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Posts Tagged ‘tests’

Or so you might think given the number of times I’ve been to see a doctor or have a procedure in recent weeks. The number of times is going up rapidly and is now a weekly thing, sometimes twice a week! I’ll be going to see the doctor again on monday and depending on what he thinks, I’ll be going back for a follow-up within days, for a procedure within weeks, and possibly for surgery within a month.

I was talking to my sister about doctors the other day. We both enjoy the show “House” and were discussing how nice it would be to have a doctor as brilliant as the main character it is. It’s hard, Ellen was saying, because you forget that doctors are only human. They don’t have all the answers, they can’t automatically tell what’s wrong with a person, sometimes they don’t even know what tests to have done.

I too fail to realize this sometimes. I want the doctor to tell me the problem and have the solution, like I’m a math problem waiting to be solved; just insert the numbers for x and y and an answer will pop out after a certain amount of work. Instead, I’m a theoretical problem. I’m a problem where x and y are unknown and continue to remain unknown, since the doctors aren’t even sure how to solve for x. When they do it appears that x=y, both being unknown, thus leading us back to the beginning. So the only way to fix me is through good old fashioned trial and error.

But that’s another problem: I think of myself, my health as something to be fixed. I desperately want someone to pop up the hood and point to some corroded wiring and say, oh! there’s the problem! And I’d be better just as soon as they got those replacement wires in from Omaha, where they’ve been back ordered. There would be an identifiable problem, a cause, and a solution. But at the end of the day, my body is still a mystery.

It’s with this in mind that I have to remind myself that the human body, in general, is still a mystery. There are areas of the body that medicine still knows nothing about, or relatively little about. I found a disorder online the other day called chronic pelvic pain that had no discernible cause and absolutely no cure. I am so glad that I don’t have that! But it seems that this area of the body, anything below the heart isn’t as well known. I wonder if that is because it isn’t as profitable to figure out disorders in this area or maybe it’s because people can live with stomach infections and pain, but not without a heart.

I did finally get the doctor’s attention though. My body has created 3 cysts in one ovary. My ovary and fertility are now in serious jeopardy. My doctor had concern in his eyes and urgency in his voice. And that, for the first time in a long time, scared me.

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I have been under general anesthesia three times in my life. The first time was my senior year in high school when I had my wisdom teeth removed. The second was just a few months ago for a colonoscopy that showed nothing and affected my diagnosis exactly 0%. The third time was today.

My first time under seemed to go just fine and I actually recovered from the procedure quicker than anyone I knew. The strange thing about it though was when I woke up in the recovery room. I remember sitting up on the exam bed on that waxy crinkly paper and my mom walked in. As soon as she walked in I just burst into tears. And I’m not really talking about a few trickling tears, or even a constant flow. No, I was sobbing, bawling even. My poor mom became immediately concerned that something was wrong and rushed over to the nurse to ask her what was wrong with me, did something happen during the procedure, was I in intense pain? She asked all these questions to the nurse because I seemed incapable of answering, being barely able to pronounce a single word between sobs. I finally managed to sigh out that I didn’t know why I was crying. (I honestly didn’t) It was then the nurse informed us that intense emotion, such as crying, were common side effects of anesthesia in certain people.

I found, and find, that to be a very odd side effect. I’m not sure what the science is behind that, but it seems to be true for me.

The second time I went under anesthesia was during my hospital stay in July. I awoke in the freezing exam room, still groggy, to a nurse telling me they had found nothing. I was so tired from my stay in the hospital (if you’ve ever been in a hospital you know what I mean. they let you sleep for like 3 hours at a time, no more!) that I fell asleep on the way back to my room as the orderly pushed me down the hall. I spent the rest of the day going in and out of consciousness being exhausted, in pain, and having several types of drugs in my system.

I thought perhaps, this crying after anesthesia thing had been a fluke. But today I found out that it was not. It was instead a permanent reaction I would have every time. I woke up today from my endoscopy to have a nurse tell me that they had found something, they’d byopsied it and there was actually a plan. And what was my reaction? I started sobbing. So the questions started again. Was I in pain? Did I want water? juice? Where was my husband? What could they do? And again all I could sigh between sobs was I don’t know why I’m crying. What a weird reaction!!

