First, the GREAT news! My chest pain has DISAPPEARED today! Like, this morning it was much less and now it's pretty much gone! AND...drum roll please...I've only coughed blood two times today! The rest of the time it's been blood free!
I went to the pulmonologist and for the first time I feel like someone was really on my side trying to figure this thing out. She assured me that it's not TB (she laughed about the ER's reaction), not a blood clot (although said my symptoms fit that perfectly), and NOT the disease my daddy died from. Praise the Lord for those things!
She talked to me for about 30 minutes and went deep into my own and my family's medical history. She told me we need to tackle the cough and the blood separately, since the cough is old and the blood is new.
What we are HOPING is that the cough is just an allergy thing that is going to be taken care of with an allergy medicine she put me on. She can see my nasal passages are inflamed and she can see "the drip" in the back of my throat. So if all goes well the blood will stop on its own and my cough will stop before I see her in three weeks.
Unfortunately, she also sees that I have a lot of the symptoms associated with a collagen vasculitis disease. Particularly, lupus. You might remember that I've referred to having bad fibromyalgia days on the blog in the past. Well...my fatigue, unexplained joint and muscle pain, the chronic cough, the blood, even the chest pain are all symptoms of a CVD/lupus. So today she took a blood test for that. If it is positive we've got a lot of narrowing down to do to see which CV disease it is, and then come up with a treatment plan. I don't know very much about these group of diseases except that I don't want to have one of them. So let's home for the allergies to be the cause of all of this!
In the mean time, if my cough is still producing blood after three weeks, or if at any time I have more than 2 teaspoons come up, she's going to have to go in and do a _____________. I don't remember the word. It's like an endoscopy (which looks at the esophagus down to small intestine) for your lungs (vocal cords to trachea to lungs). It is an out-patient procedure to see if there are any bleeding lesions along that track.
She did also mention pleurisy (which I believe someone commented about on my blog) as being the possible cause for the chest pain and blood. Pleurisy is another symptom of lupus. =-(
At any rate, I'm going to stop focusing on this now. We've got a plan of action and as long as things don't get worse I will just assume they are getting better. If it's as simple as allergies and a broken blood vessel I will thank the Lord! If it's lupus....well...I will still thank the Lord that I saw this GREAT doctor who is on my side and whom I already have trust in.
P.S. In case anybody is wondering...I can't go forward at all to be Eric's kidney donor until all of this is figured out for sure.
Thursday, September 11, 2008