Thursday, September 06, 2007

Difficult Days

Hello Friends,

Please excuse my continued absence from my blog. The Duke, the alien, and I are making our way through some difficult days.

Three weeks ago I presented with some kind of strange symptoms, my legs were jerking back and forth keeping me from getting good sleep. We originally thought it was probably a bad electrolyte imbalance and acted accordingly. The movements continued to get stronger despite carefully following my doctor (and ever vigilant pharmacist-husband's) suggestions. On Tuesday, after I had gone over 36 hours without sleep, the Duke called my doctor and asked for a same day appointment. He carefully examined my legs and asked about the movements. He said he had never seen anything like this and referred me to a neurologist.

On Wed. I went to see the neurologist. After a very thorough and most unusual exam he diagnosed me with a pregnancy related disorder called Chorea Gravidarum. The reason my OB had never seen it is because it is very rare, only reported in 1 per every 139,000 pregnancies.

Lucky me. Maybe I should think about buying a lottery ticket.

It isn't dangerous to me or to the baby unless the condition leads to dehydration, malnutrition, disturbed sleep, or injury. It should go away no later than two weeks after I deliver. We are hoping it goes away sooner. It is treatable, but the treatment is potentially harmful to the baby, so naturally, they prefer to not treat it if the patient can tolerate it.

Again, lucky me.

In the mean time I was instructed that it would not be near a painful if I didn't try to resist the movements. That is easier said than done, especially when it moved into my lower back and arms. It is true it isn't as painful, but it is very distressing to have you body move violently without you telling it too.

Also, as Chorea is a symptom of several diseases (it is a syndrome, not a disease) I am now being subjected to a battery of tests for a list of scary sounding illnesses. Chorea has been known to show up randomly in pregnancy with no apparent underlying cause. That is what we are hoping for, and what my family and medical history suggest. The neurologist just, naturally, wants to rule out anything else.

So this morning I went for an MRI of my brain. They asked me if I am claustrophobic. I told them no, as I have never felt fear of small spaces before. I was wrong. Let me suggest that if you ever need to have an MRI, don't open you eyes, not even for a quick peek. That machine is very large looking from the outside, and so you would think that the inside would be at least half that big. That's what I thought anyway. No, it's very very very small. The wall is just inches from your face. Just keep you eyes closed and let your brain believe that the cylinder you are in is much bigger than it actually is.

The MRI was also very distressing to the poor alien. Both the doctor and the technician assured me repeatedly that the MRI was not dangerous to the baby (they didn't use any dye.) The technician, however, told me that he (baby) would likely react during the scans because they are very loud (I had headphones on.) He was right. The poor little alien must have been scared out of his wits. I have never felt the little guy kick so hard and he kept it up nearly the entire time. I felt so bad for him and I couldn't even comfort him by patting my belly, as you have to hold still during the scans. Poor little alien.

Tomorrow we go in for blood draws three and four. Monday we will see the neurologist to get the results of everything.

You can see that knitting, spinning, and blogging have been moved a few rungs down on my priority ladder for the time being, so blog posts may be more scarce for a while. Hopefully I'll be back sooner rather than latter.

In the mean time, if you can spare a happy thought, a little extra karma, or some good juju, we wouldn't mind if you sent it our way.

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