Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mumps...a continuation of the story

I touched a bit on this in yesterday's post, but thought I'd give it a bit more attention.

Last week I noticed some considerable swelling in my face. At first, I thought I must be gaining weight again. Oh yuck! I hate when it starts to show in my face. So I started back on my air walker, determined to nip this weight gain in the bud. The next day, I noticed more swelling. By Wednesday, I knew something was wrong. I looked in the mirror and could not see my ears! Scary stuff.

So I did what most of us, who are addicted to our social media sites, do and I posted something on Facebook. I thought surely someone would offer a diagnosis. Of those someones, was my doctor's wife who finally suggested I be seen by a certain someone. Wise advice.

The next day, I was off to the doctor's office. He looked a little baffled. By appearance, it was the mumps. But I didn't have a fever and besides, "Where did you get the mumps?" was the question he posed to me. I guess this is an illness not often seen anymore. Although, to be fair to my FB buddies, it was suggested by more than a few.

Mumps. Imagine that. But, to be safe, he sent me for blood work for a variety of conditions and chest x-rays to see if any of my lymph nodes in my chest were swollen.

As of today, I don't have an actual diagnosis, so I'm working with the assumption that I have mumps. Of course, I turned to the handy-dandy Internet for answers. Sure sounds like mumps. Sure looks like mumps.

Here's what I found out. Mumps is not extremely problematic in and of itself. Unless you make a living using your voice, like I do. Then it can interfere with life a bit. Or unless you work outside of your home, like many of you do. You see, this is a highly contagious disease for people who are not immune, so isolation is a necessity. And mumps can produce some pretty serious complications. Like deafness. Not a good option for a voice over talent. Meningitis, encephalitis, mastitis and pancreatitis. Wow, that's a lot of itises!  And swelling of the testicles, which can lead to sterility. Whew, there's one I don't have to worry about. Oh wait, the female side of that...inflammation of the ovaries. Oh please no. I've had nearly a lifetime of painful ovarian cysts. I really don't want to experience a go round with more pain down there. The odds are good, though. Only one in ten women with mumps end up with infected ovaries. So far, so good.

Here's what I am experiencing: a headache...constant, unforgiving head pain; slight jaw pain, like you get when you clench your teeth for too long; vague dizziness -- I just can't stay on my feet for too long; eye pain, which makes reading or working on my computer for extended periods of time quite uncomfortable; general malaise. Oh, and let's not forget the lovely chipmunk look that's becoming fashionable in my office these days. The swelling is ridiculous...the parotid glands -- above the jaw, in front of the ears. I'm glad I have long layered hair so I can curl it forward to cover up the hideousness of it all. Not that anyone is seeing me other than my husband.

Why am I telling you all of this? To alert you to the dangers of a disease most people I've talked to thought was eradicated. With all the debate over whether or not to get your children immunized, I think it is important to look at both sides of the issue. There are some real dangers out there for children who are not immunized.

Now before some of you jump all over me about the dangers of the immunizations themselves, this post isn't taking a side either way. Like I said, do your research. All I can say is that I was with my 28-month-old granddaughter before I knew what I had and after finding out how dangerous mumps is (if that is indeed what I have), I was quite thankful she had been immunized against it. I was also with my 6-month-old grandson, but since he is breastfed, there is little to worry about there, as his natural immunities should protect him.

Mumps was a pretty scary disease before children started getting vaccinated. Most cases of meningitis were caused by mumps, and many times it resulted in deafness. As a matter of fact, before the vaccine, it was the most common cause of deafness. Boys who had mumps often developed orchitis, which, in addition to causing intense pain in the testicles, often resulted in sterility.

Unvaccinated pregnant women who are exposed to the mumps virus are in danger of losing their babies.

I am laying low, staying home, and hoping for the best. Mumps runs its course in 1 - 2 weeks. I'm ten days into it now and am looking for signs of improvement. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any as of yet. But tomorrow's another day, and barring any complications, I'll be bouncing back in no time.

Think I'll inhale a spritz or two of some Happy Mama Spray and go lie down.

Have a blessed day.


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