Saturday, March 14, 2009

In the land of Uz

I’ve been waiting for this week for a while, but it didn’t bring the answers I’d hoped for. I had my cardiology appointment on Wednesday and got the results back from my second Qualifying Exam yesterday. I was really hoping to pass the QE, and I feel I have the skills to do so, but because of the cognitive problems caused by my Fibro, I often can’t access those skills. It didn't help that I'd just come down with the flu the night before the test. Well, I improved on the sign to voice section of my QE, and passed it, however I actually got a worse score than before on the voice to sign part. Since we have to pass on both parts to get an official Pass, I won’t be able to get an internship or graduate this year. The next opportunity to take the QE is in nine months (we get four total chances to take it).

I have to admit I’m frustrated and discouraged, but I know God has plans. I can see that it was a very good thing I didn’t pass the first QE (no possible chance I could have made it through this term with the addition of an internship--almost didn’t make it as it is), so I know I may look back on this one and see the reasons I didn’t pass. As it is, I’m hoping that I’ll actually be able to take care of myself sufficiently enough to be higher functioning a greater part of the time. This weekend I realized that for the past two terms I’ve been having to spend nine to twelve hours at school (including driving time) everyday. That’s a crazy schedule even for a healthy person. (Because of the specialized program I’m in, I’ve had no control over my schedule.)

Next term will be a little easier since I won’t have the internship. I have my schedule for that term planned out, hopefully with a good balance of rest and continued practice, but I’m not sure what my plan of action will be for over the summer and next year. I need a few more general ed classes for my AA degree, and I need to continue to focus on my interpreting skills, but I think the main key to my success will be to get healthier, and about the only way I can do that is to rest more so my Fibromyalgia symptoms are lessened. I’m praying for guidance as I figure out where God’s leading me for the next year.

Speaking of health, my cardiologist appointment was…interesting. The guy had a rather condescending attitude and I’m quite sure he thought I was 18 and didn’t bother looking at my chart to see that I’m much older than I look. My impression of him didn’t improve when his response to my sign language interpretation studies was, “Oh, then you must work at the blind school.” (believe it or not, that type of comment actually isn’t unusual… but hello, this was a doctor with how many years of schooling??)

Anyway, the cardiologist declared that all my symptoms were simply because I don’t get enough exercise. However, according to my research, it seems that lack of exercise can’t cause heart irregularities. Exercise might help some heart conditions, but lack of it doesn’t cause them. I will be getting a second opinion, but now that my schedule will be getting a little closer to sane, I’ll go ahead and try to add in swimming a few times a week. I’ve heard it often helps Fibro as well as some heart issues.

I suspect my heart issues are actually caused by Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which actually isn’t a heart problem, but more of problem with the way the brain communicates with the circulation system. Basically the body has trouble regulating blood circulation, especially when standing, and therefore the brain doesn’t have enough blood. Apparently it’s fairly common for people with Fibro to also have POTS, and unfortunately some of the symptoms are the same. That means if I have it, I’m getting a double dose of debilitating fatigue, cognitive problems, and sleep disorders. Next week I go to my doctor for a prescription sleep med, so I’m hopeful that will help things a little.

*Title from Job 1:1