Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What's going on?

I get a little concerned when I sleep too much. I know that may seem like an odd thing to say, but anytime I "over" sleep, eventually I end up really, really sick. Like meningitis sick.

I happen to have suffered with at least 3 bouts of this viral infection. Apparently, like mono, if under large amounts of stress or anything else that can lower the immune system, it can "reappear."  My doctor and I discussed it, and apparently, since I had chicken pox at an older age. That virus is also a trigger for allowing  my immune system to accept the meningitis. Since I am not a doctor, it's hard to explain. Apparently, we all come into contact with these germs/viruses/bacteria etc, every day. However our immune system can fight it off.. apparently mine cannot.

Each time I have ended up with this (and a stint in the hospital,) it always starts off the same: muscle tightness in my back and neck that will not break, headaches that start off as if they were sinus headaches, then dizziness, followed by a few days where I want to do nothing but sleep.

I just woke up from a 4 hour nap. I went to bed last night at 8:30pm.

I never nap. I never go to bed early.

I was sooo tense today, I finally popped a mild muscle relaxer a little while ago. I left a tv station today and almost lost my balance from dizziness. My head has a dull ache. I feel like crap.

Maybe it's just stress, but man - does this all feel familiar.

Maybe my body is fighting something off.

Whatever it is, vacation needs to get here and quick. Sounds like I need some time off.

Here it is 10pmish, and just woke up.. and I could easily head right back to sleep.

Just to educate you on what I am dealing with:
Source - Meningitus Foundation of America -

Mollaret's Meningitis
Mollaret described a syndrome, rather than a disease, of benign recurrent meningitis with characteristic spinal fluid picture in 1944. In 1962, Byrum proposed the clinical diagnostic criteria of:
Recurrent episodes of severe headache, meningismus, and fever

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pleocytosis with large "endothelial" cells, neutrophils, and lymphocytes

Attacks separated by symptom-free periods of weeks to months

Spontaneous remission of symptoms and signs

No causative etiologic agent detected
Then in 1979, Goldi observed that Mollaret's meningitis could occur without fever, have symptom-free periods from days to years, increased CSF gamma globulin, and transient neurologic signs and symptoms.
Mollaret's meningitis is characterized by repeated episodes of fever (up to 104 degrees F), meningismus, and severe headache separated by symptom-free intervals. It's a rare, poorly understood disorder, whose cause remains obscure and its diagnosis by exclusion. Even though Mollaret's meningitis doesn't pose a threat to patients, its early recognition may prevent the repeated extensive diagnostic investigations.
Long-term transient neurologic abnormalities such as seizures, diplopia, pathologic reflexes, cranial nerve paresis, hallucinations, and comas occur in over 50% of cases.

The most difficult to differentiate from Mollaret's meningitis is the aseptic recurrent meningitis caused by epidermoid tumors. The cyst ruptures and the contents, which become hard to find, contain cell debris and ghost cells identical to those seen in the CSF of patients with Mollaret's meningitis. Associated viral infection is often suspected but seldom confirmed. Viruses that have been associated with Mollaret's meningitis include Epstein-Barr virus (something that people who have experienced mono typically had as a child, and did not know it,) Coxsackie viruses B5 and B2 (typical virus in the digestive system in children,) echoviruses 9 and 7 (another gastro-instestinal virus children can pick up and is common,) and herpes simplex viruses (types 1 & 2, plus, the virus that causes chicken pox and shingles.) 



Fever (below normal)


Stiff neck

Muscle aches


Individual attacks are sudden with symptoms reaching maximum intensity within a few hours. They persist for a few days, but can be present for 3 weeks. Symptoms can reoccur for years then disappear as quickly as they arrive.

What is meningitus? Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment, while bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Before the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, but new vaccines being given to all children as part of their routine immunizations have reduced the occurrence of invasive disease due to H. influenzae. Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.

At the end of the day - don't worry. I am not self-diagnosing, I am just being self-aware. When the constant sleep reappears, and some of the other symptoms, I know I need to take it easy.

Again - stress, according to the Infectious Disease team at UAB - is a trigger for this.

Luckily - vacation is a just a few days away. I am just trying to be calm until then.

PS - The past two days have been lovely, then again - in the evening, I slept through most of it!


The Bipolar Diva said...

Oh Nicole, I hope you're not getting sick, Sending good thoughts your way!

Anonymous said...

Get plenty of rest and let your body try to heal itself. Take care of yourself! ~Hugs, M

TV's Take said...

YOu do know your pretty much never supposed to do medical research online. It almost always tells you that your seriously ill or on the steps of death.

Leanne said...

Thinking of you. Listen to your body. Give it what it needs.

The comment from TV's Take above cracked me up - she's funny).


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