Monday, September 27, 2010

9 months later...

So, if you read my blog, you know for the last 9 months I have been suffering from this weird throat condition that my doctor, my orthopedic doctor, & my Physical Therapist just seemed to blow off. The "condition" consists of feeling like someone has their hands gripped around my throat choking the life out of me along with my neck muscles feeling like they are so tight they are going to pop as well as feeling like I can't get enough oxygen, tight vocal chords making it nearly impossible to talk, dizziness, chest pains, coughing & itching in my throat, a whole lot of really thick mucus in the lower part of my throat & pretty much feeling like I'm going to pass out at any minute, which causes me to be extremely tired.

Now, this all started after unknowingly ingesting more aspartame than I probably have my entire life within 1 month(I consciously steer clear of this deadly toxin, but found it was a spray on coating on something I was putting in my mouth) & seemed to be set off by the ingestion of a home-made (by myself & T) gingerbread cookie. I'd eaten them before with no problems. We always make them for Halloween. It's tradition.

I at first thought perhaps it was set off by the injury to my shoulder, rotator cuff, since they are in close proximity to each other & I had let it go without seeing a doctor. Why I thought this, I'm not sure, but I mean, c'mon, I'm NOT a Doctor. I don't even play one on TV.

Funny thing is, my "doctor" didn't seem to care or have an opinion on it either way. My "doctor" sent me home, told me I probably had an allergic reaction to the cookie & told me to take 1 teaspoon of Maalox every hour for 12 hours, drink lots of water, & that I was probably stressed & anxious & that the anxiety was making me feel like I couldn't breathe. He said my weird heart feeling were also probably due to the anxiety. He never even touched me. He didn't feel around on my throat & only shined a light down it for about 3 seconds. He did however send me for an x-ray. An x-ray? For a swollen constricted feeling throat? I was, of course, totally cool with x-rays, because I've always wanted to see my own skeleton. He held the x-ray to the light for maybe 10 seconds, told me here was nothing lodged (duh!) & sent me home with his deadly Maalox cure.

Have any of you ever taken a teaspoon of Maalox? How about 12 in one day? Needless to say I only got to about 5 before I realized the explosive results of what the "doctor" had done to me. WTF!? Seriously? Now I had this to deal with this. I ended up dealing with it for about three days. I was confused. Why on earth had he told me to do this to myself?

The throat was not better. I scoured the Internet. I talked to other people. I talked to my Orthopedic doctor I was seeing for my shoulder. I asked my Physical Therapist if he'd ever heard of these symptoms. Everyone told me something different.

My mood went from high (on good throat days) to utterly depressed (on really bad days). Most days it was the latter. Finally, I thought about the whole thing over again. My shoulder seemed all healed up, so it couldn't have had anything to do with that. Maybe some tightness, but not the overwhelming strangled feeling. I started paying attention to everything I could. It always seemed so much better in the morning & terrible by 5pm. Saturdays seemed to usually be really good until late at night. Sundays started rough but got better. I came up with a hypothesis. It was the thing I originally went into the "doctor" for. A food allergy. I came up with four possible suspects.

1. Whipped Cream (organic, home-made, or out of a can)

2. Coffee

3. Chocolate

4. Something found in all three (like an additive or processing ingredient)

All three food items come from beans. That was something, right there. Perhaps I was allergic to the beans. So I started my experiment. The first thing I noticed was that an iced mocha (which I have at least 3 times a week) really set it off. Instantly. Aha!

So I tried it without the whipped cream.

OMG, I thought T was going to have to take me to the hospital.

So, is it coffee...or, GASP!, chocolate?

So on Sunday, I brewed some coffee. A took a few drinks. Nothing. Uh oh. So after finishing off the coffee & having no reaction T gave me a tiny sliver of 72% Ghiradelli chocolate. OMG! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Yep, I had that all too familiar strangled feeling. From a tiny bite. It all started to make sense. I can't remember a day going by without me ingesting some sort of chocolate. I eat way too much chocolate during the work week & if a day does go by, it's usually a Saturday.

So, to make sure, I am going chocolate free. For at least a month. If there is improvement & this goes away, then it's good-bye chocolate. Forever.

Ugh. all this suffering for nine months because of chocolate? I mean, I Love chocolate, but seriously? Then I come across this: Anaphylaxis- Anaphylaxis can cause symptoms throughout the body:

Skin: Itching, flushing, hives (urticaria), or swelling (angioedema)

Eyes: Itching, tearing, redness, or swelling of the skin around the eyes

Nose and mouth: Sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, swelling of the tongue, or a metallic taste
Lungs and throat: Difficulty getting air in or out, repeated coughing, chest tightness, wheezing or other sounds of labored breathing, increased mucus production, throat swelling or itching, hoarseness, change in voice, or a sensation of choking
Heart and circulation: Dizziness, weakness, fainting, rapid, slow, or irregular heart rate, or low blood pressure

Digestive system: Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, or diarrhea

Nervous system: Anxiety, confusion, or a sense of impending doom

Everything in bold are things I told my doctor when I went to see him.

Thanks Doc. For NOTHING. Glad I wasn't deathly allergic to it.


Wildokie said...

I hope for the sake of a diagnosis that it's the chocolate. But I wish it wasn't chocolate!
Hope you feel better soon.

Chris said...

Best health care in the world in action. Or inaction.

ChromePlatedGirl said...

What do a call a doctor that graduated last in his class?
A doctor.