Monday, February 15, 2016

The First Signs of my Dystonia

When my son turned one, I decided to look for a job and started working full time at a kitchen and bath showroom as a designer and salesperson. On my first day I had to leave because I was sick. I went home and was vomiting for two days. We had put Micha in daycare and I figured I'd just had picked up a virus from him. Four weeks later I was sick again with a cold. I felt like all of my energy was drained and all of my symptoms were getting worse. My left ear would turn bright red and get very hot and I would also get ringing in that ear. Of course I went to  a ENT specialist and  they found nothing. I ended up calling off of work quite often and the stress was really getting to me and causing friction at home. I went to the emergency room at least three times after work because I felt so ill and was having a hard time swallowing and breathing. They said it was an anxiety attack. 

I finally went to an immunologist and after a series of bloodwork. I was diagnosed with selective IGA deficiency. A normal average number is about thirteen and mine was one. My immune system was shot and unable to fight off any form of virus or infections. I was treated with pneumovax which is a pneumonia vaccine that would reboot my immune system. The vaccine took a while to kick in but eventually I stopped getting sick so often but my neck pain and fatigue did not go away. After 8 months at this job I had a night where I felt completely panic stricken and could not sleep. This turned into weeks of total insomnia which I have never experienced before in my life. I literally did not sleep for 3 weeks and thought I was losing my mind. I lost 8 pounds in one week. I was worried sick and felt like I was dying. One night I came downstairs at midnight and told my husband I was going to get help. I drove myself to the Western Psychiatric Hospital where I waited 8 hours to be admitted. I was so scared and so sick. I could hear people screaming in the emergency room. They put me in a private waiting area with a bucket that I could vomit into until I could be admitted. I was taken upstairs to the trauma unit where I was asked remove all of my clothes and hand over all of my personal belongings. You have to sign a form acknowledging that you will not be released until the doctors say that you are able to go home. I could not stop shaking. 

Over the next few days I was evaluated and diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. (When I was 12 years old I came home one day to find my father after my mother had shot him 5 times. Thankfully, my father survived and that's an entirely different story that I will write about some day.) I had already gone through many months of therapy to sort through the PTSD years ago. I kept telling the doctors that I would feel physical symptoms like nausea or trouble swallowing or losing hearing or ringing in my left ear and then I would panic.The doctors said that most childhood traumas don't show up until adulthood so it seemed to make sense at the time. I spent eight days in the hospital and then had to do three months of intensive outpatient therapy. I was also given medication for anxiety and sleep. It was truly a nightmare. When you come home from a mental institution everyone treats you differently and I was forever changed by that stay.

To be Continued...