Internal Hell: Burning from the inside out. A story to remind you to never give up and never give in until you get answers.
It’s been hell, literally, inside my body as I’ve been burning from the inside out for just over half my life now.
For nearly 16 years I was brushed off as a liar, a psychosomatic case, an anxious or depressed individual, that I’m too young and must be making up my symptoms.
What could amyome possibly have to gain by faking their illness?
To me, I lost everything! I had to change my career right after I graduated. I had been bedridden for 8 out of 15 years. I had a small child and was a single parent who didn’t have family to help.
I’d seen over 100 doctors in the last decade alone. Most of them say, “you’re a young woman of child bearing age, it’s obviously just anxiety.”
We’ve gone through the diagnostic odyssey of Lyme (equivocal), EBV (reactivated) which took 5 years of my life, genetic testing, doctors did all the same ANA and CMP and thyroid tests over, and over, and over again and they were almost always within normal limits.
I’ve been told it’s all in my head by Mayo Clinic who refused a formal written request for further testing, even after they diagnosed me with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and confirmed Medullary Sponge Kidney Disease.
I found out that due to this autonomic dysfunction, I have a second degree heart block which has been symptomatic at rest and when standing. My heart randomly decides to reset which is on a whole other level of scary. My heart rate gets down to the 30s and up in the 190s.
Finally, I pushed for a different type of testing with a new neurological specialist. The golden standard of a biopsy for small fiber neuropathy.
Then took the results to a neuromuscular specialist and said what’s causing this? They took my blood and sent in for a WASHU panel and after patiently waiting 6-8 weeks it came back positive for two antibodies.
My TS-HDS was 80,000 and my Histone H3 was 2,100.
TS-HDS is an autoimmune heparin antibody and depending on the person it can have very different effects and bind to the blood vessels and even parts of the autonomic nervous system. It gets activated by anything that can set off the immune system. Childhood sicknesses make me bedridden for a week without a warning or even a sniffle.
Histone H3 is an antibody related to an ataxic gait syndrome that normally affects those ages 65+. Now I know why I have such difficulty walking. It’s so bad that I have opted for a power wheelchair that I use now because I move like a sloth and it’s painful.
It’s given my back my mobility in a way I never thought I’d have again. But honestly; the best part is validation.
I finally have answers and proof that this is very real and not just anxiety. Sure, I had some anxiety in not knowing what was wrong. Any person who cares about their daily functional capacity being reduced with no answers would, in my opinion.
But this is different, this is on paper and real. I’m currently waiting for insurance approval for IVIG therapy. The neuromuscular doctor thinks it may help.
I wanted to share my story because it’s been hell. Physically and mentally. It’s draining and exhausting when you’re already exhausted. I know it. I’ve been there. I’m still there.
You have to be your own advocate. You can research potential conditions and request that your doctor rule them out.
Just know, that there is hope. One day you will get answers so don’t give up, please, hang in there. They say there has to be a storm before the rainbow appears.