Solving the Mystery Illness
Please read my story!
I am not a writer, or computer savvy. I don’t know how to use spell check either. So please forgive me, and do not judge my lack of skills. I am however, a medical mystery to all the general physicians I have seen (approx 5), and the various Specialists. My hope is to find others who have experienced the same frustrating illnesses who have found the cure. If possible we can prevent others from the years of frustration and multiple illnesses by educating doctors as well. Oh yes, let’s not forget the amount of money that is spent trying to get to the root of this infliction. Sorry Doc’s!
Approximately, 4 yrs ago (1998) my husband, son (2 1/2 yrs old) and newborn son moved into a 23 year old townhouse. The house came equipped with a de-humidifier in the basement. It was attached to the air vents. We consciously never turned it on in fear of doing more harm to us then good. Never having turned it on, we never thought of looking inside of it. I don’t know when we started smelling a chemical like smell, but, when we did we thought it was the paint and craft materials I was always using for my hobbies and stenciling the walls. Then we realized we were smelling the chemical odor when I wasn’t doing my crafts. Suspicious of this, I called the gas man out to check on the stove and other appliances (more than once). They also thought it was my stenciling paint, etc. Still, it was a daily concern and mystery to us all. I personally began to exhibit strange symptoms.
My family and I have always been very healthy. At first, I had allergy related symptoms; sinusitis, sneezing, burning eyes, creepy crawling itchy skin and dizziness, mood swings, irritability and phases of pure exhaustion. And for the first time in my life I was afflicted with acne. Then I found at night I had to sit up in bed to sleep because when I laid down my legs felt like I had spiders crawling up and down on my legs along with tingling and numbness in my extremities. I also had night sweats and hot flashes during the day along with anxiety attacks and heart palpitations. In mid winter, I wore summer tank tops and spaghetti straps.
Slowly more and more strange symptoms came on. Muscle aches, spasms, and odd pains on my body. Though subtle, they felt like multiple pin pricks and tiny hot spots. Periodically my left hip and thigh would suddenly become debilitating painful. To best describe the feeling is to say it felt like someone beat my left side with a baseball bat. No bruising or reason for it. It would last for hours and then just go away on its own. I had no idea why or when it would occur, much less, how to treat it. Sometimes I would take ibuprofen but, I wasn’t convinced it was all that effective.
I am the type of person who only takes ibuprofen if the pain is excruciating. My whole life I was blessed with such healthy thick finger nails, unable to cut them with nail clippers, I had to use a nail file. Suddenly my nails became brittle and extremely thin. At times, all my fingers would bleed because my nails would shred down to the fingers. And other times my finger tips would hurt for no known reason. I temporarily got acrylic nails put on. I continued to exist with these mystery ailments without any conclusive diagnosis from my doctors. Well, that’s not entirely true.
The first doctor said I had Raynaud’s disease. He treated me for one or two sinus infections, and gave me daily allergy pills. Of course, they were ineffective. Feeling this doctor wasn’t helping me and in my heart I knew his diagnosis was wrong, I changed my primary doctor. temporarily I worked for a friend at a restaurant as a cocktail waitress for a couple of months until I had to quit because one morning I woke unable to move, I was literally paralyzed. I had to have my husband help me out of bed and that was the first of many visits to the chiropractor. Shortly after that I was experiencing carpal tunnel symptoms so excruciating I couldn’t use my hands to hold a spoon or hold my children, much less work. Of course, the doctor said that was a condition I would have to live with.
Again in my heart, I knew this was not normal to have all these strange symptoms. I knew these were symptoms of something unknown to us both. At this point, I was begging my husband to have the air ducts cleaned out. I felt it was the house making me sick. When he spoke to an acquaintance who cleans air ducts for a living, he told my husband he didn’t feel it necessary for the age of the house and the amount of money it would cost to do it. Then, one evening (approximately 7 p.m.) I started feeling nauseous. By 11 p.m., I was stuck on the toilet with six hours of continuous vomiting and diarrhea. I figured I had the stomach flu for the first time in my life, and I was getting worried I would dehydrate. I was going to wake my husband and ask him to take me to the hospital, and then it stopped.
It was after that, that I experienced waves of nausea periodically over the months to follow. And I lived with that, in addition to the loss of short term memory and lack of ability to think and speak coherently. It became a way of life for me. I wasn’t sure at times what I was saying. I became so fearful of what I might say, that I tried with all my might not to open my mouth at friendly gatherings. Its difficult to explain, and I know it all sounds crazy. I started thinking I was loosing my mind or maybe I was in early menopause. For the record, I am presently turning 40. I had been researching my symptomology on the internet, however, my husband and I were internet debilitated.
