If you needed to consult the University of Google yesterday, you saw that even the Google art reflected the Year of the Pig (and it was adorable).
My year is shaping up a bit differently though. . .
You see, in medical schools everywhere, students are frequently taught an old expression: “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.” The idea is to remind students to look for the simplest, most obvious explanation for a patient’s symptoms, instead of trying to play Dr. House. Generally, this is good practice.
The problem comes in with patients like me. . . we present with rare and complex problems and are frequently misdiagnosed and passed around several times before someone gets it sorted out. . . and we often wish we WOULD run into Dr. House during one of our many hospital visits.
To further complicate matters, it often turns out – as was the case with me – that our initial problem is just the beginning and more diagnosis are going to slowly unfold also.
We then end up with an even more complex medical picture and a goodly collection of specialists – who usually have NO idea what the others are doing – and a giant assortment of medications and enough medical knowledge of our own to give any doctor a run for his or her money. . .
And, because of that old expression, those of us with some of the rare diagnosis I have recently acquired are called zebras.
The reason that today, Chinese New Year (because I’m still up), is also Zebra Day here on the blog is because I am sick as Hale, YET AGAIN, and it seems to have a kind of oddball pattern about it that involves CRPS flares.
I’m having to play detective with this new-to-me CRPS business – and here is what I see. . .
First of all, CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) frequently travels with another condition that I have been dealing with for quite sometime but have been unable to name before now – dysautonomia. Among other things, this condition is why my heart rate runs amok, amok, amok.
At the same time, there is, of course, an immune link to my RA, and, most likely, to the CRPS as well.
And the CRPS flares primarily horribly in my left foot first, before acting out in other areas and ways.
All of this seems to come together to paint an unusual picture.
Before my first CRPS flare in December, I had the flu and was sick as Hale. Then the CRPS started. And my dysautonomia was going nuts with my heart rate running all over the place during that time.
That flare took a few weeks to leave.
I had another flare of the CRPS the week of my birthday in January. It was preceded by a horrible infection that required a high dose antibiotic – it’s just winter and sick season for the immunosuppressed – and, again, the dysautonomia was ever-present and running wild – despite twice daily beta blockers.
At least that flare didn’t stay as long. . .
Well, I mentioned in my previous post that, after last week, I felt cruddy – and I am. Really cruddy.
And my vitals are looking like this, with my beta blocker on board:
It has caught my attention more so than usual because I noticed tonight that my feet are REALLY achy and miserable and my left foot is having sharp stabbing pain.
So this little Zebra is thinking that all of these things are linked somehow. . .
I’ll be doing plenty of research to see what else I can find out over the next few days, – but, right now, I’m doing ALL THE THINGS I know to do to keep my left foot from blowing up into a pain crisis – since history suggests that may be next.
Also, the last day of February is Rare Disease Day, to promote awareness for the diseases that affect the Zebra population:
I’ll be sharing more information before the 28th, of course. 🙂
And, as always, onward.
Be Well, Everybody.
Grace and Blessings. ❤