Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The mystery of the dilated pupils {part 2}

Not up to date on the dilated pupils saga? You can catch up here.
Sometimes doctors are idiots. So sometimes while I'm at an appointment I like to dream about punching them in the face and slashing their tires all while I keep my cool and act polite.

The mystery of the dilated pupils has been solved. Well, kind of...
 
Last year I had my first appointment with an opthamologist since being prescribed Plaquenil and Humira. It was necessary to make sure that the symptoms I was experiencing were not due to extremely rare problems like hydroxychloroquine retinopathy, neuropathy, and optic neuritis; conditions which although unlikely, can be caused by my medications. Aside from all the issues I was having with a pressure like pain behind my eyes at the time, my GP wanted my markedly dilated pupils assessed. I was really interested to see what this opthamologist thought too, as my pupils were completely normal before I became ill and had to start living on a smorgasbord of pills.
 
The results for every eye test came back normal as I kind of expected. But still, it was a relief to hear it. My GP was almost certain that the pain and weird vision episodes were all part of a sinus infection, however, this opthamologist didn't seemed to think so. He did question whether I had a migraine but then decided on doubting it, telling me that my symptoms didn't really fit with anything. I got the feeling he didn't believe me.
 
As for the size of my pupils he couldn't deny that they are enormous. Many doctors have commented. Medically though, there's nothing wrong with them. My pupils are just like everyone's- they react to light. If I go outside they shrink back to a normal size. If you shine a bright light in my eyes, my pupils constrict. It's indoors (especially dimly lit places) when the size of them looks worrying. They expand like a balloon. So much so that I'm sometimes paranoid about them.
 
I worry that people will notice and start making assumptions. I worry that people will think that I'm on drugs (well I am...just the legal kind). And thanks to my hilarious GP who jokingly advised me not to get too close to boys because they will think I am interested in them (your pupils dilate when you are aroused), I'm now paranoid that men will think I fancy them! Wonderful.
 
It really doesn't help when your sibling makes a point of it, exclaiming:
"HOLY CRAP, LOOK AT YOUR EYES! YOU LOOK LIKE YOU'RE ON SPEED!"
 
I'm really glad there isn't a worrying medical reason for it. What I'm not happy about is the opthamologist's opinion of why they are so large. He compared me to Alice in Wonderland, happily exclaiming "Your pupils are so big because you're just anxious."
 
Well you're just an idiot.
 
Listen, buddy. I've had anxiety since I started high school and I've never had an issue with monster pupils. Besides, I am not anxious all the time, and as I've gotten older my anxiety has gotten better. Compared to my mild case, there are so many people struggling with much greater and debilitating anxiety; and they don't have huge pupils. So no, anxiety doesn't explain this. I know my body and I know that the size of my pupils changed when I started popping copious amounts of pills.
 
Why do doctors blame everything on anxiety when they don't have all the facts? This dude took one look at my referral, saw that I had Fibromyalgia along with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and started making assumptions. It really grinds my gears when people just palm these illnesses off as mere anxiety. Just because they can't find something wrong with you in their area of expertise, doesn't mean that there isn't anything wrong.
 
Doctors can be irritatingly narrow-minded.
 
I got the feeling that he got a real kick out of diagnosing me with "anxiety", his self-satisfied smile said it all. What a doosh. I felt that he treated me like a crazy, lying hypochondriac idiot. I felt like saying to him: What would you know? You're just an opthamologist. You don't know a thing about me or about the chronic pain conditions I live with and the issues they create.
 
I left that appointment upset and a little frustrated. I was glad that I had eye problems ruled out but I was also disappointed that I didn't have anything concrete to explain my pain. I was upset because I had a gut feeling that there was something more to this pain than anxiety. If the eye pain didn't turn out to be related to my GP's suspicions, I knew that I would need to seek another opinion- and I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to go from doctor to doctor only to come out feeling more frustrated and more hopeless in the search of an answer that I may never find.
 
The sinus pain did eventually run it's course, but the pain and pressure behind my eyes has haunted me ever since. I tried ignoring it, which worked quite well for a while and I was happy enough to just grin and bear it. That was until the beginning of this year when the strong throbbing sinus pain returned, and the eye pain and pressure increased. I was forced to seek help because the pain became too unmanageable. Now the mystery of the dilated pupils has turned into solving the headache from hell. Since January I've been struggling with constant facial pain. Teeth pain, eye pain, head pain, sinus pain- the works. I've been on a merry-go-round ride visiting different doctors and not really getting anywhere, just going around in circles.
 
Aside from a new drug that has helped take the edge off the pain, over a year since all this facial pain started, all I have is "I think you're just grinding your teeth, are you stressed?" SERIOUSLY?! But that's a story for another post. At least the mystery of the dilated pupils is kind of solved and I now know that their size isn't a concern. I have that to be thankful for.
 
I am convinced that my medications are causing my pupils to dilate. All you have to do is Google 'medications and dilated pupils' to know that there's truth to it. I don't like the fact that I have bulging, cartoon like pupils. I really don't. But I can't change it. I'd much rather have freaky looking pupils than unmanageable widespread musculoskeletal pain. So all I can do is accept it, try not to care what people think, and hope that people will be too distracted by my awesomeness to notice.
 
 
 
    

2 comments:

C.M. said...

Have you looked into Dysautonomia as a cause? It certainly can lead to pupil dilation. When I was diagnosed with POTS at the Mayo Clinic the literature they gave me said a lot of people with POTS are misdiagnosed as having chronic fatigue. If you want to learn more about it, Dinet.org is a good website.

Miss Chronically Creative said...

I have researched Dysautonomia a little before just out of curiosity and I do remember reading that it is commonly misdiagnosed as CFS. I'm pretty certain that I don't come under that umbrella- I read quite a few blogs on the illness and I just don't think my symptoms fit. I have an appointment with an integrative GP soon, it will be good to get another opinion and get their take on things. Thank you for the information, it's very thoughtful of you. Certainly interesting stuff.

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