NO CHANGE. Literally, take a peek: 


Okay, now my hair is a mess because we have about 2 1/2 feet of snow and so I was able to sleep in due to a second snow day. But the eye is pretty much the same.
What the freak? Maybe it's a little better, I can't tell anymore and my photo album on my phone is disturbingly full of bloodshot eye pictures. I have SO MANY pictures of my eye. 

I have an appointment tomorrow with my regular eye doctor at the glasses place, which I was due for anyway, and they can do the glaucoma puff thing and the eyemapping with a picture and maybe see what the hell is going on. I have an appointment with an ophthalmologist NEXT WEDNESDAY to do further testing. Hopefully my eye doesn't explode before then. That is my worst fear, that I will wake up to goo on my pillow and no left eye. (Sorry, that was gross. But it's a very real fear.)

I suppose I'm happy that the blood pressure medicine that was supposed to help me out isn't trying to kill my eye. I can't help but feel like my body just has it in for me, thought. First the blood pressure, then the eye, now the ibuprofen coursing through my sensitive gut... And no definitive answers as to why there's not any improvement. My body needs a behavior plan -- it attacks its own reproductive function, it attacks its intestinal lining, it attacks its lungs, it attacks my head and vision with evil migraines, it attacks the pressure of the blood in the veins, and now my eye. I JUST WANT TO HAVE SOME TIME WHERE MY BODY DOES WHAT IT IS EFFING SUPPOSED TO. 

I think it will be fine. No one is rushing me into the hospital when I call, and they let me out on Sunday. I just don't want to look like a horror show. I don't want to have a sore muscle IN MY EYE. I want to wear sparkly eye crayon again. 

I don't think that's too much to ask.


  1. Oh good grief!! Really, your physicians can't figure this out? They can't talk to one another about what is happening? And people wonder why there is distrust.

    Yes about talking to your ophthalmologist. But also send your PCP these photos with a list of meds you are currently on. Because someone somewhere is likely going to be thinking about this holistically and suggesting a course of action that seems to not be working against your body (or you for that matter). And if they don't make sense, ask for a second opinion. Because really, they need to be addressing this, not waiting until you are in the ER to figure this out.

    1. Right? A wrench in the business is that so many places are closed right now because of the ridiculous snow. I am hopeful that tomorrow works but that's a great point -- I'll call my PCP tomorrow and see if I can send a progression of pictures. Gross, right? We're reading a book called "Out of the Dust" in English right now about living in the dust bowl, and one poem has the father stuck out in a dust storm looking for his daughter, and the phrase "his eyes look like raw meat" is in there. My students on Monday were like, "That sounds like you!" Um, not a great comparison. True, but ew.

  2. Oh my. This does not sound like fun and the one dr is right- you don't want to mess with your eyesight! Definitely send the pics to your PCP and maybe try to get in to see a specialist as a PCP may not be well versed in eye issues. Hope it gets better soon!

    1. Specialist fit me in today... so it's definitely interior scleritis, and now they're trying to figure out if there's something nefarious lurking that caused it or I'm just unlucky. Hopefully prednisone kicks it to the curb... It looks quite possibly worse today than before. Argh. Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Ugh, I hope you can see a real eye doctor and get answers asap. An inflamed eye sounds scary and uncomfortable as heck. And I'm so sorry that it's reminding you of the rest of your health history. Do you have audio books? Podcasts? Meditation cds? Sounds like what you need, after good medical care, is something to reduce stress!

    1. You know, it's funny because the eye specialist today said that she fully believes that stress can be a big cause/trigger for scleritis. I don't think I have any meditation cds that aren't fertility related but maybe I can find something online... In the meantime I go on steroids and hope that all the testing today comes back negative for scary things that could cause this. Not how I wanted to spend St. Patrick's Day. :(

    2. I have a meditation/mindfulness app on my phone called Calm that I have listened to occasionally (not often enough...!). I've found them pretty soothing. There are some free meditations on it; you can also subscribe for more (of course...!). Glad you've been able to figure out what's going on, & I hope things clear up for you soon. So frustrating!!

  4. I hope your eye doctor can help. I was wondering whether it might just be some sort of infection since it's only in the one eye. But then it seems strange that it hasn't started to improve by now and of course when it comes to anything involving your eyes you have to be so careful! I'm sorry that you are dealing with this right now.

    1. So, it's definitely one-eye inflammation, and it's definitely scleritis. Not the nicer surface one, but interior. Son of a gun. Saw the specialist today, they fit me in and then it kind of kicked me out of work for the day...I can type well so this is working out okay but I can't see the screen real well. :( Hopefully interior scleritis is ALL that's going on, there was a scary litany of underlying causes (but then again some people just are susceptible to scleritis without scary things, so that's good too), and I was tested for all of them so hopefully it's all negative. February-March has not been kind to my body! Thanks for the thoughts.

    2. oh gosh, I'm sorry to hear you are going through this! Hoping that your tests for anything else will come back negative!

  5. Oh my Jess! I'm so sorry you are dealing with this...I was so hoping it was something simple and treatable like pink eye, not some complicated mysterious eye ailment!
    So in the pics it looks to me like the Tuesday picture is actually worse than any of the ones before it. Ugh. Hope you get some answers and relief soon!

    1. Me too! So, it's not even the good scleritis, the one on the surface, it's interior scleritis, so the inflammation is deeper into my eye. Argh. The good news is all the working parts are fine -- my retina is looking gorgeous. But, steroids for me and a battery of tests today when I went to the specialist to make sure there's not an underlying cause as this type of eye thing goes with several icky autoimmune disorders... which hopefully I don't have. WTF, body. Thanks, I think relief will come with the steroids, and they are taking me off the ibuprofen so that makes me happy.

  6. I'm sorry you are going through all of this. It all sounds scary, annoying and miserable. Hope you get some answers soon! Sending healing vibes!!

  7. Wow! I can see how this is now much improved!