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Hello friends! I know this may seem odd but I hope you will celebrate with me the fact that I have an ovarian cyst! It is the good news I have been waiting months and months for. It is a diagnosis that finally addresses all of my symptoms. And lastly, it is a diagnosis with a cure!!!

I’ll still be doing some other tests to rule out any other sources, but it seems like this is THE diagnosis. Next week will be my endoscopy and after that I’ll be meeting with doctors to discuss treatments for my cyst. I assume I’ll be having a procedure, but the good news is that it’s a very small procedure usually. They’ll know more once they complete the series of upcoming tests. All in all though it seems to be a very hopeful situation.

In other good news I have taken a job! I am now a private tutor for high achieving students. It is a dream come true to work with students who actually care about the outcome of their grades and their futures. It’s still just part time, but I am glad of that. Since I am interested in pursuing a writing career it seems fitting to me that I have time to write. The only downside is that I have mornings off and I work afternoons and evenings, which is my more creative time. I suppose I’ll just have to be diligent in my efforts and force myself to work in the mornings.

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Today I underwent my two sonograms. The first was the traditional outer test, with gel and handle rolled on my stomach and abdomen. The second was the more unpleasant kind, with what I like to call the “magic wand”, to get an interior perspective.

Of course nothing in hospitals or with doctors is simple, so my test took far longer than it was scheduled to. My doctor, it seems, wrote what he wanted the tech to look for, but assigned the wrong test for it. And since no doctor, nurse, tech, or anyone related to the health care industry can do anything without express written instructions so that it will be covered by insurance, I had to wait while my tech called and recalled my doctors office for permission to perform the correct test. All the while, I lay on the table praying I have appendicitis. I know it sounds like an odd thing to pray for, but if you think about it, I know you’ll discover my reasoning.

You see, if I have appendicitis, I can be cured, fixed, and be healthy again in a matter of weeks. Appendectomies are common surgeries, performed every day with little or no consequence. It’s laproscopic so I could even go home the same day. So I prayed that this is my problem so that I could have a disease with a name and a cure to go with it.

However, as the title of the post indicates, the saga continues. The tech seemed to find nothing remarkable about my appendix. In fact she seemed to find nothing remarkable about my appendix, kidneys, uterus, or liver. What she did seem interested in was my ovaries. She circled several things, many times over, on my ovary pictures. And this makes me incredibly nervous. I recently read an article about how ovarian cancer often goes undiagnosed for months, even years, because it’s symptoms can often be attributed to other illnesses. http://cumc.columbia.edu/dept/obgyn/services/gyn-oncology/ovarian_cancer.html

As I left, the tech told me that my doctor would call me in a couple days and let me know the results. I’ll be crossing my fingers until then. if you’re reading this, please do the same.

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Mystery Illness

For the last 4 months I’ve been battling what I like to call my mystery illness. At the beginning of July I went to the emergency room with abdominal pain so bad I needed to take a cab to the hospital since I couldn’t sit up straight enough to drive. After waiting for several hours I was finally seen by someone and only given something for the pain after I had been there for 5 hours. The ran a series of tests, took blood, examine me, and still couldn’t find what the problem was. So at 1am I was admitted to the hospital, woosy from the drugs and nausea and completely exhausted. And there I stayed for 4 nights and 5 days.

If you’ve ever been in the hospital you know that it is possibly the worst place in the world to be sick. The hospital staff woke me up every few hours to give me drugs, take blood, or move me for another test. I barely got more than 4 hours of sleep at one time. I also had the perpetual feeling of being some since science experiment with different IVs coming out of me and having to monitor every single thing about my body. And what was the end result of all this? When I was discharged I was given their best guess: it had been an intestinal infection.

So basically they didn’t know what was wrong with me and sent me home with drugs they hoped would make me and my problems go away.

But my problems didn’t go away. After a few weeks my symptoms returned. So I started seeing doctors again and going off of their best guesses, I took several different prescribed medications to no end. And here I am, months later, beginning a new series of tests. Over the next few weeks I’ll be having blood work, sonograms, and an endoscopy. So if you’re reading this, I’m hoping for something curable, even if it requires surgery. Please keep your fingers crossed!

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