Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Medical History

As I write this, I find it a little strange that I am publicizing information that I would normally only tell a doctor. Medical histories don't come up in conversation with friends, and my family doesn't talk about this kind of stuff. There isn't anything hugely personal in here and nothing I wouldn't tell a curious stranger, but still, for such a private person, sometimes this is a little weird.

I was born about 7 weeks prematurely, in the late 70's, in a 3rd world country. I was in an incubator for a while. My mom told me once that they told her I'd be deaf, blind, and mentally affected by my early birth. I weighed 4 lbs 12 oz. Hardly a miracle baby nowadays, but to hear my mom tell it, I was a one in a million survivor.

I started developing chronic sinus infections and bronchitis very early, possibly immediately. My nose was always running and I had a constant chesty, barking cough for the first 12 years of my life. When I was 11, we went to an ear, nose, and throat specialist who had the bright idea to try and stick something into my right sinus. He couldn't. I had a blockage of cartilage that had never dissolved in utero (something that happens within the last month or so of development in the womb). So, at 12 I had surgery, and I could finally breathe through both nostrils. The sinus infections and bronchitis stopped.

I stopped eating meat when I was 14, with a very brief stint as a vegan. At 15 I got mono. I was never hospitalized, just a few doctor's visits and an order to rest, maybe drugs were prescribed, I remember being really tired. I got over it within a few months.

I became lactose intolerant when I was 17 and couldn't eat any dairy for two years without taking an enzyme supplement. I still get stomach aches if I'm careless about what/how much dairy I eat. I started eating seafood again at 18. I'm now a pescatarian and I don't eat any mammals or birds (or reptiles or amphibians).

At 19 I suddenly started getting hives all over my body, except my head. I had them almost constantly for about a year. I never figured out what was causing them. I still get a stray flare now and again, but I never touch them and they never get worse.

I was experimental with drugs from 18-23. I smoked marijuana recreationally and cigarettes from 18-27.

At 28 I got shingles. And a headache.

Mentally, I'm bright. I've always tested well, school was easy for me and I prefer cerebral activities over physical any day.

Emotionally, I'm sensitive. I am affected easily by the mood of others. I have always avoided the news because it makes me too sad. I love to laugh and do so freely. I am adventurous and a little rebellious. However, I am very cautious and aware of consequences. So, I make lists and messes. My myers-briggs personality type is an INTJ/INFJ, depending on my mood.

Physically, I've been a bit of a yo-yoer. Never underweight or obese, but I've fluctuated quite a bit within those extremes since puberty. I'm fairly coordinated. I can play sports pretty well, but exercise for it's own sake has always bored me. Without a team or purpose in mind, I wander off to read a book. I take walks outside or on my treadmill several times a week, when I can manage it.

My period has always been normal and reliable as a clock, but heavy and rather painful. I do get PMS and end up crying at toilet paper commercials, eating disgusting amounts of chocolate, and trying not to yell at everyone for a week every month.

In researching migraines, I've found that I have experienced Alice In Wonderland Syndrome as far back as I can remember, which is very common with migraineurs. So has my mom, which lends itself to the hereditary aspect of migraines. I've had headaches my whole life, but no more frequently than the "average" person. I historically treated them with over the counter acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen, but I do remember a few that could only be slept off. I remember joking with friends that I had a brain tumor, when I had frequent headaches, for weeks on end. But I was fully functional, only inconvenienced or distracted really, so I never asked a doctor about them.

Of course, I do wonder if my recognizing symptoms could be a little bit of matrixing. Seeing connections where there is only coincidence. Regardless, I'll keep making note of it all. It's better to have too much information to weed through than to have too little.

My family history is spotty. Arthritis, asthma, severe allergies, age and weight related diabetes, and heart disease run in my family. I know there's more but getting these people to open up about their health is like pulling teeth. I have one male cousin who had migraines as a child. No one else will admit to them.

I'll be adding to this history as it develops. :)


Tallis said...

Isn't it odd to be posting medical info just all open out on the web like that? It was wierd for me to do it the first time. I was so frusterated with the docs though that I needed to do something!

There might be a history of Migraine further back in your family without you or anyone relizing it - a lot of the Migraine info is new and lots of people go without knowing that they have Migraines (for instance over 2/3 of my family lol). Some people thing "tension headaches" are Migraines and others think Migraines are simply a bad headache.

What is "Alice In Wonderland Syndrome"?

Stephanie said...

It's basically a distortion of the senses. It happens to a lot of people in childhood, but most grow out of it. It appears to be linked to migraine in adults, but this is a wiki article I'm referencing, so grain of salt.

I'm going to have to detail the experiences I've had in a post, because it is a seriously weird experience. Thanks for the nudge!