Lindsay Lohan better get her chikungunya under control or she'll be needing a new hip too. (hey LL, ask your medical team about being treated for 'reactive arthritis'. That's what the doctor in the US said; that they should have treated me right away as a reactive arthritis patient and have physio.
Yup. I suffered that horrible illness in 2008 and have had a roller coaster of a medical ride since.
I found it interesting that when I got the virus I was told that once it's gone (after the fever goes away 7-10 days), you are no longer contagious (transmitted by a mozzie) however, the aches and pains can be (meaning they have no idea) persistant for months and if that doesn't end there... this was my experience: your body can start to attack itself: autoimmune disorder. Can I get a woop woop!?
Now because I have no access to statistics I can't give you exact numbers however my arthritis specialist (I don't test positive for arthritis btw) that I'm seeing tells me that I am not the only one with aftereffects of chikungunya. Every story can vary; I have a client who got chikungunya and said that her knees have been continually bothering her. Another who had waves of aches come and go throughout her body, but nothing settling into any specific joint area.
*Chikungunya (walks like a chicken) makes you feel like your bent and contorted when you are in the initial fever stage. I woke up one morning unable to walk and diagnosed myself with MS - clearly I'm a doctor. Some people have lesser symptoms. I had the extreme aka my medical drama.
When I first got the illness in Singapore, I had gone to emergency, hospitalized for a couple of days and assigned to an infectious disease specialist. I was breast-feeding my daughter Zoie at the time and was told by her pediatrician and a lactation consultant that I could continue breast-feeding her, that it would not transfer to her; in fact it could build up antibodies so she could possibly not get the virus in the future. She never got the virus and so far, knock on wood, has not gotten chikungunya.
That's awesome news for her.
In the meantime, I have seen countless doctors, both in Singapore and the US. I've had second, third, fourth, fifth... gosh I have no idea what the number goes up to you but lots of medical opinions - osteonecrosis was one 'diagnosis' - nope - don't have that.
I finally filtered thorough and settled on doctors in Singapore whom I felt were giving me proper care. But there was something that just wasn't sitting right with me. I was constantly feeling unwell with achy joints and my right hip hurting. The doctors said I just need to rest, to take it easy, not work so much. hmmm. I couldn't just leave it at that. The arthritis specialist had put me on blood thinners, saying that I had developed sticky blood syndrome because of the chikungunya. So here I was at 40 taking blood thinners, along with a ton of other medications and being told to basically live a lethargic lifestyle... at 40. Riiight.
I love my job 25 year career - I ain't sittin' around eating bon bons, lunching and watching Ellen. I'm not judging if you do - I just don't want that for me.
My husband and I discussed me going to the US for a kind of one last ditch medical opinion. Although supportive, he was definitely getting a little frustrated, needless to say as I was too, with the constant flow of medical bills and doctors opinions that always seem to vary. Numerous tests and every doctor wants to add a new one for list... (our medical insurance sucks)
So off I went to the University of Minnesota Hospital to see a team of doctors there for my last and final opinion - that was 2012. (Minneapolis is dope. Love that city! My aunt lives there - she's dope too)
Well, they redid my MRIs on both of my hips since that is where I have most of my pain specifically my right hip (which btw, is getting replaced tomorrow) The scan confirmed a labral tear, some bone cysts, degeneration etc etc... all issues that stemmed after chikungunya. I never full recovered from the 2008 virus.
They also redid all of my blood work. This is interesting.
Funnily enough, I saw a hematologist who asked me where the paperwork was, as it seemed to be missing from the Singapore hematologist. Well I had never even heard of a hematologist before. He says that an arthritis doctor would never diagnose you properly with a blood disorder without consulting the hematologist (blood doctor)... Apparently that's just how it's done.
So he redid my blood work. The doctor said that this so-called sticky blood syndrome that I 'have'... NOPE. I tested negative for the blood disorder that I had been diagnosed with and on blood thinners for; for a year already. He strongly recommended that I get off the blood thinners immediately because I didn't need them and in his opinion, if I continued taking blood thinners I would have most likely been dead within the year. (this is why I have pretty much started calling this whole experience as: my medical drama). I mean gosh-golly-gee renovation nightmare reality shows aren't as bad as this!
So I stopped taking the blood thinners in fact threw them in the trash bin immediately.
Now, I saw an orthopedic surgeon, an arthritis doctor, a hematologist and a boatload of lab technicians in the US all for the grand price of $27,000! The $27,000 was worth paying just to be told that I don't have a blood disorder. Basically my US medical team (just adding to the dramatic affect) saved my life.
So I returned from my US experience, found a new arthritis doctor who connected me with an orthopedic surgeon to consult with, who did my hip arthroscopy last year and tomorrow will be doing my hip replacement, all thanks to a pesky little mosquito who gave me: chikungunya.
Many people have actually asked me what medications that I'm taking, I'm happy to share my list which is :
To add to all the challenges, I had a Steven Johnson syndrome reaction to an NSAID while I was in the hospital in 2008 from the chikungunya which then also put me through a round of drug allergy testing which came out as inconclusive and the doctor said that he has never seen that in his entire career for someone to have inconclusive results so therefore he'd just consider that I'm allergic to them because if you don't know anything about Steven Johnson syndrome, just like the mosquito, it is nasty.
This has been challenging in and on so many levels since 2008, but I'm focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel - and hopefully that light won't be what I'm traveling towards during my surgery tomorrow.
One of the biggest challenges I've had is the fact that I'm 43 and hip replacement surgery is something that you hear about for our grandparents, great aunt Bertha, uncle Harold etc. It's not a procedure that we associate with somebody in their 40s or younger. I know people are trying to help by saying that great-great-grandma had it done and was planting petunias in no time; but that is not helpful to me. It makes me want to hit you with a chair. (living with pain makes people short-tempered)
I've done social media searches for #hipreplacement and I've come across many individuals from ages 25 to 50, an age bracket that is not typical for hip replacement or I guess typical for what we think of. Huge shout out to Janna Mann who has shared her hip story on Insta! See?!? Social media can be used for good! Strangers helping strangers!! Hips across the water!
The day before surgery prep from the top left:
*For those who I told I was having a face-lift, no I am not that was just a joke; but I will seem very well rested because yesterday I went and had topped up my Botox, a little bit of mesotherapy injections and a peel at my favorite Lifestyle Clinic in Singapore. I will definitely be well rested anyway because I am supposed to take it easy for the next month or two, but it's not a face-lift; yet.
Selfie book cover?? Thoughts? (it's a joke - don't really give me thoughts, especially if you are one of those internet trolls)
*And let's talk about this lame headline.... a cold is an incurable virus too. Duh.
*I'm tired and reserve the right to come back to this to make corrections. If there are spelling, grammar errors - can you deal??