Monday, October 25, 2010
Sun and sand and IVs
My life has not been lacking of medical adventures since I last wrote. But first...
I spent an amazingly awesome and relaxing weekend with Todd's family at Holden Beach. While not an ideal time for a trip out of town with how I've been feeling, our two-and-a-half-year-old nephew and his mother had flown out from Montana and since we do not see them much, I definitely wanted to spend time with them. We had thought we would go to the mountains to see them but it turned out they wanted to come to the beach. So the two of them, plus Todd's dad and brother, the two of us, and four golden retrievers all packed into a house that Todd's aunt generously lets us use down there. We had two amazing beach days of weather in the 70s, sunny, beach practically to ourselves. It was little Sawyer's first trip to the ocean so we got to see him have a blast with that. We also ate a ton of fresh shrimp, and I attended my first oyster roast! (I had two oysters and they were kind of gross, but not as gross as I remembered them to be. I gave it a try at least.) It was a really great time.
So, rewind: Last week's adventures began on Tuesday when a co-worker pointed out to me that my "feeling extremely speedy" side-effects from the Wellbutrin XL I had started weren't necessarily normal. I did some research and found out that, indeed, a large amount of people have had issues (of the same sort) with generic Wellbutrin, bupropion, which is what I was taking. I contacted Dr. M - he had heard of this but thought it was an issue that had been cleared up years ago. I guess not! (While the two substances are chemically the same, or, at least very close, the "extended release" of the generic has not been thoroughly studied. At least that is what I gathered through my research.) So far, so good with the actual Wellbutrin XL.
Next up: Wednesday night we went out to celebrate a friend's birthday. I had a good sized meal and also dessert. I was stuffed. I came home and Todd stayed out for a while. After a bit, I thought my blood sugar was low and indeed it was about 40 - dangerously low. I drank some juice and started eating sugar, but I was so full it was becoming uncomfortable quickly. I started to worry, what if I got sick and couldn't keep sugar down before my blood glucose could rise? I kept checking and my blood sugar would barely rise or sometimes fall back. What the heck was going on?!
It took all my self-control to not completely freak out. Here I am, 11:30 at night, alone at home, scarily bordering on losing consciousness or what I didn't even know. FINALLY, it came up to 70. I was feeling nauseous and bloated and decided to take a shower to try to relax and take my mind off things. I have found that distractions are amazingly good for anxiety. When I got out of the shower, I was still feeling shaky, although my sugar hadn't dropped much. I got sick. I ate more sugar. I promised myself that I would never again not take my blood sugar before eating (a bad habit I have and something I had done that night.) Finally, finally, finally, it got better. I took a Xanex and, when Todd got home later wondering why I was still up at 1:00, I burst into tears...
The next afternoon, another mini-debacle. I had a late lunch, did my insulin (of course I was diligently checking my sugars from the moment after the previous night's episode), and was on my way after work to get my Xolair and allergy shots and noticed in the doctor's office that I was about 60. I politely asked for some juice since I was sick of Starburst and sugar packets from the night before. And I kept drinking more and more but my sugars stayed the same for a while before coming back up. Something truly odd was going on!!
Thus began a weekend of scaling back settings on my pump. I would get low after a meal, scale back my bolus; I would get low between meals, scale back my basal. It took several frustrating days (and by the way, you know you've been checking your blood sugar a lot when you prick yourself and blood comes out of four places on your finger) but I finally figured it out by Saturday. But what in the world had caused it??
The cause is a total mystery. Both the Wellbutrin and Actigall, which I started a few days before this happened, do not have low blood sugar associated with them. Could the Actigall have broken up something in or near my pancrease, maybe in a duct or something, and now insulin can get out more easily? That seems plausible to me, although there is absolutely no evidence to support it; the others are that one of the medicines caused me to become more sensitive to insulin, that the medicines somehow interacted in an unusual way, or that it was just completely random! In any case, I am on almost half the amount of insulin that I was before this happened. That is amazing and a really good thing; it's just that I want to know WHY!
Is that enough adventures in one week for one girl? I think so! But unfortunately, this is a new week. While my weekend was amazing, I for whatever reason today woke up feeling what I can only describe as "cystic-ey" ... my lungs feel tired and perpetually full of junk; and even after a good cough there's another rattle behind it. So after trying so long and so hard to get over what probably started as a cold two months ago, I am getting a picc line placed and will start soon on IV antibiotics. Were IVs inevitable this entire time? Maybe... but I was happy with the progress I was making the last few weeks, and there was too much going on for me to tell for sure my lungs were the things that needed more treatment. I think I made the right decision. Wish me luck!