13 November 2009

Appt With My GP

Ahh, Friday the 13th—ya gotta love it!

OK, yesterday I went to see my GP as a follow-up to all that fasting blood work. My psychiatrist actually called him at lunch before my 1615 appt to discuss his concerns about my apparent declining health. My psychiatrist told him that I flunked the Romberg test, so my GP performed some additional neurological tests on me. He confirmed that I have Ataxia, a neurological sign and symptom consisting of gross lack of coordination of muscle movements. There are many culprits, so I am choosing to ignore the more dreaded causes. There does appear to be an association with B-12 and B-1 (Thiamine) deficiencies, however.

On my lab results, my B-12 was within normal limits; however, not suspecting anything along these lines three weeks ago when my GP ordered the fasting blood work, he did not test for B-1. He decided to order more lab tests: Magnesium (serum), Phosphorous (serum), Basic Metabolic Profile (a repeat from the last one), Zinc, B-1, and Selenium. They are suspecting that the Ataxia may stem from a vitamin/mineral deficiency. The only problem is that my body does not absorb vitamins and minerals properly (I had gastric bypass surgery in 2003 which bypassed the ileum and a good portion of my jejunum, the two sections of the small intestine into which the stomach dumps). Most vitamins and minerals are absorbed in the jejunum, which may explain why I may have a serious deficiency. I can’t take vitamin pills; I’ve tried with no success with iron when I was severely anemic before resulting in an IV infusion of iron. Couple this with the fact that I am not eating anything (I lost 17 pounds since 21 October), thereby not gaining any nutrients from food; this can make for a nasty combination. It took three years for my ferritin (a protein that stores iron and releases it in a controlled fashion) levels to tumble down to 2 (normal is 20-200ng/mL for females) (and now it is down to 5), so maybe it has just taken longer for these vitamins and minerals to reach abnormally low levels. Sure beats the hell out of the idea that I may have some morphological problem in my cerebellum, a region of the brain that plays an important role in the integration of sensory perception, coordination and motor control. [gosh, I bet you didn’t think you’d be getting anatomy and physiology lessons on this blog :)].

I didn’t leave the GP’s office until 1800. He spent two hours with me. Now we wait for the results and these are specialized tests, which may take a couple of weeks on one or two, especially the Selenium (I hope that doesn’t translate into big $$$—I’ve enough medical bills as it is). These are so rarely ordered that the lab manager had to get out two huge reference books to look up what color top the test tubes had to have in order to collect the blood in the right test tube. And here she though she was wrapping it up for the evening when I was walked back to the lab! (I never seem to do anything half-assed). Meanwhile, I bought a cane this afternoon so I can walk without falling over. Yeah, that does a lot for my butch image…lol.©2009


  1. just out of curiousity the vitamin and mineral supplements you have taken in the past did you try different ones (as in same vitamin but using a different absorption process as the usual is by the stomach for most vitamins but instead using the kidneys or something else)? honestly i dont know if they exist but i know with medication they do make alternatives for those who cant absorb things in the usual way so should exist for vitamins not that rare...just a thought for an alternative to 'shooting up'...yay i got vitamins...oh yea and also taking vitamins together that help each others absorption or using other things like milk for the stuff it does help since it is a bit of all or nothing in terms of absorption...yea and as for the cane do bull-penis canes make you look butch cuz lol just hilarious...you know if any guy is mean about you being lesbian or wanting equal rights or just mean in general then you could just point out that you have a cane made out of a penis...nice little conversation to have...it was on a house episode honestly i otherwise would not be able to reference those canes just saying...my grandfather had an iliostomy done and just showed it to me like last month...coolest thing ever! his intestines are on the outside and still pooping lol...granted most people think its gross but whatever, i was like looking at a chagall painting for the first time lol...yours i would totally look into vitamin/mineral deficiencies first before assuming brain function but uhh yea...you can totally give anatomy lessons i wont mind ;)...

  2. Will, your comment was such a hoot. I was so exhausted at 1145 this morning I found myself nodding off while sitting on my porch enjoying all the beautiful sunshine. I thought, well, since I’m not getting much meaningful sleep at night, maybe I should try to take a nap. Lying down in my cave-like bedroom (dark curtains, no sunshine), I was all snuggled under my blankets (the house was cool) and settled in so sure that I was just going to nod off. Such was not the case for about the first three hours, but it felt cosy and I was still so tired. I did not want to leave my cave (such a different experience than when I try to sleep at night). At some point, I “woke up” at 1715. Yay for me, I got some sleep, but immediately I remembered this very vivid dream (usually I have vivid dreams, but I can never remember them when I wake up—their just extant distant fleeting images) and just starting sobbing. I will not bore you with the details here (I will probably post it later today), but the emotions were so real. I just sat there and cried for a while, then collected myself. Immediately upon reading your comment, I started laughing so hard, so I want to thank you so much for well-timed response. I needed to laugh right then to get me out that state. Well, I digress yet again…

    I do not know about any vitamins or minerals having different absorption sites. When I went through the iron deficiency three years ago, I went to GNC to get just iron pills (vs. a multi-vitamin) and I do not remember seeing any options that touted alternate absorption sites. I will have to look into that. I do know that B-12 comes in a sublingual version, which will absorb under my tongue, but I would just as soon give myself the shot. It removes the probable yucky taste issue.

    I have watched a couple of episodes of House and absolutely love Hugh Laurie’s character—the humour alone makes it worth watching. I never saw that particular episode, but fits perfectly with his role. What a concept. With the exception of a parking lot fistfight I got into a few years back with three drunken red necks due to my prolific bumper stickers (yeah, I decked one really well and he kissed the ground—the other two just sorta backed away, helped their buddy up and got in their beat up truck peppered with Confederate flags (God, I love living in the South :-/); guys just either stare at me, or just leave me alone. I pay them no attention. However, I still like the idea of beating the shit out of someone with my newly acquired cane…only I’d probably just lose my balance and how cool would that be…lol

    Loved your Chagall reference to the ileostomy (fortunately for me, that isn’t the case with gastric bypass). I am just assuming the whole ataxia thing is vitamin/mineral related since the rest of my fasting blood work reveals that I am medically malnourished (after not eating for about a month now, ya think!). If it was an organic brain malfunction, I am sure it would have turned up before now.

  3. Eeek :-/ Sorry to hear you're so unwell - as if you needed more on your plate. Might fire you off an email about this one actually.

  4. SI, I look forward to getting your emails, as always. Take care, luv. xxx