In this case the “machine” I'm talking about is my own body and I definitely need to rage a little! I don’t know what else you can feel when you go to your doctor and he says “I usually see this in 80+yr olds!” or “You are telling me odd stories here…” Seriously? I love my doctors, I really do. Well… maybe not my Nuc med doc because he made me super sick but it was all in the name of killing cancer so I guess I will at least like the guy.
Anyway, I've been detailing my newest issues which I've been convinced are due to my radiation. Today I went to the Otolaryngologist or ENT doctor to find out what he had to say regarding the whole dry mouth/parotid swelling issue. He orders me a CT scan and says, “I’m just the anatomy guy. If we don’t find something anatomically wrong on the scan you will be seeing a rheumatologist.”
‘Scuse me, back up please, what?!
From what I know, rheumatologist treat arthritis and lupus patients. According to Wikipedia the all-knowing, rheumatologists deal mainly with diseases of the joints, soft tissues, and connective tissues. Ok so my picture pretty much fits, so why the heck is he thinking a rheumatologist?! In 2 words: Sjogren’s Syndrome.
Sjogren’s syndrome has the hallmark symptoms of dry mouth and dry eyes but is a systemic disease in which your white blood cells attack your moisture producing glands. According to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, “Sjögren’s may also cause dysfunction of other organs such as the kidneys, gastrointestinal system, blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and the central nervous system. Patients may also experience extreme fatigue and joint pain and have a higher risk of developing lymphoma.” Some other symptoms are:
- Dry Eyes
- Dry Mouth
- Dry lips
- Change in taste or smell
- Joint pain
- Dry Nose & recurrent sinusitis
- Concentration/memory loss (brain fog)
- Dry Skin & Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Upset stomach & other gastric problems
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Difficulty swallowing & GERD
- Recurrent lung infections
- Arthritis, muscle pain
- Liver problems
Soooo I have all the ones above that are italicized. Most of them I have attributed to my thyroid issues and/or treatment. Since there is no definitive test for this, we have to wait out the results of my CT and decide on an action plan from there. If there isn’t anything anatomically wrong, I expect many more blood tests as well as many more doctor visits.
Updates sure to come… CT scan is tomorrow afternoon!