2017 was an extremely busy year for both of us (Dan and me). I was writing my “Look Back” post and it got extremely long, so I needed to divide the year in half! You can find the first half of the year here: “Look Back part 1.” This post covers July through December 2017!
I followed up with my cardiologist, but had to see the nurse practitioner because his schedule was too full. I don’t like seeing NP’s for cardio because they can’t ever do anything for me. At least she talked to my doctor and then called me with how to change my medications.
I continued with my physical therapy, and had another appointment to finish with my silver ring splints.
My every-six-months appointment with my rheumatologist was in July, and we decided to try doing a cortisone injection into my right hip. It had been causing me a lot of pain for quite some time, so we were hoping that would help relieve some of the pain. The injection was in August, so I’ll talk more about it there.
Thankfully, July was not that busy medically.
Non-Medical & Dan
We got back from our vacation to California (I mention it in the June section of my previous post) on the 3rd, and I started the recovery process – there’s always a recovery process after every vacation.
Dan and I had a nice relaxing 4th of July at home, and then went to see the fireworks that get set off nearby. I posted about my 4th of July (USA’s Independence Day if you don’t know what I’m talking about) on my Instagram here.
Dan’s 10 year high school reunion was the 8th and 9th, so we drove up to Casper, WY to go see the school and his friends. They had rebuilt the high school, so it was brand new, and gave the reunion group a tour. It was really cool seeing a really fancy high school! (My high school was built in the 1950s or 60s and only designed for 1500 kids, when I attended it there were 4000 students and the school was pretty much the same as it was when it was built originally.) It was a fun weekend, but it was a lot of traveling so close together!
I also teamed up with Sally, my doTERRA mentor, to do a giveaway with wintergreen essential oil! I’ve experienced a lot of benefits from it, and it was the oil that made me realize oils did more than smell pretty. You can read more about the benefits of wintergreen essential oil in this post.
While July wasn’t that busy, August was exactly the opposite.
August 3rd I had the injection into my right hip. We had toyed with the idea for over a year because I had slipped and fallen in the shower and hit my hip and likely got bursitis, but I wanted to hold off as long as possible. After all of the SI joint problems (I talk about them more in part 1 of my look back), the pain in my right hip flared back up and just wouldn’t stop. My doctor was able to do it in his office, so I just showed up, got injected, and left in about 15 minutes time! It was excruciating and very difficult to do. Though, Dan’s face was kind of hilarious (read: sheer terror) when my doctor put the needle up to my hip right before injecting – Dan was a little freaked out by the size of the needle! Sadly, the injection was not very successful in reducing/eliminating my pain. We won’t be trying again. You can read a little more about why we won’t be trying again on this Instagram post.
Then, on August 7th, I had my much awaited genetics appointment! I had to wait 18 months to get in because they’re the only adult genetics clinic in the entire state, and they’re only open for appointments one day a week. But it was worth it! You can read more about the appointment here. (Definitely go read it because I got a diagnosis!)
At the end of the month, I also went to see a sleep specialist. My sleep is not restorative, and since my dad has obstructive sleep apnea, I wanted to make sure I didn’t have any sleep conditions. After listening to me, he said that I probably just have Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, but he ordered a home sleep study anyway. I did the sleep study in September, you can see my Instagram post about it here, and it showed I do not have sleep apnea. So, for now, I have a diagnosis of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (American Sleep Association article about it here). I may try to find a different sleep specialist at another time for further testing, but for now I am okay with this (the diagnosis does seem to fit pretty well).
I also followed up with my dietitian at the end of the month. I email her in between my appointments if I need to, but usually I’m doing alright. We didn’t change anything, really.
Dan & Non-Medical
Dan had to fly out to Florida for another launch, so he was gone from the 15th through the 18th. Then, on the 23rd, he started another semester of graduate school.
The total solar eclipse was on the 21st of August, so Dan and I drove up to Casper, WY on the 20th. Dan’s mom lives in Casper (it’s where he’s from) and it was one of the best viewing spots in the country due to weather and duration of totality. The eclipse was one of the absolute coolest things I have ever witnessed! You can see some of my photos and read more about out trip here (and how long it took us to get back, it was ridiculous). I also have two Instagram posts here and here.
On the 23rd, one of my childhood bffs happened to be nearby, so we met in Golden to hang out for a few hours. I also got to meet her daughter for the first time (she was 10 months old), which was a ton of fun!
Then, the 27th was my Colorado bff’s daughter’s first birthday party. It was so cute watching her enjoy a day totally dedicated to her! (Insta post with adorable photo here.)
It was a busy month…
I saw my cardiologist at the beginning of the month, and we adjusted my medications appropriately. My EKG was also normal, thankfully.
My at home sleep study was this month, but I talked about it in the August section (above).
