Fibromyalgia and Doctor Discrimination

fuck fibromyalgiaGot a referral from the physician’s assistant at my primary doctor’s office to see a new rheumatologist. It might have been a week ago. Someone from the office called me and left a message, but I was too distracted by the house and my recent cardiac stress test to return the call. The scheduler called me again today and let me know that Rheumatologist #2 would treat me for my diagnosed muscle weakness but not for the fibromyalgia.

Christ on a bike, people! Call it whatever you want. I’m not looking for pain pills, and I didn’t exactly ask for this diagnosis. In fact, I’d be very pleased if there were a rheumatologist on earth that would even entertain the idea something else could be going on here instead of looking at my chart and trying to scare me off. My physician’s assistant is awesome and doing her best, but she’s not the one with the freaking specialization.

One diagnosis from a doctor who, as it turns out, is a jerk and doesn’t even listen—you’re branded for life.

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Sweet Dreams Any Time of Day

ISpps473syn0sz0000000000I feel so content today. For starters, I’m sleeping better. At my doctor’s recommendation I have been taking a 3-mg melatonin supplement at night before bed. Sadly, I’ve had to set aside the podcast. Since the pain and sensitivity around my jaw and ears has increased, noise and ear buds are beyond uncomfortable.

I had been using ZzzQuil from time to time, but it either makes me feel hella blurry in the morning or it jazzes me up. And, of course, since it’s the same thing as Benadryl, it’s extremely dehydrating. I was literally peeling sheets of dry, dead skin off myself the other day.

Anyway, the first night I took melatonin, my eyes got heavy in 15 minutes, and I slept restfully. I have a feeling that at some point melatonin may stop being effective too, but at least now I have an arsenal of sleep aids and can go with whatever works.

Of course my arms are still so weak I have a hard time pulling my pants up, but … baby steps.

It also helps me considerably to be able to say that we bought a house. I know, I know. Last Monday I was very worked up and pessimistic, but my Realtor recommended another lender who helped us figure out something that would work. Then there was a bit of a rally of support. And, well, the result is that we were able to make an offer on the house I adore Thursday evening.

By Friday evening, the owners had countered our offer. It was more generous than I would have imagined, and we didn’t hesitate for a second to accept. We won’t close until the end of May, but just knowing that something good is coming is such a relief.

There’ll be more gushing over the house in the future, but for now I will just say that from the moment I walked in the door the place felt like home. I’m not convinced I deserve this place, but I’m so glad we’re going to get to call it ours.



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Medical Symptoms and Burying the Lede

heartAfter a referral to a neurologist turned out to be mostly a waste of time, I went back to the physician’s assistant at my primary doctor’s office on Tuesday.

You know what, before I go any further, I just want to say that as medical professionals go, this PA is amazeballs. She’s one of the most personable people I’ve ever met. She listens, she looks up stuff she’s not familiar with, and she’s not afraid to dig for answers when they’re not staring her in the face.

But back to my story. After a 45-minute chat with the PA, I said something that made her eyes get kind of big. She was going through a sort of flow chart related to my complaints of muscle weakness and asking me questions to see what could be ruled out completely and what might need further investigation. “This,” she said, “is related to the heart. You’re so young, that it’s not very likely. But we might want to explore it if you have a family history of heart disease.”

“Well, my grandfather had a couple of heart attacks later in life, and my dad underwent a procedure for WPW syndrome and had a heart attack last year.”

She wrote that information down and then asked if I ever felt short of breath. “Sure,” I said, not even thinking it was a big deal.

“Like when?”

“Well, like when I go up a flight of stairs or walk down the hall.”

Apparently, when it came to listing my symptoms, I had buried the lede. But after being weight shamed by The Rheumatologist from Hell, I thought I was getting winded because I was fat now. Until that moment I hadn’t seen shortness of breath as a symptom so much as a personal shortcoming—despite the fact that even the most gluttonous of humans rarely put on 30 pounds in a few months.

