I'm still trying to figure out if I'm dealing with a run of the mill virus or some kind of more serious setback. On Thursday a nasty sore throat set in. I was thrilled. This made it much more likely that I'm dealing with a run-of-the-mill pathogen - one I might defeat in a week or two.
I went to a walk-in clinic on Friday and the doctor swabbed my throat. Although the swab came back negative for strep, she said it still looked like strep from her visual observation and based on my other symptoms. So she prescribed me penicillin. (*sigh*) Antibiotics again. But what are my alternatives? I can't just let strep go unchecked.
She wanted to prescribe me Prednisone for two days as well, but after I explained some of my blood test results that indicate compromised immunity (low NKC function, low CD57, low IGG subclass 3) she said I probably shouldn't take the Prednisone. I filled the prescription anyway...just in case I need it some day.
I keep a daily rating of my overall health, then I tabulate an average at the end of each month to track my progress. March, 2015, was my best health month since I first became ill in the Summer of 2011. Even before I tabulated the average, I could tell March was going to be a blockbuster. I only had one or two days in the month when I didn't feel like I could accomplish about 90% of the things I needed to do (work, errands, child care) and maybe 80% of the things I wanted to do. Short of any cardiovascular exercise (which still induces a crash), I was, if not exactly "living large," living upper-medium.
As March continued, I started wondering if I should consider myself "in remission." I wasn't close to my pre-ME/CFS self, but I was wondering if I should nonetheless consider myself more-or-less in the category of "regular people." I still regularly experienced symptoms like "air-hunger," swollen lymph nodes, and random inflammation, usually in the area of my kidneys and pelvic floor, and many others. But over time, these symptoms had reduced in severity to the point where I felt I could live with them without too great of a reduction in quality of life. March was the pinnacle of this.
So naturally I went nuts during the month of March, despite my better judgement. I started drinking coffee on a daily basis and running around doing errand after errand like I'd never heard of ME/CFS. "What's this Myalgic Whatchamacallit you speak of?" I let myself work later and later hours. I even worked a weekend, despite reservations in the back of my mind. It's easy to say now, "I should have known better not to push it so hard." But then again, as I improve, how will I know what my new limits are unless I test them? Plus, who has the discipline not to fall back into old habits, i.e., being a regular person? If you do, you're stronger-willed than me.
On Friday, April 2, body-wide inflammation swept over me and I knew it was something significant. It's only been 5 and a half days since then, so maybe it's too early to call it a relapse. Sunday was a so-so day. And even in my current state, I'm more functional than many patients. It's nonetheless disappointing. I keep holding out hope that this is just a "bug" (sick on sick), but it doesn't feel like it. Unlike with a typical viral infection, the symptoms aren't localized to any particular area of my body. They are everywhere: brain fog, swollen nodes, shortness of breath, kidneys inflamed, gums inflamed, cold hands and feet, weakness, pain in pelvic floor muscles.
Another possible explanation for this downturn is that I recently started experimenting with eliminating certain supplements and prescriptions from my daily routine. So far I've cut out OraKidney, potassium, PS Complex, Valacyclovir, and B-complex With Metafolin. I also cut Vitamin D-3 down from 10,000 IU per day to 5,000. I cut back on Testosterone injections too because I thought it might be contributing to pain in my pelvic floor muscles. Just to be safe, I'm going to start going back on those supplements until I get this figured out.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out...
In the meantime, I got a bunch of test results back from my new doctor. I owe this blog an update on those results too...coming soon. Short version: CD57 (a type of Natural Killer Cells) is pathetically low.