After yesterday’s video, I could not help but think back to all the “shut doors” I encountered on the path to my healing journey. These are very difficult experiences for me to think of as their memory inevitably brings up years of stuffed down sadness, despair and fury. They were torturous insults to my dignity, my self worth and my will to continue on this difficult path.
By 2009, I had already been to West Africa (2005-2006) and South America (2009) and picked up my share of intestinal bugs along the way. I had been feeling ill years before my trip to Burkina Faso but I refused to let that stop me from going on faraway adventures (wasn’t that the one true goal in life?!). After treatment for numerous Giardia lamblia, Salmonella typhi and other infections I seemed to aptly pick up everywhere, I was still not feeling well in the slightest; my health continued its steady decline. By the end of 2009 I was in terrible shape: my back made it impossible to enjoy sports or standing activities, my constant headache had turned to frequent multiple-day migraines, I had a lot of signs pointing to major hormonal imbalance, my digestion was worse than ever and was very debilitating, I was tired all the time, my body ached all over and non-stop and I could no longer hold a full time job (I could go on…).
I visited a family doctor I had at the time and asked for some referrals: neurologist, endocrinologist, physiatrist, gastroenterologist. She wasn’t the type to really give two cents about her patients’ health, but at least she was willing to write out referrals. I was not sure what was wrong with me and at this time still hoped that doctors would hear me out, believe my issues were real and investigate my case.
I also returned to see a doctor at a renowned tropical disease clinic because I was suspecting that my fibromyalgic and chronically fatigued state was caused by some sort of bacterial infection inside my body (I had read that in my research on the Internet). This was the tropical disease clinic, so I saw them as top of the line infectious disease specialists that I should reach out to. Growing up here in Montréal, camping all summers, I did not suspect there could be a non-tropical infectious disease causing all of this. But even if I had, I would still obviously assume these guys would know about it and test for it when people as multi-systemically sick as me came in to see them.
This is what I wrote in an email to Jan (2010-01-14) after my visit with the neurologist and the infectiologist:
“doctor 1, neurologist: he was nice, did a bunch of reflex tests on me. he says i don’t need a brain scan because he really doesn’t see the need, and it’s expensive (note: I’m doing a scan in the next few months, to see what (if any) damage has occurred to my brain due to the infection). he explained a lot to me, talked about migraines that end up being chronic headaches. he prescribed two medications. the first one is imitrex. it is a strong and excellent migraine medication which you only take when you feel it getting bad. the medication is super expensive (like 10$ a pill type thing) but he says it works like a charm, and should only be used when really needed (note: it did nothing for me.). the other medication is a daily medication, elavil. at first was used as an anti-depressant (still falls under that category), but then someone found that at much lower dosages, it was good for treating chronic headaches and pain. i’m not sure i’ll take the daily pill just yet (i’d like to see the endocrinologist first to see what he says), but i’m not against it (note: I took it for about 3 weeks… probably not long enough to see a real effect but I hated the idea of taking something designed only to suppress the pain, while my body was clearly struggling with something).
doctor 2, tropical infectious disease: not as nice, typical doctor type (i’d seen him before). i told him all about my history and issues. he told me to avoid milk products. i pushed the whole ‘chronic fatigue caused by a bacteria thing’, but he wasn’t sure what to test me for. so he looked at the standard blood results from yesterday (i did it at the same hospital and most seemed to be in already), and said i had ‘exemplary blood work’ and was in ‘perfect health’, with the usual snarkiness… he also gave me a referral to a urologist, but said that he didn’t think it was necessary (note: I’d been treated with over 15 rounds of antibiotics for chronic UTIs throughout the previous 4 years). he said that i could keep going from doctor to doctor, from test to test, trying to find something but that i will end up just with the same results over and over again, and that my problems were ‘real’ but more stemming from the mind (note: fuck you. because a small part of me believed you.).
so that’s about it. i did really good with both (well the first one was friendly so that helped), and then i came home. i wrote to work saying i can’t come in. i do, however, feel pretty terrible still… booooo. my head is killing!”
So that’s a slice of my life back in 2010. I have no comments for now…