My Journey to the Science of Anatomy (Part 1)

ajourney to healthnatomy: noun the science dealing with the structure of animals and plants

I had to learn early on in life if I was going to maintain health, I was going to have to become my own body’s scientist.

Permit me to tell my story.

In my early teens (13 to be exact), we didn’t have a whole lot of money. Visits to the doctor required a trip to the local state run clinic. Back then in Florida, a physical was required each year to be eligible for school registration. In preparation for 8th Grade, I made the annual trip to the local clinic for the required physical.

One of the tests they administered was the standard 4 prong tuberculosis (TB) test. Keep in mind this was way back in the mid 70’s, so TB was something they worried about. Turns out, I tested positive to that test. Since I had been in contact with someone who had TB, the doctor said another test was needed. This test was administered under the skin. Again, that test indicated positive results.

The next step? Since TB is a lung disease, a chest x-ray was ordered.

Now this is where the fun starts. The chest x-ray came back inconclusive, or so they said. Much later in life I learned the x-ray was actually considered negative, but that is another story.

The doctor who had diagnosed the TB prescribed a very powerful medication as treatment for the supposed TB. This medication had powerful side effects, especially for children and I suffered from most of them.

The year I entered 8th grade my health took a dive.

This medication treatment plan required twice a week blood tests.

What were they testing for? Liver function. Seems this medication can pose a major hardship on the liver requiring twice a week tests and monitoring my liver’s health.

That should have been red flag number one.

About three to four months into taking this particular medication, I started developing vicious headaches including vomiting. The headaches were debilitating causing me to miss school. This was unusual because before this, I was rarely ill enough to miss school.

Off to the doctors, again. And yes, it was same clinic. This time I had a different doctor. Since my pattern for throwing up was only in the mornings, he asked my sister (while I was in the room) if I had an active sex life.

My sister saw the shock on my face that he would even ask that question and knowing I couldn’t fake that horrified expression; it convinced her that wasn’t the issue. However, she gave permission for a pregnancy test in order to prove it was out of the question and wasn’t the reason for my headaches or vomiting.

When the pregnancy test results came back negative, the only other diagnosis he provided for the headaches was migraines and there was nothing to be done for them. He told us they can appear with the onset of puberty even though he had been told my puberty started at ten and a half (over 3 years earlier). Nevertheless, he convinced us my symptoms were hormonally caused and sent us on our way.

That should have been red flag number two!

So here I am suffering, making myself go to school, dealing with getting poked and prodded twice a week for blood tests; and then, around the 6 month mark of this TB medication fiasco, allergies start making their way into my life.

Before all this, I was mostly allergy free. Suddenly, I had allergies to anything and everything. Cats, mold, dust, grass, pollen, foods, milk … you name it; I was allergic to it. My allergies manifested in two distinct ways; hives (through the skin) and miserable typical allergy reactions, most often affecting my eyes and nose.

If I walked on grass, hives would develop and feel like they were eating at my feet. If I was exposed to cats, my eyes would swell shut. If there was a rain storm? Heaven forbid. The next few days as I would be majorly congested.

Enter red flag number three!

As you can see, life during my 13th-14th year was pretty horrific. Little did I know that a medication was slowly destroying my body from the inside out.

Fortunately, there is a brighter side to this story … the saga continues next Monday in Part 2.

5 Comments on My Journey to the Science of Anatomy (Part 1)

  1. becky says:

    Really,,,,,i just got into reading this. That’s just not fair Biz to make us wait. I feel like i’m watching a soap opera and they cut away to stay tuned for the next day!! 😉 (unfortunately it was your real life! 🙁 ) I can’t imagine. My mom had TB when I was young and they would stick them out in the winter with blankets in their beds for the day thinking it would help heal them. She was in the sanitarium for 2 years when I was 18 months old and could not even have a visit with me. That was her 2nd time since she also had at only 9 years old. Don’t know if its considered having twice of flare up twice on TB. Not a good thing at all….

  2. Kathleen says:

    Wow, the cure is often worse than the sickness! That’s a tough time of life anyway…made so much worse :/ I watched my grandmother suffer with side effects caused by medicine after medicine prescribed for symptoms that were caused by the last medicine!

  3. Joan Meador says:

    My Uncle, Mom’s brother, had TB and also suffered from alcoholism. When he got TB they stuck him in a sanatorium for the mentally ill for a couple years. They did electric shock treatments on him and I am sure many other things. He eventually did get back home but was never the same and died young. When Mom and Dad would go see him they made us wait in the car, doors locked. I was young, my sister and brother younger…and the scenario looking around the grounds from the car reminds me of the show The Walking Dead now… not exactly, but you get the picture, it was very scary to us… the patients/inmates that were allowed out on the grounds all had that wandering zombie look. OK, I got off track but these are the memories your post brought back…. Sorry you had to go thorough this.

  4. Regina says:

    I agree with Becky! I was really getting into the story and can hardly wait for the next part!

    Unfortunately your kind of misdiagnosis happens quite frequently. There are some great doctors out there, and for the most part, are needed. However, too often we run to the doctor instead of running to whole, healthy foods!

  5. Linda Wilson says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Biz! I can’t even imagine going through this at that age or all those allergies that crept up on you. I sometimes wonder about medications myself. I try to avoid them or take as little as I can. I took my mom off some of her medications and told her dr who then ordered labs and said mom was doing just fine without those. They keep adding to the grocery list of medications the elderly take but never seem to re-evaluation them to see if they still need them. They were causing my mom not to eat and unable to taste her food. It took a long time to get out of her system but she can taste foods again.

    I can’t wait to hear the rest of your story.

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