first of all let me apologize for any grammatical or punctuation errors that may be in this blog, I am attempting to used voice to text and it isn’t exactly precise. I do want to take a moment to address something that has been weighing heavily on my mind for about a week. In order to fully express my feelings in this moment I must give you a little bit of background.
For those of you that do not know I am 28 years old. I am the proud mother of three beautiful children, my 5 year old Areonna and my 3 year old twins Aidan and Katie. my family has been through a lot of struggles lately and we have thought many times that we have overcome our last obstacle. But our world was shaking again last week when I went to the doctor to address some sudden vision changes. As it turns out I have a condition known as ocular histoplasmosis which is a fungal disease that attacks the eyes. It is something that is common throughout the Ohio Valley area especially around the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Usually the victims of this disease are employed and professions where they come in contact with chickens, pigeons, or bats. I do not work or live around any of this.
all I know is that one day at work I realized that my vision on the right side was strange. In fact straight lines look bent and my outside peripheral vision was shadowy. at the time I really didn’t think anything of it and just assumed I have got something in my eye. When a couple days past I realized that the issue is not resolving and since I had a headache I chalked it up to being a migraine because sometimes my migraines affecting my vision. I wish that I had not waited so long to be seen by the doctor.
when I finally did visit the optometrist she examined me through several different test. One of the test was a form of photography that photographed a cross section of my eye, in this test they were able to see that I had abnormal blood vessel growth and bleeding close to my retina. She immediately had me seen by a doctor who specializes in retinas and he indicated that I had ocular histoplasmosis. He explained to me that I needed immediate treatment and got me in to see him the very next day.
despite the fact that I live in Ohio and this is a common problem in the Ohio area I had never heard of histoplasmosis. In fact I didn’t even get to research it until after my appointment for treatment. There really is nothing they can do about the disease basically all they can do is treat the symptoms, in my case that is the abnormal vessel growth and bleeding.the treatment involved injections of a medicine called Avastin directly into my eyeball, which is much more uncomfortable then you can imagine. Initially I was quite proud of myself because when I left the doctors office I felt fine, what about 30 minutes after leaving it felt like I had been pepper sprayed. In all my life I have never felt pain in my eye like I felt then.
so when I got home and I could finally see you again, I began to research histoplasmosis. Apparently it is a fungus that grows abundantly in soil which is contaminated by bird droppings or bat guano. It is most commonly found around chicken coops. Because of where it flourishes the people who are most affected by histoplasmosis are farmers, landscapers, and construction workers. This is because they have direct contact with the soil that is contaminated and while working with the soil they stir up the fungal spores. Unfortunately, these spores are lightweight and are easily made airborne by wind.
now since I do not have chickens, I am NOT a landscaper, and I definitely am not a construction worker I am very confused about when and how I contracted this disease. What I do know is that this is something that doesn’t just affect your eyes but it can affect your whole body. In fact, I will be beginning the process of determining if this disease is elsewhere in my body. histoplasmosis can affect your body in various ways and often mimics other disorders.
for people who have histoplasmosis in their lungs they are often misdiagnosed as having pneumonia, COPD, and in more severe cases tuberculosis. This disease can progress to the point that people with lung activity are coughing up blood. it can also affect your heart creating hypertension, hypotension, rapid heartbeat, and in more severe cases heart attack. It can affect the liver mimicking cancer, it can affect joints mimicking arthritis, it can even affect the brain by attacking pituitary and adrenal glands.
the symptoms of histoplasmosis are very widespread and can affect a patient in many different degrees. In my case what causes the doctors to be concerned is that many of the symptoms are common problems which are misdiagnosed. For me this is headaches, body pain which is unexplained, mood swings, emotional instability, the inability to concentrate and often the inability to sleep. These are all symptoms that people suffer with on a day to day basis. They often attribute these symptoms with stress. But the complicated thing about histoplasmosis is that stress exacerbates the disease and makes the symptoms more prevalent.