Then, on the 19th, I got in to see a sports medicine doctor (orthopedic doctor that specializes in limbs and functional problems) to discuss the severe pain I have in my right elbow. I wasn’t expecting the pain to be complicated, but of course it was. I talk a little more about the appointment on this Instagram post, but this wasn’t the end of the story. He sent me to my neurologist to get another EMG, but I couldn’t get in for the exam until November 1st. (An EMG is a nerve conduction test.)
Despite all of the medical stuff that had been going on, I’d actually been having a relatively good several months (since our vacation). Dan and I decided to go up to the summit of Mt Evans (a 14,000 foot elevation mountain nearby) on the last weekend it was open. I talk a little bit about our adventure in this Instagram post, and write more about it in this blog post.
On the 12th, I got my hair redyed. I love dying my hair, and how it turned out on the 12th was amazing! When it faded, Dan and I actually bought the right hair dye to redo it 😉 (Dan is awesome!) You can see the professional dye job here, and how well Dan did redying it in November here.
On the 22nd, Dan and I drove up into the mountains to go look at some beautiful autumn trees! Even though it was a driving trip, we did a decent amount of walking, and my body held up really well! (I was so proud of it, haha.) You can see some photos from our trip and read more details here.
The 27th, we went and saw Michio Kaku speak at Dan’s school. It was an interesting talk, gave Dan and I a lot of interesting things to talk about over the next few days, but the lighting and seats were horrendous. I ended up in excruciating pain, and got slapped with a monster migraine. Thankfully, Dan drove, so I was able to take pain meds as soon as we got to the car and kept my eyes shut most of the way home (about a 45 minute drive).
October was Dysautonomia Awareness Month! I set myself a goal of doing a post every single day (alternating days between my blog and Instagram), but wasn’t able to do that thanks to getting horribly ill. You can read my blog posts for Dys Month here (I did manage to get in six posts). Here are my Instagram posts for Dys Month: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen.
I saw my cardiologist, and we didn’t have to change my medications! Yay!
On the 14th, we went to a corn maze with a group of our friends. Why isn’t this in “Non-Medical Stuff” you ask? It ended up being medical… On our way up to the corn maze, I started my period (and if you’re a menstruating chronic illness person, you know that periods can really mess with your illnesses), so that was not fun. I had killer nausea the entire day, but thankfully I also had a diffuser necklace with an oil on it that helps me with my nausea. When we got there, it was extremely windy and the wind was cold, thankfully it calmed down after we’d been there a while. The maze was very long, the ground was extremely uneven, and I ended up being extremely allergic to a weed that was growing everywhere. In short, my body got overwhelmed and I shut down. I describe the maze in more detail in this Instagram post, and my shut down in this post. I also wrote a blog post at the beginning of November where I go more into detail about what exactly my body did and why. This shut down is why my Dys Month blog posts didn’t go as planned.
Then, on the 18th, I ended up in the ER. My arm pain was through the roof, and I was screaming and crying and literally seeing stars. I called my husband, and he came and took me to the ER. While we were there, he looked at that pain scale chart that has the faces on it and went “based on your face, I’d say you’re about here” and pointed between 9 and 10. Yup, that’s how bad it was! (Anyone that has chronic pain conditions knows you almost never look like you’re in as much pain as you actually, so I was in a ridiculous amount of pain.) They tried to do absolutely nothing for me, but I made them give me something to help calm down my nerves. They begrudgingly gave me a shot of toradol and some phenergan and sent me home. It took my pain from a 10 down to about a 7, so I took more medication at home and just stayed as still as possible the rest of the evening.
The rest of the month was going to plan, and was calmer, until the 29th. I had barely nicked myself with a knife when I was cooking (one of those you don’t noticed until you get soap in it when you’re washing your hands). As it was scabbing over, it started itching relentlessly, on the entire thumb area. I then noticed a pink streak following my vein down from the cut and I sent a photo to my friend (and posted it on my Instagram story), and was ambushed by “GET TO THE DOCTOR RIGHT THIS SECOND” messages! Thankfully, I listened and my husband took me to urgent care. When we were there, the doctor said “since it appears to be local, I think we can get away with oral antibiotics.” Dan and I were dumbfounded. It turned out to be lymphangitis, and had I waited any longer I would have needed to be on IV antibiotics (and probably admitted). A picture of my thumb and a little more detail are in this post.
Dan & Non-Medical Stuff
Turned out, the class this semester was extremely difficult, and poor Dan was also being overwhelmed at work. He was having to work about 60 hours a week, then he was having to spend at least 20 hours a week on his homework and projects. Needless to say, he was not sleeping anywhere near enough. This lasted until the end of the semester (in December).
We had wasps in our fireplace again (it happened last year too), so we had an exterminator come out. Thankfully, they haven’t been back since and we’ve been able to enjoy several fires without having to worry about being attacked by wasps.
