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Archive for September, 2009

New theory, new plan:

I think I may be allergic to my house. Is it the cats? Dogs? DUST?? Carpet?? Is there mold? I am not sure. I saw an episode of “mystery diagnosis” where this woman couldn’t breathe, her condition was getting worse and worse and nobody knew what was wrong. It turned out that she had Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Believe me, I know this sounds like the most hypochondriac disease ever but listen to the lowdown from google health:

“Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is inflammation of the lungs due to breathing in a foreign substance, usually certain types of dust, fungus, or molds. Symptoms of acute hypersensitivity pneumonitis may occur 4 – 6 hours after you have left the area where the foreign substance is found. These symptoms may include chills, cough, fever, malaise (feeling ill), shortness of breath. Symptoms of chronic hypersensitivity pneumonitis may include breathlessness, especially with exertion, cough, often dry, loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss”

That’s me in a nutshell. I also read that if left untreated, hypersensitivity pneumonitis can cause permanent lung damage. Now I know I have stage IV breast cancer and I know a lot of my symptoms are from the cancer but the fact is that they can’t find any cancer in my lungs just “ground glass infiltration” that is allegedly responsible for my constant coughing, wheezing and gasping for air that is causing me to vomit up my food.

The lady in the episode of mystery diagnosis left her house for 3 weeks and her breathing cleared up. Turns out her house was riddled with mold. Her doctors told her if she wanted to live she should move. I am hoping I don’t have to move (would be pretty difficult considering the depreciation of our home value) But we do have hard wood floors just waiting to be installed in the family room and the other bedroom. Carpet can be a culprit here. And the dust is really out of control. I just haven’t been able to even clean my own house.

So mom and I are going away for a few weeks, to the mountains to breathe as much fresh air as possible, meditate, stay away from emfs (cell, computer) drink juice, listen to music, daydream and heal. In the meantime Nathan (with some help from enlisted relatives) will install the flooring and work on clearing the house of any possible allergens. This is urgent as my condition is getting much worse and I don’t have the energy reserves to help make the necessary changes to our residence. I am going to go on oxygen. I have no energy. I am in serious trouble. I can’t even tell you how much weight I’ve lost. Its too scary.

What do I need from you?? Do you know of a cabin in the Smoky Mountains with wood floors and a great view that has a reasonable weekly rate?? (reasonable = $600 or less) Would you like to donate to the Sheila Wisdahl Fresh Air Fund??? Yes, I am accepting charity. I know I have been given so so so SO much by my fabulous friends and family that it pains me to ask for more but the situation is very serious. I am really hoping this trip heals me. If it doesn’t work at least I will be able to say I tried everything to beat this. I haven’t been able to take a deep satisfying breath of air since last year.

I am excited about this trip. I haven’t seen the fall colors in many years and I know it will heal my soul along with my body. I only wish Nathan could be there too.

The greatest wealth is health. ~Virgil

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Today is day #3 with a sore throat/cold, the first one I’ve had in over two years and possibly a sign that my immune system is not what it used to be. That said, I am feeling much better today than I was yesterday or the day before so at least I am able to recover quickly.

I have also had really bad arthritis and bone pain lately. Partially because of the weather. The rain has been relentless this year. My cough is still hanging around. Basically my body is allergic to everything. My body is constantly inflamed. Any time I eat or drink within minutes my body responds by producing mucus and forcing me to cough. This makes it pretty hard to breathe, talk and almost impossible to exercise. If I overeat the inflammation response often leads to vomiting from all the coughing/gasping for air. My weight is very very low. My energy reserves are seriously depleted. If I have been bad about returning calls/emails/visiting this is why. I just don’t have the energy for it.

I have a new theory about what is wrong and it involves adrenal exhaustion. Tests from my natropath show that my adrenal glands are not functioning well and my thyroid stimulating hormone is double what it should be. AE-> low cortisol-> low progesterone -> high estrogen-> high histamine (hence my inflammation), and low thyroid hormone absorption. It all makes sense but I’ve made that proclamation many times before. I feel like a crazy person researching and researching and researching trying to find answers that no doctors seem to have. My body feels like a science experiment gone horribly awry. I am trying to stay optimistic but honestly it has been hard lately. On the one hand I KNOW that I’ve been worse off than this. Two years ago I was doing much worse. But I’ve been a hell of a lot better too.

Today we got a whole house water filtration system installed. I am super excited about this. Our water was so super chlorinated. Every time we used the shower (even with a showerhead filter) it smelled like a swimming pool. Chlorine acts like estrogen in the body and inhaling chlorine steam is really bad. So now our water is soft and odor free. No more VOCs, no more chlorine. I am hoping this makes a difference in how I feel. Psychologically it has already given me some peace of mind. Also, we found an awesome plumber in the process. If you live in pinellas county and need a good plumber, Sauls plumbing is where its at. they were nice, knowledgeable and reasonably priced.

The next thing I am going to do is get a wheatgrass juicer and start growing some wheatgrass. Despite the occasional pessimistic bout of mean pinks I still have hope. Please keep me on your altars. I miss all of you and have a hard time seeing you from my lonely little pink planet but I think about you all the time and hope all is well.

Love, she

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links

sometimes reading about other people’s cancer experience can be downright depressing. But Dan Barry’s column yesterday in the new york times nailed down so much of what I feel in a way that is both fresh and funny:

“…Then, in the late spring of 2004, probably while I was railing about something eminently unimportant, my cancer impolitely returned. Once again I felt the frigid breath of mortality at my neck. I also felt like a fool. What is the use of surviving cancer if you don’t learn from it? Are improved by it? Am I so thick that I need to receive the life-is-precious message twice?” i can totally relate.

if you are out there “browsing” stop in at ourlittlesweetpea.com A blog that chronicles the hardships of a 10 YEAR OLD GIRL WITH BREAST CANCER. 10 years old. as in diagnosed as a fifth grader. Really makes you wonder about all the crap we are dumping into our environment.

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