My symptoms started in August 2011
. Upon waking I would feel as though I was dazed with brain fog like symptoms. These feelings would subside within a couple of hours. It was a feeling like I was still half asleep.
As the weeks and months went by these symptoms gradually got worse and upon waking I would feel lightheaded/dizzy and it would take longer for the symptoms to subside. It felt like the fist cigarette of the day or blowing up a balloon too fast.
I visited my GP (September 2011)
who said it was vertigo and not to worry. After some research of my own the diagnosis of vertigo was incorrect as my dizziness was never rotational/spinning in nature. The symptoms continued to get worse and would be present 24/7 although still worse upon the first few hours of waking. I would feel jittery and shaky like Iíd had too much caffeine and also experience severe nausea although I never actually vomited. I felt severely fatigued and would not be able to concentrate.
I visited my GP again (October 2011)
and was told I may have an inner ear infection and was prescribed betahistine and prochlorperazine for the nausea. I also had blood tests to check my thyroid function and, Iím guessing, a host of other things. My GP told me the symptoms should get better in a few weeks, they did not. The bethistine did nothing but the prochlorperazine was a great help for the nausea and the bloods came back normal.
Again, I went back to my GP (October 2011)
who sent me to an ENT specialist. As the weeks went by waiting for the appointment I started to have daily anxiety and panic attacks because of how I was feeling. It was relentless, everyday, only wavering for brief periods during which time I ate, bathed and tried to get some fresh air. I very rarely left the house and spent most of the time sleeping and sat at my computer shaking. I noticed that the longer I slept, the worse the symptoms were upon waking and the longer it would take for my symptoms to become tolerable. I was starting to become depressed with this condition.
At the appointment (November 2011)
the consultant performed the usual tests before telling me that there was nothing wrong with my ears especially as my dizziness did not have a rotational component. I should mention at this point that my partner is a nurse and we started to keep a record of my blood sugar and blood pressure. After several months worth of recordings both my blood sugar and blood pressure were fine. My blood pressure was elevated during panic attacks, as you would expect, and there was a slight increase in orthostatic blood pressure upon standing from lying down, but nothing too significant.
Back to my GP I went (November, 2011)
. He explained to me that at this point he had no idea what was wrong. My symptoms were so vague it was hard to pinpoint the problem and though all the research I had done I agreed with him. He ordered a full blood workup, urine analysis and an appointment to see a neurologist. The blood and urine came back fine but I had several weeks to wait to see the neurologist. By this point I was getting desperate. 24/7 everyday, all-day. A typical day for me would be to wake up at about 4 in the afternoon. Get up, sit in front of the tv/computer shaking and twitching, disorientated, dizzy and lightheaded, for 1-2 hours. Eat a bit of cereal/toast. Have a panic attack. Have, what should be my lunch around 8/9 pm. By this point my symptoms would be a little more tolerable. Continue to laze about until around 2/3 in the morning and have what should be my dinner but looked more like an in between snack. Hit the hay at 4, 5, 6 in the morning. Rinse and repeat. Now, I am a mature student (28), but even this is going overboard. The symptoms described including fatigue and anxiety have brought this cycle on. January 2012
and a fresh outlook. At the neurologists, he ordered a brain MRI. His physical examination of me was fine. Had my scan early Feb and here I am, present day. Results came back fine. I am still suffering and still no closer to a definitive diagnosis. Iím due to see my GP yet again next week.
I should now mention that I had a pre-existing condition of heart palpitations. Iíve had them for two years and treat them with propanolol. The palpitations have been diagnosed as benign and not linked in any way to the symptoms I describe above. I have had for this condition numerous ECGís, 24hr holter monitor, 7 day cardiomemo, stress test and echocardiogram. Gpís and consultant tell me my heart is fine and not related to these other symptoms. I still continue to take the propanolol for heart arrhythmia and also for the anxiety. The dizziness/lightheadedness is the symptom that is still most prevalent.
Itís very hard to describe how it feels and how debilitating it can be. Whatís most frustrating is that from the outside looking in I would appear well
Current symptoms (in order of most distress): Dizziness/light-headedness, nausea, fatigue, shaking/trembling, muscle twitches, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and insomnia/sleep rhythm cycle problems.
Current medications: Propanolol hydrochloride, Prochlorperazine.
Past Medications: Betahistine, Trazodone (Prescribed for my anxiety/insomnia which I took only one dose of due to side effects).
Sorry if thatís a bit of a long read but itís quite hard to explain these symptoms without telling a story. I need to know where to turn from here. I know I need to try and get my daily routine with regards to sleeping, eating and exercise back on track but should note that I was perfectly fine in these areas before my symptoms started.
I should also note that I donít use any recreational drugs or touch caffeine in any form. I take multivitamins including extra iron, magnesium and B12 daily and I am a smoker of about 15 daily (I know I need to give up).
Does anyone have any suggestions I could raise with my GP? Any investigative routes I could explore? Anything?