Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back in the UAE...

Well I am back in the UAE again...

Vacation went by so quickly. My dad had is surgery a week after I left, and they thought it was successful so he was at home recovering, but now he's back in the hospital again - his body is refusing food. Anyway... I just hope he will be OK. Before I left he gathered all of his children around - except for my older sister who wasn't able to come - and he was talking like he might die. It kind of scared me.

I have a complicated relationship with my father. On the one hand, I love him and I know he loves me; on the other hand, he is a bit difficult. For one thing he is definitely the source of the OCD that runs in our family - and the older he gets the more Obsessive he seems to get. On top of that, he has diabetes and doesn't feel well - fluctuating blood sugar levels make him quite cranky at times. I just wish that when I do get to see him, it would be easier to have a good time with him.

Anyway... now I am back in the UAE.

Some of you have commented on my long absence from blogging - well part of that has been due to the fact that I am not well.

Back in July, after a very traumatic personal experience, I developed a problem with breathing. It started out as a pain on the left side of my chest when I breathed in. I thought it was perhaps gas under the ribs and ignored it. It got worse, to the point where I was having a big problem breathing and my left arm started to ache as well. I have never had a heart attack before, but when that happened the description of chest pain plus left arm pain came to my mind, so I decided to visit my doctor. At the doctor's clinic, they couldn't come up any reason why I was feeling this pain - they did an ECG, took an x-ray - everything appeared to be normal. I was advised to go to the emergency room, which I did. They kept me there for several hours and ran the whole gamut of tests again - plus some blood tests - only thing they could find at the time was that I was mildly anemic and my ESR was more than 4 times what it should be. ESR = erythrocyte sedimentation rate. ESR is a test that indirectly measures how much inflammation is in the body. However, it rarely leads directly to a specific diagnosis, so that didn't tell them much. I also tested positive for rheumatoid factor (yay :( - lucky me). After giving me some injections - of God knows what (but at least it made the pain go away) - and several days sick leave - they sent me home.

Anyway, since that time I haven't been feeling so well - extremely fatigued, sometimes milder chest pains... I went back to the hospital for several follow up visits - my ESR stayed high though it dropped from over 100 to 50. Since then, it has been hovering at 50, which is still more than 2 times as high as it should be. A CT scan revealed a bit of pleurisy of my lungs (inflammation). My doctor was stumped... until I showed up one day for a follow up.

Now, my whole life, I have been one of those unfortunate individuals who blushes really easily. But lately I been getting a reddish kind of rash across my cheeks - I also have become increasingly photosensitive. When I showed up that day, my rash was in full bloom - so my doctor asked me if I had gotten it before. I told him, "yes".

Since then, they have diagnosed me with SLE - systemic lupus erythematosus - though the test results have not been conclusive. Apparently high ESR, rash across bridge of nose and cheeks (butterfly rash), pleurisy, anemia, and fatigue are all symptoms of SLE. It is a disease of the immune system - an autoimmune disorder - where the immune system, in effect, attacks the body - not just foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. It can be fatal - but varies greatly from person to person. Stress is a big trigger for it - so I guess the events of my life over the past few years have contributed to this. I think it has a genetic element to it. My grandmother had it, and my cousin has discoid lupus (mainly affects only the skin).

Anyway, that's just one of the things I've been dealing with... so I hope you will all forgive my absences from time to time.

By the way, what happened to Aalia's blog? :( I can't open it anymore... If you read this Aalia.. I hope you're OK and are happily reunited with your son now. I would like to be able to still read your blog, but if not... God bless you. I just want you to know, I think of you often and hope things work out for you.

God bless the rest of you as well....