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Monday, August 6, 2012

My GI System Hates Me - Part Five: The Conclusion and My Medical Update!

If you want to know more of what I'm talking about, check out the rest of "My GI System Hates Me"

So last week, I left off where I was about to get all of my blood work done and my CT scan.

You should know one thing about me.. I have always been terrified of needles and blood. Notice I used past tense - that's because this year I went from never having had a blood test, to having so many that I don't know what's left running through my veins. 

I'm also known as a fainter, apparently. You see, my first blood test, I finished and though "phew.. that was easier than I thought" and proudly beamed at my Mum and sister because I was so happy with myself for not freaking out. My sister had to get her monthly blood test done and while I waited for her I started to feel really ill. My head started buzzing and all of a sudden I felt really sick (apparently I also went white as a sheet) and I was quickly made to lay down before I passed out. Poor Katrina was in the middle of her blood test when the blood nurse said to her "um.. one second.. I really need to help your sister..". It's a bit embarrassing when you're younger sister is a-okay and you're passing out.

I survived my first blood test and went home for the rest of the day feeling incredibly woozy and drained and now every other blood test I have, I'm made to lay down for 15 minutes afterwards so we don't have a repeat performance. 

The blood test I got for my new doctor involved a lot of tests - meaning it involved a lot of blood. Nine vials, to be exact. Let's just say I was glad to be laying down when five minutes in I started to get really woozy. I might sound like a major wuss, but being hypoglycemic and fasting is enough trouble even before you add in blood loss :P  

After the blood test was over, I did my usual laying-down-while-Katrina-has-her-date-with-a-vampire routine and we were on our way back home. The results for some of the tests were going to take a week or so, so we would have to wait for answers - and get the CT scan in the meantime. 

The CT scan was a piece of cake. No contrast injection was needed (much to my needle-phobic delight!). Awkwardly the lady doing the CT was overly complimenting and decided to tell me how beautiful I was whilst strapping my chin into the machine (thank goodness they don't have mirrors). 

My brains fabulous photo shoot was over in a few minutes and we then just had to wait to pick up the films. To the untrained eye, my brain just looked like a squishy little ugly thing with thankfully no big lumps that looked nasty, but we had to wait to find out what the results were from the doctor. 

We went back to the doctor, CT films in hand and she had all of the results from the tests. She started to go through the blood work and let me know what the results meant - if they were normal/abnormal/slightly above or below. 

My iron stores had dropped significantly, despite my increased iron supplement - due to my poor absorption with all of my stomach issues and my cortisol levels were slightly higher than usual. 

"There's a reason for this level to be higher... it's just.. yes... yes... on the last page here" said the doctor. This is where my brain starts thinking "Cortisol.. what's cortisol.. cortisone... it's a steriod.. no wait, cortisol is the stress hormone... why is it high?... listen Kristy!". The worst thing to do to someone waiting for answers is to leave them in suspense! 

We got to the last page of results to find out.. I have glandular fever/mono/mononucleosis/the kissing disease. I've had it for quite some time and it's still current in my system. The doctor thinks my system has been attacked differently than usual in that I don't have any flu-like symptoms. Instead the glandular fever is just draining me of any energy. Because of this, she wants to keep monitoring me to make sure the glandular fever doesn't develop into ME/chronic fatigue syndrome which I'm at a high risk of developing. 

My CT scan came back with a jumble of medical terms that sounded horrific and I promised myself I wouldn't google them so as to not freak myself out. There were words like nodules, inflammation, blah blah blah.. We booked an appointment with an ENT (Ear Nose and Throat Specialist) and thankfully we were able to get in the next week!

We got to the ENT's rooms and handed over the pages and pages of my CT report. "Well Kristy.... if you look at this... you'd think you're going to die..." 

Say what?

"But don't worry, if everyone listened to these results.. they'd think they were going to die too - and everyone would be in for multiple surgeries"


He asked about my symptoms, checked out my nose and told me that, whilst he wasn't sure of the cause of all of the inflammation with my sinuses - I definitely did not need surgery at the moment and I definitely was not going to die.  

He sent me off to get an allergy prick test or scratch test to see if there weren't any environmental factors causing the inflammation.

They placed 20 drops of allergens on my skin - things like cats, dogs, house dust, horses, grass, pollen etc and then they pricked my skin 20 times in a row with a needle to see if there was a reaction.

Well, there was most definitely a reaction from me because prick after prick after stab after stab hurts. I then had to sit with my arm out for 20 minutes while we waited to see if there was a reaction.

After twenty minutes, my arm still looked the same as you see in the picture - no reaction. I was super relieved, but the only downfall was that I couldn't tell Jesse we couldn't have a cat because I was allergic oh snap. But that's okay, I have a million and one other reasons!

 So what now? Now I just have to deal with what I know - 
  •  the gluten free diet stays - forever. 
  • avoiding food intolerance is a must - for now, until my stomach has time to heal itself and can hopefully tolerate more foods. 
  • the sinus troubles don't bother me much at all, except for a slight stuffy nose in the mornings some times. 
  • the fatigue is just something I have to deal with - for now (I have become the queen of power naps, even though they do nothing for my physical fatigue, it's more of a help with mental fatigue and gives me a chance to re-focus)
 The doctor is going to monitor my glandular fever/mono and fatigue for the next year or so, re-testing me in a few months to see if it's still present - and if I'm still feeling terribly fatigued, she's going to do some further investigation. 

 Most of all, after 2-3 years of having no answers, I'm relieved to have some. Sure, there were more answers than I anticipated - but it's so nice to know that I'm not crazy or completely bonkers and that there's actually reasons for how I'm feeling. 

Now I just have to keep busy and forget that I have any problems! Because, afterall, how are you ever going to get anything done if you lay around woefully in your sick bed?!

So tell me, have you ever had mono/glandular fever? 



  1. I'm so sorry to hear that you have mono/glandular fever and your health issues! :(

  2. O... M... G ... you poor thing!!

    You'll beat it though :)
    I hate needles and blood tests too... luckily my Mum is a nurse, so she has been able to prick me... but still i HATE it! x

    1. Oh that is so lucky, my mum just holds my hand haha :P

      I can't look at her face though because she cringes and makes it seem so much worse :P

  3. So glad you've got the answers now and can work on healing. :)

  4. I feel for you, because I'm going through very much of the same thing...Did your doctors tell you how to fight the fatigue that's being causes by the mono virus in your system? (My doctor just told me that I used to have the virus, but not anymore...and then did not offer any help on my complete and utter lack of energy...oh and he doesn't believe in adrenal fatigue!)


    1. Hi Sophie,
      My doctor didn't tell me how to fight the fatigue, just that it's something I will have to deal with for the moment. She did suggest that small amounts of light exercise could be helpful and told me that I needed to rest often, stress less and eat well.

      A lot of doctors don't believe in adrenal fatigue because it's one of those things that hasn't been 100% proven and can often be mistaken for anxiety. The reason why they've said that I have adrenal fatigue is because my adrenal glands show signs of significant damage and I also get the same symptoms when I'm excited or exercise as I do with the adrenaline from stress.

      Hopefully you can find a doctor who can help you out and get you feeling better! Definitely seek out a second opinion - if I hadn't I'd still be thinking I was going crazy!

      If you ever need someone to vent to or chat to (who knows what you're talking about) send me an email!

  5. thanks for the reply :) thanks so much! (and i might take you up on your offer for someone to vent to!) <3


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