Chronicle XIII: Hope

My chronic illness saga continues…

Last week, I broke my “record” of the most amount of times in the Emergency Room totaling a whopping three times in seven days. It all started with numbness in my left arm when I was trying to sleep. It felt like a dead weight and like all of the blood was rushing down to my hand. The ER couldn’t figure out what was wrong (naturally) and sent me on my way.

Then, two days later I began with horrible chest pain, upper-mid back pain, nausea and pain radiating down my left arm. Now, I am no stranger to chest and back pain, but the pain radiating down my arm was something brand new. Again, the ER couldn’t figure out what was wrong, as they said I hadn’t had a heart attack or a blood clot (thank God). Thus, I was sent on my way – still in pain, but I decided to deal with it.

Fast forward to a few days later, I came down with burning chest pain, burning/stabbing upper back pain and shortness of breath. I ended up in the ER for the third time where they ran a wealth of tests. I figured I would be sent home after everything came back normal, but to my dismay, my D-Dimer (a blood test they use to test for blood clots) came back strikingly high at 2,045 when it was only 240 a few days prior. The doctors rushed me into a CTA (Computed tomography angiography) of my chest to check for clots in my lungs. Luckily, there was no evidence of clots in my lungs which means the D-Dimer was alarmingly high with no explanation. Other things can elevate a D-Dimer like inflammation, infection and even malignancy. They think in my case, I was in the middle of a “flare” (a flare from what, you ask? Not a single idea).

I followed up with my Primary Care Doctor a day after who ran tons of blood work and she re-checked my D-Dimer level. It had gone back down to normal (below 500) which was a good sign. However, I continue to have chest and back pain and not a single soul can tell me why.

Some have asked me: “Jacki, where do you go from here? What’s next?”

My answer: Your guess is as good as mine.  

The mystery of my body becomes more complex by the day. Hope continues to slip through my fingers a bit more as time moves forward, but I keep hanging on, even if it means I must hang onto a single thread. Hope is what keeps me going.

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” – Tom Bodett


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