Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm Hanging In There

I haven't abandoned you.  I've just been dealing with some interesting issues in my life recently and its taken a toll on me.  It's a long story, so I hope you have some time to spare. 

One day this past February, I was sitting at work doing my normal stuff when all of a sudden I got so dizzy that I thought I was going to pass out.  Then my arms started tingling and my palms started sweating.  I had to call my husband to come and get me from work.  The next day I went to the doctor and she told me I had a middle-ear infection and prescribed antibiotics.  I took my antibiotics and everything seemed to be fine.  A week later I was sitting with my husband watching a basketball game on a Friday night.  I started having the dizzy spells, tingling, and sweating again.  Plus, I was feeling a tightness in my chest and I felt like I couldn't catch my breath.  I tried to ignore the symptoms, but it wouldn't let up.  I got concerned that perhaps I was having a heart attack, so I had my husband take me to the emergency room.  They did an EKG and a CT scan of my head and they didn't see anything.  The doctor said that I probably had vertigo and prescribed Dramamine.  I continued to have these dizzy spells on and off so I just kept taking the Dramamine.  This went on for a few months.  I was beginning to suspect that I was having anxiety attacks, but since I had never experienced anything like this before, I really wasn't sure.

In August I started having the dizzy spells, tingling, and sweating more frequently, but I just tried to ignore the symptoms.  One day I was driving home from work and the dizziness hit me so hard that I thought I was going to pass out.  I pulled into a parking lot and called my Mom so someone would know where I was if I actually passed out.  Then the tingling arms and sweaty palms started.  I also got a tightness in my chest and started having chest pains.  Once I got a little less dizzy, I drove to pick-up my husband and then I had him drive me straight to the ER.  They did another EKG and a chest x-ray, but they didn't see anything.  They decided to admit me so they could monitor my heart overnight.  I spent a very uncomfortable night in the hospital being monitored, trying to eat terrible hospital food, and having my blood drawn every few hours.  The next morning I had a consultation with a cardiologist.  He said he thought I was having anxiety attacks, but he wanted to be absolutely sure to rule out any underlying heart condition.  So, I had an echo cardiogram, wore a holter monitor for 24 hours, and had a PET scan.  After all those expensive tests, my cardiologist determined that there is nothing wrong with my heart and I have developed a panic disorder.

This is a very strange turn of events for me.  I'm a very calm person by nature.  I don't yell and scream and I don't get worked up over things.  It feels like such a betrayal by my body when all of a sudden I'm scared out of my mind, dizzy, sweaty, tingling, and thinking I'm going to die.  It makes absolutely no sense.  I could just be sitting there reading a book and everything is fine and the next minute I'm having an anxiety attack.  Even when I wasn't having an anxiety attack, it felt like my bones were being rattled all of the time.  You know how you feel when you get really gold and get the chills?  Well, that's how I felt every minute of the day.  It was very disconcerting.

So, my primary care doctor prescribed Paxil and Xanax.  I take a half a Paxil a day and a half a Xanax as needed for breakthrough anxiety attacks.  I'm finally getting to where I can function and my bones don't feel like they're being rattled.  I still have a breakthrough attack about once a week, but its nothing that a half a Xanax can't handle. 

I hate that I have to be medicated to function, but I know I'm not alone.  There are millions of people out there who suffer from anxiety disorders.  It runs in my family, so I guess I can't escape genetics.

So, to explain my absence:  I've been really distracted the last few months.  I've hardly taken any photos and I haven't taken the time to post on my blog.  I miss my blogger friends, I just needed to get my health sorted out before I could wrap my mind around anything else.

I'm feeling much better these days and I'm ready to get back into the swing of things.  So, please hang in there with me.  I love it when people stop by my blog and read my posts and check out my photographs.  I'll be stopping in to read other blog posts from my friends soon. 

Leave a comment if you'd like.  I'd love to hear from you!

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