She sent me down the hall for an EKG and chest X-ray immediately after the appointment.

This morning, a nurse called to let me know that my EKG showed signs of atrial enlargement. The next step is to go in for a cardiac stress test on Monday afternoon. Should be loads of fun, considering my annual employment review will take place that morning!

The nurse told me to wear comfy clothes and shoes, to eat nothing for 2 hours before my appointment, and to expect the stress test to last 2 hours.

My PA also ordered more blood tests, but I have to fast for those and haven’t been back yet. Maybe by Tuesday I’ll have that done too. One of the tests she’s ordered is for my thyroid.

Depending on whether they’re seeing the irregularities on the right or left atrium, this heart shit could very well be an indication that I’m hypothyroid, despite being on levothyroxine (Synthroid).

As I mentioned in an earlier rant, one of the rare but serious side-effects of taking duloxetine (Cymbalta) is hypothyroidism. It’s listed right there in the drug information that accompanies my refills. Sure makes me wonder why The Rheumatologist from Hell denied there could be any connection with my weight gain and my thyroid and didn’t want to order thyroid tests after I’d been on the Cymbalta for a few months. Of course it’s too early to say for sure what’s going on. But if your patient is complaining that something’s not right, why the hell wouldn’t you check it out?

While I get fatter, my mobility continues to decrease, and the search continues for answers, there’s a pretty bitter part of me that wishes I knew more about malpractice law.

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This too shall pass…

…Like a motherfucking 3-inch gallstone crammed all up in a bile duct.


I talked with the lending officer this morning. We’ll call her Kay. “I did some more research on the mortgage program you wanted to apply for. I don’t do many of these, so I’m sorry I didn’t know all of the details right away. Unfortunately one of the stipulations for getting this kind of mortgage is that you can’t currently own a home.”

“Oh,” I said. I wanted to explain how it was all so unfair. How I tried selling it and couldn’t. How I couldn’t live there now even if I wanted to. But I knew it didn’t matter. It wasn’t her call.

“If you had been able to sell the property in Indianapolis outright, you could qualify,” Kay said. She was being very delicate with her words. “At this point,  you’re not entirely out of options though. If the buyers get financing earlier than anticipated, you can complete the sale. Or if a family member or friend wants to gift you the down payment for a conventional loan, that’s a possibility.”

Kay’s a kind human being. She let me down as gently as possible. I do appreciate that.

Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone with $26,000, let alone $26,000 to spare. And although my renter/buyers still haven’t paid this month’s rent or responded to my email about when it might show up — I’m locked into a contract with them. If they do end up defaulting I can kick them out and start over, but I have to wait for all of that to play out according to the terms of the contract. Starting over with the nightmarish process isn’t exactly something I’m eager to do anyway. And what about the fees I paid to both agents at the time the contract was signed? Is that money just gone?


I’ve contacted my agent from the sale, and she is sympathetic and looking into the situation for me. However, I am not comforted. According to the contract, if they don’t pay what’s due plus the late feel by April 1, they officially default. I can make them leave and the contract is void at that point, but April 1 is also the day my mortgage for that shithole is due.

Oh and did I mention that I lost my homestead tax exemption because I don’t live in the place anymore? Thanks, Universe. I was secretly hoping you’d claim $1,400 more from me in taxes on a PROPERTY I DON’T FUCKING WANT!

Aaaaaaand fibromylagia flare followed by debilitating depression in 3…2…

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The Bloody Turnip

Last weekend, one of the local news stations wrote about a state grant program that helps the monetarily challenged buy homes. So, of course, I went and got my hopes up.

I was overjoyed at the thought of being able to adopt a puppy. Have a dishwasher. And grow some food in the back yard.

I went and mentally redecorated the perfect little 1960s ranch on Pinterest for god’s sake. I have new light fixtures picked out for it. I even pinned the kind of toilets I want for the bathrooms. Look, I know it’s risky to make those kind of plans in your head, but I wanted to feel happy for a minute. I don’t think I could survive without a little daydreaming now and again. It has always been a part of how I cope.


