Trying to diagnose yourself is probably one of the most anxiety-producing things you could do to yourself. And, yet, I do it. Why? I'm simply not happy with the answers my doctors have been giving me.
For instance, I had sores in my throat and the doctor said it was "probably a virus". I cured them with probiotics. Can viruses be cured with probiotics? I don't know. But if it was a true virus then I wouldn't have been able to do anything but let it run its course, right? She didn't prove they were a virus and I can't prove what they are at all. I don't like hearing 'probably' from a doctor.
Since my diagnosis of Bipolar back in 2002, I've been wondering from whom did I get this. There is no family diagnosed with this except my mom. Yet, I don't believe she is bipolar either. In the years that have passed since then, I've read and researched and kept my ears open. She has all the psychological symptoms of a pituitary gland tumor and just a few of the bipolar symptoms. "Various psychiatric manifestations have been associated with pituitary disorders including pituitary adenomas. Psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety apathy, emotional instability, easy irritability and hostility have been noted." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pituitary_adenoma) My mom has had none of what I consider the true mania symptoms like spending sprees, needing less sleep, pressured speech, risky behaviors, etc. Too, there has been a connection with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) and Borderline Personality Disorders of which she has more symptoms, tying it back to the pituitary. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderline_personality_disorder#Causes)
So if she really doesn't have a bipolar disorder, then neither do I, right?
Recently, I got an MRI done on my brain and my neurologist was vague about the findings. "An incident of a cluster of blood vessels" is all that she said. Hmm. I googled that phrase afterwards and came up with Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Psychiatric symptoms of this include "memory deficits; and mental confusion, hallucinations, or dementia". (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/avms/detail_avms.htm) I had most of that back in 2002-2007. I don't have the hallucinations anymore, though, but do get brain fog too often. Is it too far fetched to say AVMs could be affected by cabin pressure from flying? I started having problems immediately upon coming back from England in 2002 so I know it had something to do with that. Stress alone can do a number of things to our systems, bringing down immune systems, raising blood pressure and I was certainly stressed then. Or how about bacteria from an tooth abscess? That can affect the brain. I might have had that at that time, too. I know I read that somewhere recently about being careful with getting dental work in patients with AVMs. This is definitely anxiety-producing as it states the severity of having a AVM in the brain! The neurologist hasn't said the name of the disorder yet, but ordered another MRI of my brain. I don't like doctors being vague.
And then there's pernicious anemia. "Psychiatric symptoms (usually more prominent in advanced cases) may include depression, paranoia (megaloblastic madness), delirium, confusion and dementia." (http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Pernicious-Anaemia-and-B12-Deficiency.htm) I have other symptoms of this so I wonder. Depression alone is a symptom of so many disorders and, as I said in my previous posts, could even be caused by Lidocaine.
In other words, there are many possibilities it could be. It reminds me of the story of the blind men and the elephant, each feeling different parts of the elephant (http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant). I go to one doctor and s/he sees only part of my symptoms, making a diagnosis from that. In going to another type of doctor, like a psychiatrist, s/he would see another disorder. Am I truly bipolar? I haven't been taking any mania-reducing drugs since 2007 and I haven't had to. There is now a genetic test I can take to see if I have the 'manic gene', but, alas, when I asked my doctor about it, she said she had no idea how to get that done. And didn't make any mentions of wanting to find out for me. (http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/09/02/researchers-decipher-manic-gene-in-mice/44054.html) I don't like having doctors refuse to assist in answering questions about my health.
So what am I left to do, but research some more. I feel like a hypochondriac, but with my tiredness, irritability, brain fog, headaches, and backaches, I can't do what I really want to do and do it well. My two priorities are my kids and my health. My career aspirations get put on hold. Quite frankly, if I ever wrote a book about all these experiences of possible misdiagnoses, I'd love to have a picture on the cover of me standing in front of House M. D. (Hugh Laurie) like I bested him, or what he symbolizes to me. (I'd love to meet him!) My creative mind still works at least some of the time, even if I can't remember to feed the cats most of the time.
Thanks for reading my rant today. I'd love to hear from you! Drop me a line via twitter!