I'm Not Dr. House, But I Know Someone Who Is.
December 18, 2010 6:14 AM   Subscribe

YANAD, but do you know of an excellent diagnostician in the Boston area (or you've had similar symptoms and you think you know a specialist)?

For someone who takes pretty good care of herself, I've completely run up on the rocks in the past 6 months and all I want is a diagnosis already.

I'm 46, exercise and eat right. No health problems.

Over the past 10 years, I've had maybe 6 episodes of massive abdominal distention, queasiness and pain which self-resolve over a period of 2 weeks. Nothing came of it, test-wise.

Recent annoying examples of my body betraying me:

6 months ago, I start having bloating, abdominal distention, exhaustion, diarrhea, weight gain. I ignore it, figuring it's one of those episodes that will resolve.

3 months ago had what felt like ovarian cyst burst (sharp pain lasting a few hours), MRI and CT scan showed nothing scary but noted small bowel malapsortion indicative of Celiac disease damage.

1 Celiac blood test is normal; 2nd panel indicates borderline.

Gastro doc says go with Celiac diagnosis says to go gluten and dairy free and I feel better. But I have put on 18 pounds in 3 months despite no dietary/exercise changes with the exception of removing gluten and dairy. I'm not substituting with gluten-free cookies or anything like that.

Now throw in...this coincides with months of jaw pain. But then my hands start tingling and the jaw really starts to scream in pain. Dentist thinks grinding; GP thinks Shingles (the kind without a rash, puts me on anti-virals).

2 weeks ago still with jaw pain, endodontist sees dead molar and infection in jaw. She thinks the infection has been there for a long time. 4 hour procedure, 2 rounds of antibiotics. She says the tooth erupted in blood and pus when she opened it. Jaw now feels better.

Because I still have ovarian-area discomfort (and my periods are coming every 3 weeks or every 7 weeks), I see GP who sends me to endocrinologist.

Endo says maybe hormonal wackiness or thyroid wackiness. Notes CT and MRI scans show no ovary issue but notes: tingling fingers, red scaly patches on my temples, appearance of slightly tan-looking skin, bloated abdomen, face and feet puffiness, need to buy reading glasses 3 weeks ago for the first time ever, continued exhaustion and some brain fogginess.

Thinks possibly unrelated but notes weird sensitivity in spot behind left ear (same side as now-resolved jaw pain) that feels like the pinch you get when you wear ill-fitting glasses (but I don't wear glasses, even those new readers) that has now slowly traveled down my neck to my shoulder. On a 1-10 scale, it's around a 2; I know it's there but it's not bad.

Orders blood/saliva tests. Waiting for results.

What the hell is going on here? Jaw, stomach, weight gain?

What's I'm hoping to read here is someone who says, "Oh, yeah sounds like ___ and this is the kind of doc you should see," or "Sounds nuts and you should see this doc in Boston who can help figure the whole nonsense out."

I'm just tired of being tired.
posted by dzaz to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
I am not a doctor, would guess you are on the right track with going to an endocrinologist to check for low thyroid, adrenal problems maybe. In my case, my low thyroid problem was very borderline (to the extent that a lot of people would not treat it), but when I arm twisted my doctor into giving me thyroid medication, I felt a hundred times better and a lot of medical/physical wackiness resolved itself. The other thing to do is make sure they test your vitamin B12 levels if they have not already (i.e. check for Pernicious Anemia), and investigate Polycystic ovary syndrome as well. Good luck, I know how frustrating it can be not to feel good and not to know the cause.
posted by gudrun at 6:34 AM on December 18, 2010

I would recommend seeing a rheumatologist. They are the detectives of the medical world. Go to an academic medical center.
posted by sulaine at 7:26 AM on December 18, 2010

Dr. Alex Bingham at Visions Medical Center in Wellesley is an amazing functional medicine specialist. Dr. Kari Emsbo, at the same practice, is also very strong in functional medicine and wellness.

But yeah, you need to see a rheumatologist. What did the endocrinologist's testing show about your adrenal functions? I mean, it sounds like your cortisol levels must be nuts, considering the sudden weight gain and the skin changes and so on.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:31 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

The jaw pain from a tooth infection is probably completely unrelated to your other symptoms.

It sounds like you just need to follow up with your endocrinologist. When you have a lot of nonspecific symptoms like this, it can be much tougher to make a diagnosis quickly or without the help of lab tests... just give them time.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:46 PM on December 18, 2010

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