At present, we’re not much better, ha! Somewhere in that time frame, my upper right lip would appear to sag. It would stay that way for short periods at a time. Then, one morning I realized my condition could no longer go unchecked and I think I was on Doctor #2 at that point. That morning I woke up and had apparently showered and dressed and went down to the kitchen to begin my day; only, I had no recollection of how I got there or when. That was my breaking point, both mentally and physically, as well as my spirit. My husband came home from work that evening I was hysterically crying and pleading for answers. I told him I seriously, either needed to be taken to an insane facility, or hoped he would support me in trying to get to the root of this. Thankfully, we have an extraordinary healthy relationship with mutual respect for one another. My husband being a dentist has studied the human body, but, not enough to give me answers of why and what was going on with me. And knowing me for so many years he knew I wouldn’t lie about my symptoms, yet, they were multiple and ambiguous. As my nails and cuticles were deteriorating and my symptoms were multiplying.
I began researching medical books, nutrition books and anything I could get my hands on to compare related symptoms like mine in hopes to find a cure. Then I went for a GYN appointment because I was experiencing abnormal pain. The doctor found a cyst on my ovary the size of a grapefruit and it continued to grow larger over a one week period. He operated and removed it along with my ovary. I thought this was the conclusion to my various symptoms. If only it were. I am convinced after 4 yrs. of my dealing with this, that the cyst occurred because of the affliction. Sometime thereafter, my 2 yr old became chronically ill with ear nose and throat infections. He eventually had his adenoids removed. After that I put him on herbs too. He is slowly recovering with less symptoms. My other son was having frequent tummy aches. Guess what, I put him on children’s form of acidophillus.
He is also recovering from his affliction. The only member of our family who hasn’t exhibited physical ramifications, is my husband. Today, I believe because he was at work most of the day building his new practice, he was less exposed because he was in the home the least amount of time. My older son less affected, because he went to day care part-time. The little one was with me, and with most sicknesses, it always affects the oldest and youngest most.
My husband knows there is something to the herbal treatments, and doesn’t dismiss there are physical reasons I feel the need to treat us, however, this is all so unconventional and we don’t have any conclusive tests to prove I’m treating anything much less curing us of anything we know of. All I know is, I’m not crazy or bored; like some doctors felt the need to conclude from their frustration. Imagine how I feel, I am living it, and worse, my little babies are as well. All that we’re experiencing is very real! I worry they will end up with permanent damage. Over these past few years, I had been to many different specialists, various doctors of slight unconventional practice as well. One doctor found I now have a heart murmur. A neurological specialist said I definitely had something he was unable to diagnose, and that he had been seeing more and more patients with my condition. Unfortunately, he thought it was viral and it might take years to go away and there is no real treatment.
I started a regimen of Aqua Flora and Jarro Dophillus. I cut out of my diet: wheat/yeast/dairy/preservatives. I saw a significant difference in my deterioration, but, not cured. We were building a new home, and had to have the townhouse inspections done to sell the house. When the air conditioner man came to fix the unit, my husband had him look inside the de-humidifier. Guess what he foun? It was coated with this hard white crust. Upon taking it out to clean with bleach, we instantly smelled that pungent chemical odor that was such a mystery in our home. We then had the furnace man come to check that, and he found the furnace was coated and blocked with insurmountable soot. He had never seen anything like it before, as like the air conditioner man.
We then realized, that in fact, the dehumidifier had been the catalyst for our poor air quality issues. When all was cleaned out, the smell was gone. I was still afflicted with the symptoms, and I continued to use my herbs. My husband says the owner of the health food store is laughing her way to the bank with the money I have spent at her establishment. For me, I owe her my life!!!! Had I not gone herbal I truly believe I would be in the mental hospital, seriously debilitated, or dead by now. I continued with the herbs and added Biosil drops for my skin, hair and nails with somewhat success. Then, later added Support Sinus herbs and Mold/Yeast/Dust herbs. Eliminating any man made medicines. If necessary for fevers, I use Phosphorus Form. All these herbs and homeopathic remedies has helped me move 2 steps forward with my ailments and 1 step back.
For me, that’s something to celebrate. At this point, I’ve been out of that house for two years and in a newly built home. My children and I have survived these past few years treating ourselves with herbs and not man made medicine. In fact, medicine seems to exacerbate our symptoms. We are fighting every day to better our health in spite of the belittling comments and accusing looks I receive.
I don’t wish this on any other soul, but, if you have read my story (sorry its so long) and you can help my children, myself, and anyone else inflicted will be eternally grateful! For all who are out there, don’t ever lay down to die without believing in your inner self and follow that little voice inside!