Thursday, March 24, 2016

I'm getting lost

Wow, things are really tough and confusing these days. It's like picking petals off a forget-me-not daisy... I'm healthy, I'm healthy not, I'm healthy, I'm healthy not....

For me to feel too weak and dizzy/light-headed to go to our community Purim feast, missing it for the first time *ever*, something is really wrong. I just don't know what. I also missed the reading of the "Megillat Esther" for and by women, which I go to every year. This is *not* me.


recent ones:
incredible weakness- uncharacteristic of me
decreased appetite

ongoing unsolved issues:
increased migraines over many months (about 5 a week now)
a chronic cough and chronic sore throat for three months

My recent blood tests are normal.

I feel that I am going crazy. Because I have had all the health problems I've had, this stuff could mean to me that something is seriously wrong with my health. The going crazy part is that nothing wrong can be pinpointed. Although I haven't done much in the way of diagnostic tests, just a few blood tests.
I don't want to go to a doctor to investigate without obvious clues. And which doctor? And what is the definition of "obvious clues"?

My GP: she will do obvious; blood tests and send me to someone else. Fairly useless.
Neurologist: he will focus on the migraines, sleeping problems, sleeping pill issues
Vitamin doctor- focus on adding more things to a vitamin/nutrient regimen

Then there are all the specialists, "non-conventional" medicine, (all the "-ists": reflexologists, accupuncturists, nutritionists, naturapaths (I know that's not an -ist...), it's a never ending list) valuable in their own specialty, but for me one big blur of "I can help you to feel better". They all have their own focus, and I generally don't go to any of them. You could literally go broke finding alternative specialties that help, maybe, for a while. It's not just the money, it's an outlook... go to another specialist and they know the tricks to help your life. I think that is why I haven't followed up much on these symptoms except for Dr. Litman, and I'm not sure if that is right for me, either. I can't stand putting stock in doctors. And none of the non-conventional stuff is covered by insurance, and it is all insanely expensive.

Thing is, I know how I feel when I am well, and this isn't it.

In short, there are a zillion ways to look at health issues. I have been to many specialists, and they all have something to add to health, but I am left with a question mark. I don't know what to do or who to go to. That's why I haven't gone to anyone. Well, except Dr. Litman the orthomolecular doctor (vitamin/nutrient supplements). I'm not even sure if what I am experiencing has to do with some of the stuff he has me on....

A few weeks ago Dr. Litman recommended that I take huge amounts of vitamin A in order to knock out the cough that I've had for three months. He said that it is highly effective against these coughs that seem to be going around the country this winter. So, OK, I did it. It was supposed to be for one week, a really high dose (50,000 units a day). Problem is that I wasn't really counting the days... I wound up taking it for two weeks instead of one. It is toxic at those levels. I started feeling really awful... not sick, but just not right. My head felt all cottony, and I was constantly dizzy. It was Robert who thought to ask if I have finished the vitamin A or not. Oops... I was slowly poisoning myself. Not a good idea. Good thing is that when you stop taking it, the symptoms go away. I'm much better now. There were a few days there, though, that I was really not good, and couldn't pinpoint what was going on. It was so bad that I had to go to bed all Shabbat two weeks ago. That's scary.
But, it was because of my not following directions strictly.

Those feelings went away a few days after stopping the high doses of vit A. Then the symptoms came back, like now, even though I'm not taking the extra vitamin A anymore. I am dizzy, light-headed, weak, fatigued. Chronic cough, chronic sore throat (which is very sore today).

It is so confusing. Am I healthy or not? I know it's not that black-and-white, especially not for me with my background. I am waiting this out because I don't want to go to doctors for something not clear or specific.

It's getting very depressing. I need to do something and I don't know what to do.
Of course I wonder if I am getting a brain tumor, or diabetes... we all jump to the scary stuff.

I am lost and confused, and not well, and don't know why.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear that you're not feeling well. I hope you figure it out and find a solution soon. As far as diabetes goes, it might not be a bad idea to ask your physician if you can have a glucose meter to check your blood glucose now and then. It would be one less thing to worry about.

    1. Last time I had a blood test while fasting (about 6 weeks ago), my sugar was a little high, but not diabetic. I just have to cut down on sugar, which I knew anyway.

  2. Did you try taking a pill for reflux (you mentioned that you might), just in case the cough is related to that? That turned out to be my issue during the summer of 2014, when I coughed so hard I 1) cracked a rib and 2) had what looked like asthma and 3) messed up by back for weeks. Whatever this is, I hope you get to the bottom of this very, very soon. Hugs.

