Take A Deep Breath … Again

  • Monday / May 5, 2014

Take A Deep Breath … Again

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about my health. Which on some level is a good thing. Since moving back to New Jersey — some 2.5 years ago — things have been pretty good. I dropped one hundred pounds. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. And here it comes … BUT … there have been some strange things occurring I can’t quite figure out yet.

It started back in November of 2013. I got one upper respiratory infection after another, for a total of three. The first lasted three weeks. Things seemed to be getting better for the next two, then I relapsed for another 2.5 weeks. With my Sarcoid, I have to always be more cautious and more aggressive about taking care of my lungs — especially with upper respiratory infections. They can easily turn into pneumonia … and bye-bye Joe! It’s what I deal with on a daily basis.

If it weren’t bad enough I was sick for over a month through the holidays — I was sick again — just last month. And you guessed it … another upper respiratory infection, which laid me up for another 2.5 weeks. Oh joy! This time around my nurse practitioner Patricia Guarduno from the Asbury Park Visiting Nurses Clinic was being extra cautious and sent me for a lung x-ray. She had several patients come into the clinic presenting with pneumonia, and wanted to be certain I did not have it. So off I went to Jersey Shore Medical — that same day — for a pulmonary photo session.

Take A Deep Breath ... AgainThe good news was, no pneumonia. The better news, no signs of my Sarcoid being active. I have to say I breathed a sigh of relief on both counts. It had been several years since having a lung x-ray. The last was back in Seattle for Dr Ganesh Raghu — my then pulmonologist — and Sarcoid specialist.

So, you ask, why am I writing this? More health related head scratching has been occurring. Since before Easter of this year I have been feeling so run down and lethargic. We’re still trying to figure out what is causing it. Once of my last blood tests revealed I was borderline hypothyroid. Just barely! So Nurse Garduno decided to put me on Tirosint — a synthetic thyroid hormone. From all I had read — I didn’t want to be on it! If I started taking it, I might be on it for the rest of my life. Me — on a drug for the rest of my life — NO FUCKING WAY!

I decided to see what else might cause this amount of lethargy. Knowing how much trouble I had with pollen last year — and how allergic I’ve become since moving back to New Jersey — I did some research. Yup … allergies can cause a tremendous amount of inflammation in the body and result in feeling run down and constantly tired. I decided to hold off on the Tirosint and try some generic Allegra. It seems to be helping — some days — and some days — not! Add to the mix feeling frequently “spacey”, and occasionally seeing spiraling light in my field of vision — and I haven’t a clue! WTF!!!!????!!!!

Even with all this going on, the only thing that makes me feel okay, is going to the gym and working out. I figured if I only have a finite amount of energy to expend during any one day — the gym was the place to do it! It’s the only thing currently that reminds me that I’m alive and — well? Or at least for that hour +. Some days are better than others and some days I have to force myself out of bed and to the gym. I never had to be FORCED to go to the gym. It’s become so engrained in my life now.

Luckily, I will be going to see a new pulmonologist — here in New Jersey — on Wednesday. Seeing how I haven’t had insurance, until recently, I haven’t been able to afford a Sarcoid checkup. Which —  back in Seattle — I would have every year, even if I was asymptomatic. I’ll be bringing along my x-ray, some old pulmonary function tests, and current blood tests for the doctor to peruse. Most likely I will take a new pulmonary function test — which I’m hoping for. It would be nice to see what my current baseline is — after 3 + years since my last.

I’m hoping for nothing major here. No news is good news. But maybe senior pulmonologist will have some input on my lethargy. Sarcoid symptoms can be so arbitrary and disparate. Hopefully it has nothing to do with my Sarcoid. Hopefully!

Like I said earlier … there was no rhyme or reason for me to write this … just needed to get it all out of my head — since it’s not like I have a whole lot of people to talk to about this stuff. This blog was started for me to write about my Sarcoid diagnosis process — so many years ago. So here I am, just unloading my brain.

Maybe — come Wednesday — I can just … take a deep breath … again.

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Joe Streno

Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . retired apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rudie, & rocco & living to tell tales about it

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