There was a lighting for Dysautonomia Awareness Month in downtown Denver (it’s in this Instagram post) that we went to. It was very cold, but also a lot of fun to see the turquoise building and such a huge group of supporters!
Then, my Colorado bff had her annual Halloween party on the 27th! That’s actually when I nicked myself with the knife – I was cooking some frittatas for the party and got myself when chopping the veggies. It was a lot of fun. Dan went as Clark Kent, and I was a witch. You can see our Halloween Day version of the costumes in this Instagram post (Dan’s didn’t change, I changed my witch up a bit for Halloween from black/purple to black/orange.) I would post the group picture from the party, but since there are so many people in it and some children, I don’t want to do that and invade anyone’s privacy.
November 1st I finally got the EMG of my right arm. I have had bad pain in my right arm for about two years ago (my first EMG was in March 2016, but I’d had pain longer than that). Sadly, it was still 100% normal. I mean, normal is good in that I don’t have any damage to the nerves in my arm, but it also meant I was having severe nerve pain for no reason. I followed up with the sports medicine doctor, and he pretty much said “I can’t help you, bye.” I did make him xray it, but it was also totally normal. So here I was, with absolutely excruciating nerve pain, and everyone saying “your arm is normal, sorry.”
I went back to my neurologist at the end of the month, and we talked about things. He said he knew of a person nearby that did ultrasounds of nerves (apparently, this is a very rare thing) and he sent a referral over. I will talk more about this in December, because that’s when the ultrasound happened.
I saw my dietitian, and we decided not to change anything. She was concerned that I’d randomly started having diarrhea for over a month (not to the point of being dangerously dehydrated, just frustrating), since I have severe IBS-C and have almost never had diarrhea outside of being sick. So she told me to stick with my diet, but to add in Florastor until the diarrhea stopped. If the Florastor didn’t help, I was going to have to try low FODMAP again, but thankfully the Florastor stopped things before it came to diet changes.
I also had a PCP appointment at the very end of the month to go over everything and make sure nothing new needed to happen. She was completely stumped by my arm, too. Though, she wasn’t concerned about my fluid intake with the dysautonomia and it being Colorado – apparently she drinks about six liters a day and she doesn’t have dysautonomia.
I wrote a blog post explaining more about my eosinophilic esophagitis because I had a flare in November. It’s a rare condition, and one that most people struggle to understand. Please check out my post, here!
On November 1st, I paired up with a fantastic shop (The Curated Carrot – not sponsored) to do another giveaway! The shop contributed a tassel diffuser necklace, and I contributed a bottle of Balance essential oil. The giveaway ran for two weeks, and I had over 400 entries! It was a huge success and I was super excited to send the prize off to the winner. Thank you to everyone who participated. (If you want to see the info about the giveaway, you can check out this post – the giveaway is very over though hehe.)
I also participated in another giveaway on Instagram with strongerthanpots to celebrate her hitting ten thousand followers. I contributed a bottle of Wild Orange essential oil, and loved helping her celebrate such a huge milestone. She runs an amazing account, and you should totally go check it out! (I’m not getting anything for it, she’s just one of my favorite chronic illness accounts.)
Dan and I also went to go see one of the temporary exhibits at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We have a membership and absolutely love going whenever we can! You can see my Instagram post about the trip here. Hopefully, we’ll be able to go again soon!
The last week of the month, we went to California to visit my family. It was the first Thanksgiving without any of my grandparents (Grampa died shortly after we came back home in July, Grama died in 2016, and Gram died in 2013), so it was rough. Even though it was small, it was still a lot of fun. One of the days we were in California, my sister, Dan, and I went up to Oak Glenn. Oak Glenn is a small town in the mountains that is full of apple orchards and fun orchard related things to do. We’ve been visiting (not every single year, but frequently) since my sister and I were absolutely tiny, and my dad’s been going up there occasionally since he was a child. Some photos from Oak Glenn and our Thanksgiving dinner are available on this Instagram post. We got back home late on the 26th of November.
Thankfully, December was a little more relaxed on the medical side of things. I had a few of my standard follow-up appointments with my specialists, and kept going to my physical therapy and the Pilates group classes (when able).
On December 22nd, I had the ultrasound of the nerve in my arm! Since the doctor was the one performing the ultrasound, I got results the second he was done! I haven’t posted a write up on either the blog or on Instagram yet (though I highlighted a story on my Instagram with a summary), as I’m waiting to do an official write-up after a follow-up appointment with my neurologist. The nerve ultrasound doctor confirmed that I have carpal tunnel in my right wrist, which I’ve suspected since I was 14 years old (but confirmation is nice). I only rarely get symptoms, thankfully, and I already have all the braces I need to deal with them when they flare up. He also discovered the likely cause of my pain! The nerve itself is fine (specifically the ulnar nerve), however, my triceps muscle attaches further into the nerve channel than most people. Because of this, we suspect that I’ve had chronic tendinitis in my elbow, and that the inflamed tendon pinches the nerve and causes me pain. I’ll know more when I see my neurologist for my follow-up.
