I've been a member for awhile. This is my first post. Not sure what catagory to file it under. I'm a male 40 years old. I've been ill since January 06. This is quite a lot to write. I have always been a healthy person. Exercising for 27 years with weight training and running. Last January my hearing went out in my left ear. Total blockage after a sore throat which returned back to normal after three months. In March 06 I started to feel palpatations, and tachycardia with my heart. I had a stress echo heart test in May 06. The results were excellent: "The patient exercised using the advanced Bruce protocol to 12 min, 15 METS. The study was terminated because of fatigue. No symptoms of stress. No arrhythmia with stress. Blood pressure response normal. Negative stress ECG. Excellent fuctional capacity. Normal stress echocardiogram. LV ejection fraction 62%."
A few months went buy with continued palpatations. I had a halter monitor and a life watch monitor which I wore for a month. I was diagnosed with benign PVC's and PAC's. In September 06, I started to feel extreme headaches, neck pain, ear ringing (tinnitus) and popping in ears every time I swallow. On Oct. 29, 06 I went to the ER after 6 weeks straight of daily painfull headaches. A CT scan of the brain was done which was normal. I was referred over to an ENT specialist. He ordered a CT scan of the paranasal and mastoid sinuses. The CT scan showed some nasal polyps and some inflamation of the Mastoid. It also revealed a bulging pituitary gland. The ENT doctor said the polyps and inflamation wasn't serious but the pituitary gland needed to be evaluated futher.
I had an MRI of the brain and the cervical (neck) in early December 06.
The MRI of the brain showed that I have a pituitary tumor above the pituitary gland under the optic chiasm. The cervical MRI showed that I have degenerative disc disease C6-7, which has a broad disc/osteophyte protrusion causing a moderate narrowing and distortion of the C7 nerve root sleeve. I have been to two nerosurgeons who claim that the pituitary tumor is non-fuctioning, sort of like a cyst. My options with the neck are PT, epidural injections, or surgery fusion. I was told by both neurosurgeons that the neck problem, or the pituitary tumor wouldn't cause ringing ears, headaches, palpatations, and rapid heart rate (tachycardia).
During the past year I had major blood workup. Everything has been normal except for the hemoglobin,and hematocrit being high. I am now working with a hematologist. He is leaning towards a disease called Polycythemia Vera, thick blood. This disease of the blood would have changes in the red blood cells and white blood cells, and mine are normal. My spleen is also not enlarged which is another characteristic of PV. In the past year I experience rapid heart rate and feelings of dizziness and confusion. Also shortness of breath. My heart rate is consistently in the high 90's to 140 range. This past Monday my heart rate was between 110 and 130 just sitting around watching TV. After 3 hours of this I went to the ER and was admitted. On Tuesday I had a nuclear heart stress test. Looking for blockages in the arteries. The result was negative normal heart function. I was giving valium and released. Here's my problem with all of this. I can't get an answer for the continueous ear ringing,headaches,rapid heart rate, palpatations, ect. Sure one can say panic attacks, but is it possible to have a panic attack 24/7 for an entire year and counting? I feel horribly tired, with all the symptoms that I have mentioned every day. I'm losing my bearings trying to figure this whole thing out. Does anybody out there have any ideas or expierence with any of this? I've spent a small fortune on all of the medical procedures. I can't find a doctor to help or understand.
I am terribly desperate and frustrated. Please respond if you can help me. I've always found comfort reading other posts.
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.
Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed letter. I never considered Lyme disease. Its possible and will look into it. Considering that I live in Michigan, and spent a lot of time running and bicycling in wooded areas surrounding my house. I see deer almost daily. I had no idea that Lyme disease can create such havoc in the body. I do have a lot of the symptoms you have listed. I've been feeling terrible for about a year. Can Lyme disease stay active for so long a period? Do all labs differ in diagnosing Lyme disease? The lab that you mentioned IgeneX in Palo Alto, CA, do they specialize in Lyme disease disorders? I'll try to find their website and find a way to give them a blood sample. You mentioned doctor recommendation. Do you know of any in Michigan or in other states?