Senior Veteran (female)
Join Date: Jan 2002
Re: Long time feeling down
Hi bigstan. I am sorry you have been feeling so crummy. I know it is frustrating when you cannot find out what is wrong.
I suggest you consider Lyme disease as a possibility. Lyme disease is a mutli-system bacterial infection caused from the bite of an infected tick. Many people are bitten by ticks without knowing it. They are tiny and inject a numbing agent so you cannot feel them on you.
Lyme disease can cause many seemingly unrelated symptoms. It is the second fastest growing infectious disease in the US after AIDS and the number one vector-borne disease in the US. It is in every state, yet little is being done to educate the public and the medical community about its seriousness and prevalence.
Below is a Lyme symptom list. You can have any combination of symptoms.
Unexplained fevers, sweats, chills, or flushing
Unexplained weight change--loss or gain
Fatigue, tiredness, poor stamina
Unexplained hair loss
Testicular pain/pelvic pain
Unexplained menstrual irregularity
Unexplained milk production: breast pain
Irritable bladder or bladder dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction or loss of libido
Change in bowel function-constipation, diarrhea
Chest pain or rib soreness
Shortness of breath, cough
Heart palpitations, pulse skips, heart block
Any history of a heart murmur or valve prolapse?
Joint pain or swelling
Stiffness of the joints, neck, or back
Muscle pain or cramps
Twitching of the face or other muscles
Neck creeks and cracks, neck stiffness, neck pain
Tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, shooting pains
Facial paralysis (Bell's Palsy)
Eyes/Vision: double, blurry, increased floaters, light sensitivity
Ears/Hearing: buzzing, ringing, ear pain, sound sensitivity
lncreased motion sickness, vertigo, poor balance
Confusion, difficulty in thinking
Difficulty with concentration, reading
Forgetfulness, poor short term memory
Disorientation: getting lost, going to wrong places
Difficulty with speech or writing
Mood swings, irritability, depression
Disturbed sleep-too much, too little, early awakening
Exaggerated symptoms or worse hangover from alcohol
When Lyme disease is a possibility, it is very important to see a knowledge-able doctor. No test is completely reliable, and results can vary by lab. Many doctors do not understand Lyme and treat with outdated protocols.
Besides Lyme, ticks can transmit several co-infections including Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis (HME & HGE), Bartonella, and Mycoplasma. It is estimated that 60% of people who have Lyme are co-infected. It may affect treatment choice and progress. It is important to be tested for these by a Lyme reputable lab such as IgeneX in Palo Alto, CA. To me it sounds like you may have Lyme and Babesiosis. If you need a doctor recommendation, let me know.
It is also important to learn as much as possible. I recommend reading Dr. Joseph Burrascano's 2005 Diagnostic Hints and Treatment Guidelines For Lyme and Other Tick Borne Illnesses. He is one of the top Lyme doctors in the country, and many Lyme doctors follow his protocols. I also recommend the book "Everything You Need To Know About Lyme Disease (2nd edition)" by Karen Vanderhoof-Forschner.
I also recommend having your thyroid tested. Ask to include the Free T3, Free T4 (besides the T3, T4) and thyroid antibody tests in addition to the normal panel. They are not usually done but are necessary for a comprehensive view. Even if your results are in the normal range, they may not be optimal for you.
Do not give up, you will find out what is wrong.