I’m a bit scared to be writing this, but you all have been following my health journey and been so supportive so I’ll be sharing my first diagnosis. This post won’t be all bad though, since I’m sharing some crazy exciting news about my future!
So where I left you all on my health update, I was about to get blood work scheduled by my GI. Thank god he came into my life at the right time since he is a genius. I had a specific GI doctor that I wanted to see, but I knew I had to get into one ASAP so I had the office schedule it with whoever could see me first. I honestly didn’t know what to expect of him, but when he walked in I knew he was the perfect doctor for me. Over the course of these health issues, I really feel like I have created the perfect medical team which makes me feel great. It’s such a blessing to know that you have doctors that genuinely care about you and your health; and will do anything in their power to help you feel better.
Back to the test results, I had to go to three different offices for different tests, which took about a week in itself. After all of the tests were finished, it took about a week and a half to get them back. On Friday, March 9th, I woke up to a call from my GI about some of my tests. He got some blood-work back and it showed that my tuberculosis test came back positive. *cue inner freak out* It’s safe to say I was a little freaked out since tuberculosis is very rare, and very serious. The funny thing though is that I wasn’t having an respiratory issues, but my symptoms matched up with everything else. My GI called my PCP and she scheduled me for an X-ray that same today to see where the tuberculosis was in my body. If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember my “Forever OOTD” on my story in the medical gown. I knew my GI cared for me when I heard from my PCP that he was checking for my results off work and called me before he got to work.
I got my X-ray done and then I had to wait until Tuesday to get my results since that was my next appointment with my PCP. Over the weekend I rested, but I ended up in the hospital on Sunday. I felt very weak, nauseous, and I was having trouble breathing. I was put in a quarantine room which was a bit scary, but they checked my oxygen levels and everything looked okay. My ER doctor was incredibly rude, but the good news is that he was able to look over my X-ray results and he couldn’t see an active tuberculosis in it. That was great news because it means that my tuberculosis is considered latent, meaning that it’s also not contagious. I read a statistic that said nearly 1/4 people in the world have latent TB and they don’t even know it because they don’t have symptoms.
It’s pretty rare to have latent TB and to have symptoms from it, but since some of my symptoms matched up my doctors have reason to believe that it’s what is causing my sickness and pain. Since I do have symptoms, even though its latent, my doctors decided I needed to be treated for it. They often treat for latent TB to help patients not develop it in the future. The treatment is very difficult and harsh, and I quickly learned that. When I went in to see my PCP, she described my different treatment options with their pros and cons for over an hour.
We had to settle on a 9-month treatment because some of my other medications interfered with the other options. So for 9 months I will be taking a heavy antibiotic that is filtered through my liver. I have the risk of damaging my liver, developing jaundice, or hepatitis, so I have to get my liver tested every 4-6 weeks. I have to take vitamins and other supplements to combat some side effects since this medicine can affect areas of your body like your central nervous system. In all, I’m taking around 16 pills a day. Thankfully I’m staying hydrated since I have to drink so much water to take all of those pills haha!
I also cannot drink alcohol while I’m on this medication which is a bit of a bummer since I turn 21 in a week, meaning the year of my 21st birthday will be spent with no alcohol. But no big deal! My health is way more important than having a drink. My medication has some bad side effects like nausea and dizziness which is what I’m battling now. I can’t even ride in a car anymore without getting sick. My doctor said I should feel better in about a month after I start my medication, so I’m awaiting that date so much. I still feel the same as I have been and it’s going on 2 months now. I just hope I feel better on my actual birthday. I normally am so excited for my birthday every year, but it’s so hard to be excited when I’m still not feeling well. I was supposed to be in Mexico with my family this weekend but I had to cancel since I didn’t think I would be able to make it down there or enjoy it, since I can’t even get out of bed.
