I originally sat down to write this post on Thanksgiving Day, but was forced to set it aside because my green bean casserole was about to burn and I had to slide the rolls into the oven right after taking out the casserole. The very next morning I was woken up at 8am with a call from my doctor that was… unsettling to say the least. More on that later in this post. When I sat down on Friday the 25th to finish writing the post I couldn’t bring myself to do so. Not until I had heard back from the doctor, who wanted me to go in a week later on Thursday morning (Dec. 1).
Now, the day after my appointment with my doctor, a week after Thanksgiving, and nearly 12 hours after a visit to my therapist (which had already been scheduled like 3 weeks ago before Thanksgiving) I’m ready to re-write and finish my post from last week.
I am thankful for my health, despite it being worse now than it was the same time last year. The difference between then and now is that I have some answers. Not all answers, but some. And that’s a leg up from last year. I had a doctor that listened to me and offered both support and solutions. I am as of yesterday thankful for a new-new doctor, who listens even more and takes extra time with his patients to help us and better understand our situations. (More on him shortly.) I am thankful for a roof over my head, a stable home for my child, my mom’s now 4 years of gainful employment doing something that is both physically demanding but also something that she loves – caring for disabled and elderly individuals, and bringing rays of sunshine into their lives whenever she can however she can. I’m thankful for a husband that, though difficult, is willing to put up with me and my mood swings and does his best to help support me through my health battles. And most of all, I am thankful for the food on my table.
This past week has served as a grim reminder that all of these things can be taken from me in an instant. And that life is full of the unpredictable, both good and bad.
The phone call from my doctor’s office on the morning of the 25th was unexpected. The receptionist/nurse told me that the results of my bloodwork, which had arrived weeks earlier but I had not been told about, were abnormal and my doctor wanted me to come in to discuss it. First of all in my file and my paperwork it states that in no uncertain terms are certain words to be used via the phone with me. “Abnormal” is one of them. It also states WHY that word is not to be used when contacting me. I know it may seem silly to most, but the reason is that I’ve had to help care for my aunt (deceased; colon-rectal cancer), my grandmother (deceased; various cancers), my mother (alive; type 2 diabetes that had become so out of control it nearly killed her more than once). And in all of those cases “abnormal” was used only to describe those diseases. So unless I had those diseases, that word is not to be used. It also states clearly that in no uncertain terms am I to be contacted earlier than 12PM unless it is a dire emergency. Before now, these are things that the practice strongly adhered to for various patients. (For a variety of reasons. One patient can’t be called early in the day because they have workers that come out to do physical therapy and all sorts with them in the mornings. Another patient can’t be told things using certain words and phrases because it triggers their PTSD. These are 2 people I met in the waiting room yesterday afternoon after giving the receptionists the whatfor. Especially after finding out that they can’t even call me without pulling up my file in the computer where, right beside my phone number it states these things.) Now, it’d be one thing if it was a new receptionist or something. Mistakes happen. But this wasn’t a new person in the office. This was a woman who’s worked that office for over 6 years.
Anyway, because of poor word choice I was afraid that I was going to be told I was going to die, basically. So the entire week I found myself sobbing uncontrollably when no one was looking because I got so worked up thinking I had some form of cancer (which is strong in my family history) and wouldn’t get to watch my son grow up and such.
However, that is not the case. It was…. elevated liver enzymes. I already know I have fatty liver, and that is something that I and my doctors are working on right now through diet and exercise to reverse as much as possible before moving forward with that. BUT… my enzymes were higher than expected for having fatty liver, and my doctor wanted to discuss alternative explanations for the higher than expected numbers. We discussed my medication use, because my pain medication can negatively affect my liver and the risk for that gets higher the longer I use the medications (which I will likely be on for life, and I’m okay with that). But we also discussed my, ahem, sexual history.
Mind you, no lie, I’ve only had sex with 2 people in my life. One was an asshole. The other is an asshole that I married. I call my husband an asshole, but he knows it’s a term of endearment. (It’s like the Winchester brothers from Supernatural insulting one another back and forth. It’s in jest and endearment.) Of those 2, my husband had been diagnosed with Hep C in 2013, and did not find out he even had it until 1 week to the day after we first had sex and became a couple. As soon as he got off the phone with the doctor, he turned right around and called me, afraid I would dump him. Obviously that’s not the case. As I married him. However, because of various factors including but not limited to: unprotected sex, wound cleaning and bandage changing, occasional bleeding gums from toothbrushing too hard and not realizing it before making out, etc. – I may have contracted it from him before he went into treatment. (Wound cleaning/bandage changing was from when he had an operation done on his scrotum for the removal of a hydro-seal. I was wearing disposable gloves and disposable protective gear during bandage changing and such, but even precautions are not 100% effective in situations like that.)
I’ve had numerous Hepatitis panels over the past 3 years that my husband and i have been together, and have gotten negative results each time. So I expect a negative result once again. At which point… well… it may be that we do need to do official bloodwork for checking for cancers. But we’ll cross (or burn) that bridge when we get to it.
In the meantime, the doctor is holding off on dealing with my bad cholesterol (which is barely high enough to call it high in the first place) levels until after we find out what’s going on with my liver because cholesterol medication can mess with the liver as well. And we don’t want to overload my liver with all me medication of we really don’t have to. So he’s giving me a chance to work on that with diet and exercise as well, but I only have about 2 months to work on that.
And now, my new-new doctor. The last time I talked about getting a new doctor, I talked about having finally had a doctor who took my back pain seriously. Well, the practice now has another doctor. He comes from up north, and is formerly a pain management specialist. He moved down south to be closer to family, and has decided he likes the quieter life of a general practitioner so he got on with the family practice I go to. And he agreed to take on any patients that they had who require pain management as part of their regular medical care. Dr. Rogers (my old new doctor) explained that this was so we chronic pain patients get the best possible care that the practice can provide for our medical conditions, because this guy’s specialization is exactly what we need from a doctor. And after getting to know my new-new doctor, I am very pleased. He is staying late hours to start because he is taking at least an hour with each patient he sees for the next few weeks in order to get a better handle from the patients themselves as to what our individual needs and conditions are so he can better handle our cases. You don’t generally get doctors that’ll do that these days. And he’s an older man (in his 50s or 60s) so he KNOWS the value of a good bedside manner and how to handle patients who need the extra attention. I’m hoping he sticks around forever and ever because I don’t think I ever want another doctor other than him. But… I’d go back to Dr. Rodgers if I had to.
Also, I nearly aspirated on a sandwich about a week and a half ago, and as a result coughed so hard that I blistered the area around my tonsils, which caused them to swell a bit. I thought I’d had tonsil stones, but after my doctor took a look down my mouth, throat, and tonsil area, he concluded that the left one is inflamed but it does not appear to be tonsilitis and all of the swelling is concentrated around the blister. I’m to not drink super hot fluids and he suggested I get back on my flonase, as the steroid will help with some of the inflammation and we can get a better look at it next time if it is still bothering me. It doesn’t hurt, it’s just it feels funny swallowing due to the slight swelling.
Anyway, that’s pretty much it. So let’s finish this on a funny note.
My husband’s bank, Navy Federal (his dad was in the Navy), keeps sending him offers for life insurance… the day after we’ve had an argument or fight. Every single time we argue, the very next day there it is in the mail box. Another life insurance offer. We once got 3 offers in one week, and sure enough Sunday, we fought so we got one on Monday. Tuesday we fought so we got on on Wed. And Friday we fought so we got one on Saturday. When we aren’t fighting, he gets credit card offers instead.