I had my appointment with the chronic fatigue specialist a few weeks ago and boy was it one hell of a long appointment. Ninety minutes, to be precise. I don't think I have ever endured an appointment of that length before. It was a wild whirlwind.
A ninety minute long appointment for a chronic fatigue sufferer? Oh. the. irony.
It was well worth the while though. The physician provided me with answers and a few treatment options to consider that no other doctor has given me. I was really pleased with his professionalism for five reasons:
#1. He "got it" (unlike some other douche bag doctor I saw the other week). Holy hallelujah. Praise the Lord for doctors who "get it". He understood exactly why I am completely capable of managing something one day and how I can be utterly smashed the next.
He acknowledged that people with chronic fatigue syndrome run on half-empty tanks, everyday. Sleep doesn't replenish our energy supply like it should and because of our limited supply, we have to make priorities and sacrifices.
#2. He was positive, helpful and yet realistic at the same time. He understood that in order for me to get moving and exercising more, the fibromyalgia and arthritis pain needs to be managed better. For now, I'm to pop some panadol regularly on top of all my other pain meds to see if that helps, otherwise we will look at some other options for pain management.
Even though chronic fatigue is a baffling condition which still remains a widely misunderstood medical condition; he was pretty positive. He gave me a good prognosis. Remission is possible. Apparently people my age have the best chance of beating this monster. Bring it.
#3. He made recommendations. Mostly I've just been handed a whole heap of drugs and have just had to deal with it. When it came to the issue of exercise, doctors never quite knew what I should do and where to send me. This physician suggested I see an exercise physiologist and actually recommended one and handed me their contact details.
I'll be given a tailored exercise plan from someone who is trained in dealing with people who live with fatigue, fibromyalgia and arthritis. The physician also recommended that I give vitamin B12 injections a try to help boost my energy levels so that I can tolerate exercise better. Genius, right?
#4. He liked my nail art. He thought they looked "spectacular". Yep, a doctor who gives compliments is a good one, huh?
#5. He bulked billed! I was expecting this whopping great bill... didn't even have to pay a cent. Doctors who bulk-bill are definitely blog worthy. I may have bought a pretty top and some nail polish to celebrate. Shhhhh.
Unfortunately he didn't have any answers on the back pain saga, so it's back to the rheumatologist to deal with that dilemma but as an added bonus and to my surprise, I now even know a little about why I became ill in the first place.
As we were running through my history and sifting through all the symptoms both my mumma and I mentioned that we both noticed that everything seemed to go wrong after I had my wisdom teeth removed.
I had a terrible time recovering and it was like I never fully recovered, and then everything just went downhill from there- I started to tire easily, I got recurring bladder infections. And the next thing I knew, I was struck down by a virus and *boom* all the symptoms that I'm suffering from now suddenly emerged.
According to this physician, having my wisdom teeth removed accounts for my ills. He said he doesn't know why but he has seen several patients who, prior to having their wisdom teeth out have been fit and healthy but since surgery have been battling fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
And the weird thing? Doctors have only seen it happen after wisdom teeth removal, and not with any other surgery. They are thinking that it has something to do with the anesthetic used, but they cannot explain why it only happens to a select few.
Why oh why do I have to be one of the rare ones?
Am I wishing I didn't have to have my wisdom teeth removed? You betcha. But at least I have some sort of explanation and reasoning as to why I got sick.
It doesn't explain and account for everything like the arthritis, but my gp raised a good point. She agrees with the wisdom teeth theory but she believes that because of family history, I had underlying inflammation to begin with and my wisdom teeth removal caused it to surface.
Uh-huh, that makes sense!
Ahhh. Validation. I can't even find the words to explain how that feels. I've spent the past five years accepting that I may never know the how, the what and the why. I feel like I can finally move on from those haunting questions, and I feel free for the first time.
I was extremely happy with the outcome of this appointment. I didn't fall into the pit of doom and gloom like I have after other specialist appointments. I left with a glimmer of hope.
It was the first appointment I have ever walked out of feeling hopeful and excited about the future. I'm not doing cartwheels and back flips just yet but I am trying to stay positive and realistic at the same time. I am choosing to hope. I am holding onto hope.
Hope is dawning.