The other day, I was driving home from work and I had a sudden pain in my eye. It felt like something was in between my eye and eyelid. Something gritty, like sand. I got home and plucked my contacts out. When I looked closely at my eye, I noticed it looked irritated and there was a little "crud" gathering at the corner. I pulled the "crud out" and it turned out to be an inch long, thick strand of eye mucus.
The next morning, I woke up and my eyelids were just about glued together thanks to the eye gunk.
The sclera of my eye was hot pink and I could see the tiny blood vessels crossing my eye and reaching out in all directions. I figured I had the contagious type of pink eye (discharge = contagious) so I called in sick (I work with special needs children) and made an appointment with my eye doctor.
After careful examination, my eye doctor told me that I didn't have pink eye. I had "extreme dry eye" and that my body was treating the inflammation as if it were infection. I told her I had been experiencing dry eyes frequently, but not something this bad. She said, "you get dry eyes frequently? well we need to do something about that." I said, "yeah, I get dry eyes and dry mouth. I even had to have a salivary gland removed because it was gettin' all crazy." She gave me a serious look. I said, "So are you thinking I have Sjogren's?"
I knew all about Sjogren's syndrome ever since my first co-worker was diagnosed with it a few years ago. I had another co-worker diagnosed with Sjogren's shortly thereafter.
"Sjögren's syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands. Today, as many as 4 million Americans are living with this disease."- Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation.
I had to wear glasses for a week, so I took this cheesy "eye-commercialesque" selfie
My eye doctor told me to get myself to a Rheumatologist to confirm a Sjogren's diagnosis and to see if I had Rheumatoid Arthritis, which can co-occur with Sjogren's.
But, before I could make that appointment, I had to visit a new back doctor guy. My general practitioner set me up with this new guy. After questioning and examining me, new guy dropped a bomb on me, ya'll! He said, "I don't think all of this pain is from your neck. I believe it's from your left shoulder. Let's get an MRI and a nerve conduction study to be sure."
I'm treading lightly here, not wanting to fall through the thin ice of false hope and into the frigid waters of disappointment. But, I can't help but think "what if it is my shoulder and they can fix it and then I become pain free?" Immediately after thinking such thoughts I try to stifle them. I shove them deep down as far back into my mind as they will go.
I've had my high hopes trampled on before, you see.
So now I wait for the MRI people to call me for an appointment. Ugh.,. I am also waiting for the Nerve Conduction people to call me. I am NOT looking forward to that. I've had that done before and it was torture.
So, that's where I am right now.
Possible autoimmune disorder
Possible shoulder problems
How crazy is it that three co-workers, who spend a lot of time together, have the same autoimmune disorder? The 4th co-worker had thyroid problems (another autoimmune issue). We all drink the same, bottled water from the water cooler.
Somebody call Erin Brockovich.