Friday, October 17, 2014

In Sickness AND In Health

Today's topic is something I haven't really discussed here before. I have hinted that I've been sick, but I've never really explained what's going on. I still don't know, for that matter, but I have decided to share this journey with the blogging world.

When my handsome husband married me at the end of May, he said he would be with me in sickness AND in health. Little did he know, the whole sickness thing would happen a lot quicker than we thought.

Actually, let me backtrack a bit. This all started exactly one year. It was October of 2013, and my life was completely normal. One weekend, I decided to head to Denver to hang out with Dan and some of his friends after they finished a physics conference up there. We got a hotel, had dinner, drank a lot of wine, and then went out to Dave & Buster's for the night.

We had a blast, and I had the most delicious 'adult snow cone' (pictured below) that night.

The morning following our fun night, however, I woke up feeling like death. I stumbled to the restroom in the dark, nearly falling down. The joints in my hips, knees, and ankles hurt so much. I was confused since it was 6:00 in the morning, so I shrugged it off thinking I slept funny and my limbs were asleep or something. Then, I reached for toilet paper, and my arm felt like it was going to fall off. And my fingers couldn't even rip a piece of toilet paper off the roll.

Uh oh.

But I went back to bed because I thought maybe I was just experiencing a terrible hangover. But I never get hangovers.

I woke back up a few hours later and was still in excruciating pain. Dan started to freak out, and we made a correlation that I had started a round of antibiotics a few days prior. Quick - check Google. Could that be the problem? Maybe. Call the doctor. Another maybe. I stopped taking the antibiotic right then, but the pain continued to worsen throughout the day.

Dan wanted to take me to the ER, but I kept saying no. I did think I should go, but I desperately wanted to enjoy the weekend in Denver with him. He had been out of town a lot for competitions, and I really just wanted to be with him... so I was stubborn and refused. We had donuts, went to the Celestial Tea company in Boulder, walked around downtown Boulder, and drove back to Denver for dinner. I was limping the entire day from pain, but I tried to put a smile on my face and have fun.

After dinner, we drove back to Colorado Springs, and Dan told me we were going to the ER by my house. We did. And we waited for HOURS. And finally, they got me in and told me that it was probably a reaction to the sulfites in the antibiotic - oh, and in all of that wine I'd had the night before. Apparently, sulfite intolerance usually presents as a skin or breathing issue, but mine was causing my joints to swell. They felt like they were grinding together every time I moved. My asthma was also flaring up (probably the breathing effect), so the doctors wanted to treat that and kind of dismissed my pain.

I left the ER at 4:00AM with a prescription for Vicodin.

It did nothing. I had to fight through the pain for three or four days, and then it finally just disappeared completely. I did a lot of reading online about sulfite intolerances and saw a different doctor about it. I had blood tests run, but nothing was ever confirmed.

I learned from Dr. Google that B12 fights against sulfite intolerances. I promptly bought some dissolving pills and started taking them daily. Then, one night after drinking wine, I felt the joint pain creeping in. I took a few B12 pills, and the pain subsided. Seriously. It was great.

Over the past year, any time I have felt the joint pain, I simply pop some extra B12 and call it good. I hadn't felt anything like it again... until this past weekend.

Yep, the weekend we spent away in Chicago. Let me tell you - my body sure knows when to go haywire.

Needless to say, we spent one full day of our trip in the ER. My pain was at a 10 (and I NEVER use the sacred 10; I always say 4, even if I'm in a LOT of pain), and I told them I was at a 10+. Unfortunately, nothing they did would relieve the pain.

I ended up getting a high dose of Tylenol and Advil, but those didn't do much. They took the edge off, and my pain went down to maybe an 8. If that.

Here I sit, five days later, and the pain is still in a few of my joints. I can't move one of my fingers on my right hand (at all), and my left shoulder is killer. Yes, I had a follow up with my primary care doctor on base. No, he didn't know how to explain it. Yes, blood tests have been done for arthritis and have come back negative. Yes, more blood work has been ordered to test for a few other possibilities... because my current doctor doesn't seem to think it's a sulfite intolerance. We'll see, I suppose. I am just ready to have this all figured out.

I see an allergist next week for the first time, so maybe just maybe they can figure something out. In the meantime, please be thankful for your healthy bodies. I took mine for granted (and even ran a full marathon in between pain sessions!), but I would give anything to have my health back.

  • Have you ever gone to the ER? 
  • Do you have some kind of illness too?


  1. Oh man, that's no fun, Janelle! Has your blood work been tested for Parvovirus or Lymes Disease? I had symptoms similar to yours (joint pain, aches and pains, fatigue) a few years ago due to Parvovirus, although not as severe as you're describing! That 10 on the pain scale is no joke! Praying the doctors can correctly diagnose you soon so you can work to conquer this sickness!

  2. I really hope that the doctors can figure out what's going on so that you can feel better quickly! Being in pain is not fun at all.

  3. Prayers that you get to feeling better! Look into fibromyalgia. My grandmother has it and your pain sounds a bit like she describes it. She developed it at a pretty young age.

  4. Oh goodness, Janelle that sounds horrible! I'm so sorry you have to deal with that and I pray you have answers soon! Hugs!

  5. There is nothing worse than knowing something is wrong with your body but being in the dark because they can't figure it out or you have to wait for appointments and results. I feel like there's always something new wrong with me, I'm always waiting for that next appointment or test, and then always waiting for the results. I'm sorry you're dealing with this. You're in my thoughts and I hope the pain stays away!!!

  6. Not fun at all. I hope you are able to get some answers soon. And I would have done the same thing about the ER. During my pregnancy, I prolonged every trip to the ER that I took because I was stubborn. If there hadn't been a baby to worry about, I probably wouldn't have even gone.