Today, Dan and I met with a lender to see if they would give us a ton of money. The answer wasn’t an outright “no.” Like everything else in my life, it has to be infinitely more complicated than that. After looking over the novel of paperwork I printed off, the lending officer said to us, “This isn’t a straightforward case, and I’ll need some time to crunch the numbers before I can get back to you.”

But before that she said, “It’s going to be very close.”

When I was younger, that kind of sentiment might have left me hopeful. But not now. Things don’t seem to fall in place for me like they used to. And it’s like I can trace all my financial woes back to one horribly wrong decision — marrying my first husband way back in 2004.

When he and I were first looking for a house, he would have nothing to do with reasonable homes that seemed like a good investment. We spent a couple of months searching, and finally I said to him. “Just pick something. We have to live somewhere.” And he did.

And then a few years later, fully engrossed in obtaining my degree, I trusted that he was making a good decision by refinancing so we could reduce some credit card debt.

Mother of God was I wrong. By the time the paperwork was signed, we had cashed out a couple grand and paid down one credit card (his, if memory serves) in exchange for a new mortgage with an unholy 7% interest rate. The folks at Wells Fargo sure saw him coming. Too bad I hadn’t.

A year or so later, he was cheating. He promised to pay for the divorce and leave, so I filed the paperwork myself at the courthouse for about $150. But guess what? Lying liars lie. The motherfucker didn’t leave. Turns out I had to hire a lawyer to amend the divorce and kick his ass the hell out. To the tune of about $5,000. I also had to assume the 7% mortgage. He moved into a friend’s place or his brother’s place or something, responsible for not even one of his terrible financial decisions.

He didn’t have a lawyer for the divorce and never paid a dime in that regard. In fact, he repeatedly emailed my lawyer. And every time she had to respond to him, I got billed at the rate of $250 an hour. My parents helped me tremendously, but after a while I didn’t have the heart to keep asking them for money. And I put the remaining legal fees on my credit card.

The ex finally moved out one weekend, and I finally got my hard-fought freedom…and undeserved legal debt…and a mortgage on a shitty condo — which we were only able to buy in the first place because of the down payment I brought to the closing from the sale of my very first home, which of course I sold to be with him.

I hated him for a very long time. It was a full and healthy and productive hate. It got me through.

Now I’m ambivalent about him. Sometimes it’s difficult to wrap my brain around the fact that I lived that part of my life. My recollection of his face and voice, for example, are dim and fuzzy, like the plot of a mediocre book I once read. But the way I felt about myself is still pretty fresh. For example, I could still just kick myself for being young and stupid. For unwittingly hitching my wagon to a compulsive liar. For not accepting soon enough that I was always the one making sacrifices, and he was always the one reaping the benefits.

But, you know, a couple of lessons were learned and all that.

Thanks to a supportive family, I got away with ne’er a ding on my credit report. But I haven’t been unable to get ahead or save much of anything. That’s because the condo is still technically mine, even though I’ve moved to Illinois. I still have the same ridiculous 7% interest rate despite inquiring many times about legitimate refinancing. (Its value dropped when the real estate bubble burst, so there’s not enough equity. And it just so happens that I had a condo and a weird kind of loan — neither of which qualified me for federal relief when all those other people were refinancing to get out from under predatory loans that had sunk them.)

All of those circumstances meant I didn’t really have a choice but to accept a rent-to-own style sales agreement last November after my home had been on the market for over a year. Because an outright sale just isn’t complicated enough for my luck. And now the buyers living in my condo are more than a week late with this month’s payment. Every month they get later and later. I emailed my agent to see what happens if they default.

I’m bracing myself for the worst now. Because positive thinking can crush a person. But you know, if 1,200 of you want to send $3 to on PayPal, I promise to move into my little dream home in Urbana and never pay a cent of it back to any of you.

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