    1. I have been experiencing heartburn occasionally, when I never used to. I don't know about trying reflux meds. guess it's worth a shot.

  3. Missed you in shul Sarah, and asked about you 'cause I know how much you like to go to these events. Sending you a hug. I think I'll write to your e-mail. Lots of love and hope you start having more energy again quickly.

  4. Have you had hormone count and check for vertigo? Hope it all passes and you feel better. Vitamin A for cough? I should try that.

  5. Gotta get to the bottom of this. To need a doc who is like a gate keeper. Wish I had good advice for you but I know that ultimately you'll find the right path. Shabbat shalom.

  6. could these darn sleeping pills be part of the problem?

    1. I believe the sleeping pills could be a large part of the migraine problem, but this recent bout of weakness, sore throat/coughing seems to me to be sitting on another system malfunction altogether.

  7. Hi Sarah, I think you really need to see you regular doctor and your neurologist as soon as possible. I know you don't want all the tests, but that might be what it takes to figure out what the problem is - and your regular doctor is the best one to do that. The neurologist should be able to help you deal with the migraines, as we discussed recently, and perhaps even with the sleeping pill issues. !רפואה שלמה

  8. I know you get lots and lots of "ideas". I have asthma and when I first started it the only symptom I had was coughing. Coughing and coughing and coughing. Asthma can sometimes be caused by reflux. All I know is that when I started using a ventolin inhaler the cough got under control. Lots of water also helps with the cough. In addition to the ventolin inhaler prn I also started an inhaler that contained a steroid which must be taken daily and takes a while to take effect (not at all like an oral steroid). I know it would be a doctor visit but if you could get the cough under control the sore throat will probably get better.

  9. Oh, and there is nothing that causes a headache more than coughing and coughing and coughing until your head feels like it will pop right off.

    1. I see your point... but the cough is very very slowly getting better- only in the evening now, and not *all* evening- and lighter in general. The migraines are, I think, from my sleep issues. I do think the cough will be getting better. It's just going very slowly.

  10. Hi Sara,

    So sorry to hear that things are so hard. You probably already know this but your symptoms all seem to point to a Vit A overdose. I just looked it up. You may also have low blood pressure as a result. The site said that the symptoms are temporary, but there might be complications. so as much as you hate to, any one of these symptoms should be
    reported right away to your doctor, the one who prescribed it in the first place, and didn't tell you about all the risks involved, or your family physician.
    Feel better soon and take care of yourself!


  11. If you are suffering from increased migraines over many months (about 5 a week now) maybe these are what is know as "cluster headaches." Ask your neurologist about cluster headaches.I suffered from cluster headaches for over 20 years until I discovered that one of the headache triggers is dairy products and the other trigger is season changes.
    Is it possible that your headaches are due to food allergy. Do a computer search of cluster headaches and see if the symptoms they describe resemble your headaches. There are treatments that can ease the pain and shorten the number of days they occur.

    Irwin Weintraub

    1. Thanks for your letter. I have heard of cluster headaches, but never looked into it until you mentioned it now. Unfortunately my neurologist is in miluim now (reserve duty), but I hope to get in to see him soon. My appointment is in May, but I know I can get in to see him sooner if I persist.

      Interesting about the food allergy- I learned the other day from a cancer patient who also suffered from migraines that a diet without flour *of any kind*, and without white potatoes, or any "night shades" (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers of all sorts) is what is recommended. So, the same day, I did a little research, and there is so much about migraines and food allergies on the net, it's daunting. Just don't eat! You'll eventually die, but you won't have headaches! ;}

      But I decided to go off flour and potatoes and nightshades. It's hard, but having these insane headaches is harder. We are also now in a season change, but I can't do anything about that.

      I *think* the diet is helping. But hard to actually have proof yet- it's been only one week, inconsistent, where I was pretty sick for a few days in the middle.

      I appreciate your advice.
      Do you still get migraines?

      All the best,

    2. Thanks for responding to my post. I don't get cluster headaches anymore because I eliminated dairy products entirely from my diet. They were the trigger for my headaches.
      Here is a URL that will give you some good information about cluster headaches. This should help you determine if your headaches are cluster headaches or regular migraines.

      I sent this link to your e-mail as well. I hope you will be able to open it.