Since I’m still not feeling well, my GI is going to do a colonoscopy and an endoscopy next week. He wants to check everything out since I’m still having back pain and abdominal pain. He is thinking I might have Crohn’s disease. I have never had a regular GI tract, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
All of my sickness has made me very depressed, especially since I can’t get out of bed. Since I struggle from serious mental health issues, this has made everything ten times worse. I feel helpless, sick, I don’t have any self confidence, motivation, or energy. To combat that, I am seeing my therapist every week now. I’m seeing my psychiatrist a lot more regularly too. I’m going back to acupuncture weekly to help, since I had so much success during my first treatment. I’m very thankful that I have Captain since my service dog is coming in so helpful. He is trained to do deep pressure therapy which has helped when I’m feeling anxious. We’re also working on a task called grounding which will help when I get severely depressed. I’m also so thankful that I have a great boyfriend who has been able to take care of me and help when I can’t get out of bed. I seriously wouldn’t make it through without him. Although he likes to remain pretty anonymous, we have been together for 2.5 years and I don’t think he’s going anywhere! I’m so thankful he’s been patient with me when I feel like I can’t get out of bed to do anything fun.
So tldr; I have latent tuberculosis that I will be treated for. My treatment is 9 months and very hard on my body. I’m taking other medications and supplements to help the side effects (15 pills a day). I’m going to therapy and acupuncture every week and seeing my psychiatrist regularly. I have a colonoscopy and endoscopy this week to check for Crohn’s disease and to see if there is anything else going on. Captain’s main tasks that are coming in very useful right now are grounding and deep pressure therapy.
To switch this post over to some GREAT news…I will be moving back to Annapolis to my own space! If you read my college post I hinted at it a bit. The courses that I have left in my major are all online, so I won’t have to commute to College Park. I am SO excited to have my own apartment in a city that I love so much!
Our apartment is just darling and I can’t wait to share photos. It’s actually so close to my old house which is so funny to me. It’s a 3 bedroom but since it was built in the 60s (but recently renovated), the rooms are smaller than average. I’ll be able to have my own studio/office!!!!! It’s such a beautiful space and our apartment will be on the water. I cannot wait to share photos of it when we move in! Our apartment has a dog park and plenty of green space to walk Captain. We even live down the road from a dog beach and a dog park. I will miss our dog park outside of our current apartment, but I will keep up with our friends and their dogs.
I’m really excited to have my own ‘home’. When my parents got divorced right before I went to college, they moved out of our family home that I grew up in and sold it. Since I was going to college and living in a dorm, it didn’t affect me too much at the time, but now I’m really struggling with the concept of what my home is. My parents each live in different houses now with their significant others. I’m working through it in therapy – but I think that having my own apartment (not living with my parents) will help me develop the sense of home that I am missing. It’s so exciting for me that I was able to pick out my own space and I can make it mine. I signed my lease last weekend and I couldn’t wait to share the news with you all – but I wanted to do it in a blog post to explain everything.
We will be moving in May, after finals, and I’m counting down the days. For my birthday, my parents gave me money to dock my boat right across the creek so I will be able to use it all summer long. This was the greatest gift I could have asked for. With anxiety and depression, I try to do things that make me happy as much as I can, and boating is one of those! To any of my Annapolis friends reading this, please come boating with me this summer!
Our apartment search was tricky, tiring, and I had a lot of anxiety about it. Service Dogs are covered under the FHA, federal housing administration, and most major apartment buildings have to follow that if they own more than 4 units. We looked at renting homes, condos, and different apartment units before deciding that an apartment would be easiest for us to rent because they have to follow FHA. That essentially means that they have to allow service dogs and they waive a pet rent and pet deposit fee with a request for reasonable accommodation. Since I have PTSD (read more about it here) I was very concerned about finding a safe place to live. I feel safer in apartments that are guest access only, meaning you have to scan to get into the building and use the elevator. I also like the feeling of having two locks on my door. It seems a little bit crazy, but with my PTSD one of my major fears is how to be safe where I live because I was broken into in a house I was in before. I won’t get too much into it – but our new apartment is very safe and Captain is in training to learn commands such as ‘sweeping’ that will help me combat this!
So to sum everything up, I have exciting things coming but I’m just in a rut right now. I have hope knowing what’s to come but I’m really struggling right now. I’m hoping to start feeling better in a few weeks and everything will turn around. I’m still waiting on some tests so doctors could find more news, but for now I’m just being treated for latent tuberculosis. Thank you for sticking with me on my health updates and I’m excited to bring you new content!