28 December 2005

Abnormal sounds about right

I had mixed feelings, looking at the lab results from yesterday. On the one hand, it's a little sobering to look at the 30 tests they ran and notice that 18 of them came back outside the normal range, especially when the abnormal results include important stuff like oxygen.

On the other hand, I've been putting up with the skepticism of doctors for a few decades now, who looked at my normal results on standard tests and clearly didn't believe my litany of what they call "non-specific" symptoms. It was validating, having finally figured out the right tests to run, and getting results something like I expected.

So what the results say is that I'm in respiratory alkalosis, due to my exhaling too much carbon dioxide. (Sorry about any additional global warming I'm causing.) This might be because my body is too acidic, causing me to get rid of CO2 in an attempt to make the pH normal. But the lung doc thinks it's due to sarcoidosis. He's put me on prednisone "just to see", something I resisted mightily, as prednisone has a bad side-effect profile (including such nasties as diabetes, arthritis, cataracts, and osteoporosis). It's also addicting. Besides, there's no evidence that it provides anything but symptomatic relief, and some evidence that it prolongs and worsens the course of the disease. So we compromised on a week at moderate doses, at which point we'll rerun the tests and see what changes.

One thing I'm excited about is that this condition may have reduced the blood flow to my brain by as much as half; thus, if it can be effectively treated, I might once again be able to think properly. It's nice, having a little hope after so long despairing.

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