hOly stress test, Batman, what’s the answer nOw?

About a year ago, I wrote my forth blog post, titled hOly rOadrunner, Batman, it is valley fever! At that time, it was a huge relief to finally be able to name why I had been so sick for over a year, and to begin healing. Now, another year later, Batman doesn’t think it’s valley fever anymore, and I am once again searching for an answer.

Every doctor I have seen has told me that a negative Valley Fever blood test doesn’t rule it out. Why now does Dr. Galgianni (aka Batman) say that he doesn’t think I have VF because my blood tests have all been negative???

Has the Joker finally taken over Gotham City?

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In an effort to get a definitive diagnoses, my husband and I decided it was best to make an appointment at the Mayo Clinic here in Arizona. Even though it is out of our insurance network, we thought if anyone could help us, the doctors there could. So in early March, with high hopes and two years worth of test results in hand, we headed to the Mayo Clinic.

My appointment was with Dr. Doug Peterson, and as we were called in, we were told he liked to initially see the patient alone. The nurse said she would bring John in later. All too quickly I override my alarm bells, and agree to going in alone. Have I mentioned I’m a slow learner?

I am a huge believer in having an advocate with you at all times when dealing with doctors, but this is the Mayo Clinic, and they know best, right?! WRONG! Fifteen minutes into the appointment I ask to have my husband join us. The doctor talked me out of it by saying he just wants to get to know me. He worried that John might talk too much and take over the appointment. Even though none of that is true, I again override my needs and agree with the doctor. (Okay, I’m a slow learner AND a delayed reactor.)

I’m not saying Dr. Peterson wasn’t smart, he was just also arrogant, controlling and selfish.

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The goal of going to the Mayo was to rule out any serious conditions that we might have missed over the last two years. So last week, I  had a nuclear stress test and an echocardiogram to make sure my symptoms were not being caused by coronary artery disease. My father died of a massive heart attack at the age of 64, (ack! I’m less than 10 years from that age!) and I sure don’t want to take my heart health for granted.

all hOOked up and ready fOr the treadmill!

all hOOked up and ready fOr the treadmill!

20140324-222836.jpg After secretly hoping they would find something that would explain the symptoms I have had over the last 25 months, I am very happy to report that all heart tests, breathing tests and blood work are normal!

All catastrophic conditions have been ruled out, and that truly is a very good thing! In this moment, I am extremely grateful for my body and love that I am still in pretty good shape! image

With the knowledge that I am dealing with a chronic condition, and not something that is going to cause me to drop dead in my tracks, I next went to my acupuncturist, Mary Papa. She is an amazingly gifted practitioner and healer, and has helped me tremendously over the last 18 months. I knew she could help clear the radioactive medicine from my body, and continue to support me in moving forward with love, gratitude and wisdom.

yes, that is my ear. pretty cOOl, huh?!

yes, that is my ear. pretty cOOl, huh?!

So in an instant of clarity, with needles still in my ear, I realized that although I still really like Batman, I don’t need him to save me! I am, after all, Catwoman! Catwoman, if you remember, is very resourceful, agile, empathic and extremely skilled at evading capture. So now that I have remembered who I am, I will NOT allow this illness, Batman, or any doctor for that matter, to stop me from believing in myself or being who I really am! There! I said it.

sexy, strOng wOman with attitude❤️

sexy, strOng wOman with attitude❤️

As I move forward, I have recommitted to knowing and listening to myself like never before. The truth is, I know a lot about myself, what I need, and who to trust. I just need to get better at hearing and listening to my wise inner voice when she says, “That’s not going to work for me.” When I am able to say those words in the moment I need to, I will be dancing in the street! Keep an eye out for me!

After experiencing a very specific set of symptoms over the last 26 months, extensively researching Valley Fever and other chronic fatigue conditions, and ruling out all acute conditions, I am convinced I have been dealing with VF all along. Just like viral illnesses that become chronic fatigue conditions, I believe VF can become a chronic fatigue type illness, too. Just because Western medicine doesn’t know what to do with those of us with these conditions, doesn’t mean it isn’t real. I will continue to educate, research and advocate for Valley Fever patients and their families, as it is just the right thing to do.

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I will leave you with a few images of our beautiful desert blooms and fountain, and a couple new vickiO creations inspired by the interesting and amazing path I find myself on.

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Be gentle. Be brave. Be true.

lOve, vickiO

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13 comments

  1. Julie

    Hi VickiO!! Yea! I am so glad to hear that you have been able to put yourself at ease with your visit to mayo clinic. I too have felt the dissconnection with some of the medical field….and it is sad. We are human and Dr.’s are not God but geez…. at least show some compassion! How are you feeling now? I hope your health will take off in a new direction and you will be your energetic self again! Your awesome spirit and outlook has darn well given me hope girl, dont stop now!!!!

    Thank you for your beautiful pics and information and just opening up about your experience. I’ve told my sis in Michigan about you and she has no ties to VF, but likes to look at your work!

    I am still dealing with the unknown, they said I test positive for arthritis now… so off to the rheumatologist. I just ran a 5k 3 months ago so this IS really new for me. Not able to get myself out of bed, swollen ankles and knees, joint pain like crazy, could not even fix my daughters hair one morning, nauseous and weak. I want myself back!!!!!

    I WILL not give my last bits of energy to this so called VF garbage! I WILL feel better and so will you!!!!

    You take good care of yourself Vicki and please keep me posted, I will do the same.

    P.S Love the characters and their roles….lol

    Friends forever through life experiences…. sending a big HUG!

    Julie

    • vickioart

      Oh, Julie, thank you for your wonderful and sweet message! I so feel for you as you begin navigating this mysterious, maddening and challenging disease. Did you see Dr. Galgianni? Was he helpful?

      I haven’t had the joint problems you are having, but I know many people do. It is so challenging to go from being healthy and active, to not being able to get out of bed. Very shocking, I know! And I’m so sorry. The effects hit on all levels, too – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. I totally relate to wanting your life back. This road takes a tremendous amount of patience – beyond anything I have ever experienced. Continue to believe in yourself and be as gentle with yourself as you can❤️

      My last 2 1/2 weeks have been “better”, but after 9 holes of golf on Sunday I’m feeling the nausea and fatigue again. Trying not to freak out. WWCWD – what would Catwoman do? So happy to still have my sense of humor : )

      I will stay in touch☀️
      Friends forever through life experiences (love this!)
      Vicki

  2. Peggy bell. I love all your new creations, great gift items!

    You are truly an amazing woman and friend!!!!!!!?
    YOu gO girl, gO!!!!
    LOve YOu, Peggy

  3. Lisa M.

    Hey CatWOman! Your “voice” is as entertaining as your words are inspiring and informative! Love it! The key is that you are still being your own advocate and are no where near throwing in the towel! HOly mysteries!! The answer to yOur mystery lies out there somewhere, just hopefully not at the depths of the Indian Ocean and the answers to the mystery of Malaysia 370! But, your “flight” will take you to greater heights not depths!! You go girl!

    • vickioart

      I lOve your voice and wise words, too!! The Mysteries of the Deep – Chapter 27… So happy we can laugh (and cry) through all of Life’s mysteries. Love you!

  4. Carol Wallin

    Hi Vicki, Thank you for the update. I am sure you feel you could write a book by now! I don’t know how you have dealt with the frustration and anxiety, but I am glad to hear you are taking charge of things. Just know you’re in my thoughts and prayers. Sent with love, Carol

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