Once again, I saw my cardiologist and we decided not to change my medications because I’m not having any hypertension (at least, not sustained) and my heart rate is doing much better. I do periodically have hypotension, but I’m working on that and it’s much safer than hypertension.
Dan & Non-Medical Stuff
The ULA company holiday party was on the 2nd of December, and we really enjoyed it. The party took place in the Broncos (Colorado’s NFL team) training center, on their training field. No, the Broncos weren’t there. It was a fun place and there were some football related game stations set up around (throw a football, kick a field goal, etc). I was wearing very much the wrong shoes for the field goal kicking and missed horribly both times I tried, haha, but Dan was able to make it! After visiting, we accompanied another couple that we’re friends with to Cold Stone for some ice cream. Exhausting, but a fun night.
Dan’s birthday was on the 4th of December, and we celebrated the Sunday before. I got him some games (one my mom picked out) and so we played a game, ate a Lizz-safe (gluten and corn free) cake that I made, and just hung out a bit. It was relaxing and fun.
Dan finished his class for the semester on 9th! He ended up making an A in the class, meaning his GPA for grad school so far is a 4.0 (out of 4.0)! I’m so proud of him! Hopefully, this coming semester will be easier on him than last semester was.
The 15th of December was out 9th dating anniversary! I can’t even wrap my head around the fact we’ve been together for nine years now! To celebrate, Dan took the day off work so we could do things! At 11:30am, we went to see the new Star Wars movie (wahoo!) and it was amazing – I won’t post anything else so I don’t spoil it. Then, that evening we went to the Denver Botanic Gardens for Blossoms of Light. Blossoms of Light is an amazing holiday light display throughout 90% of the botanic gardens, it was our first year and it will not be our last! I did use my chair, which let me enjoy it more, and we had a lot of fun. Oddly enough, our very first date on December 15, 2008 we went to see a movie and then drove around looking at Christmas lights. Photos from the Blossoms of Light event (and my outfit for Star Wars) are in this Instagram post – don’t worry, all of the pictures are still and don’t have any flashing lights in them.
Work was still ridiculous for him right up until his winter break. Each year, the company closes down for the week from Christmas to New Year’s. It is always great to have him around for a week, and it was great to see him relax and get caught up on some sleep.
On the 22nd we had Christmas dinner with my father-in-law, his girlfriend, my sister-in-law and her boyfriend, and my brother-in-law. It was a lot of fun! I had a cold earlier though, and pushed myself too hard and relapsed the next day. Then I did the same thing to myself on Christmas Eve (the 24th) because I like to make holiday dinners and so we made a full holiday meal for the two of us. Christmas was nice and relaxed though. Then the 26th Dan spent most of the day moving about 1/2 of our belongings into our garage because on the 27th we had a dry wall crew coming over! Our Christmas picture and my “happy holidays” blog post.
Our ceilings have been a disgusting popcorn ceiling – I have nothing against the popcorn texturing, but this were filthy and had been painted over a dozen times and just looked horrid – since we moved in four years ago. We finally had a chance and the funds to get them taken care of! So on the 27th, we spent all day with the kitties in our utility room while the dry wall company scraped all the popcorn off upstairs (Dan got it all downstairs) and re-textured it to match our walls! The fumes made me really sick, but thankfully that’s clearing up.
After it dried, we were able to paint the ceilings in the office and our bedroom. As I type this (on January 7th), Dan is painting the rest of the house because my physical therapist told me not to paint ceilings anymore because I dislocated my rib again and screwed up my shoulders. I’m so excited to have out ceilings finally done!
New Year’s was nice and relaxing. We were supposed to go to a friends’ house for games and to kick off the year, but I was still very sick from the ceilings so we stayed home. It was great though, because we just hung out, watched TV (there was a Twilight Zone marathon! then we switched to New Year’s Rockin Eve for the countdown and ball drop), and toasted with Martinelli’s sparkling cider (non-alcoholic). When Dan and I cheered “Happy New Year!” Mikki, our Russian Blue, yowled at the top of her lungs like she was celebrating too! It was absolutely adorable ❤ Happy New Year from all of us!
Phew… 2017 was such a busy year! Thank you so much for joining me on this (sometimes ridiculous) journey that is life with multiple chronic illnesses! 2017 came with a lot of firsts, several diagnoses, a bunch of drama, some of the best health months I’ve had in four years, and some of the worst health stuff I’ve dealt with too! Hopefully, 2018 will be a little more relaxed, but somehow I doubt it 😉
Have a wonderful 2018 and thank you again for following my journey!