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Posts Tagged ‘medical’

Just when I thought things were turning around for me, health wise, they seem to have taken a side road. I might still be okay with things but I did take a detour.

Those of you that follow me on Facebook probably know that last week I ended up in the Emergency Room due to chest pain, numbness on my left side, and a rapid heart beat. After examining me, they admitted me for more tests. I spent two days there. At first they thought it was a stroke but tests showed it was not. Then they focused on my heart. We know I did not have a heart attack but we don’t know what caused the symptoms. The next step would be an angiogram  but because that is more invasive, they are holding off on that until we figure out if my symptoms will go away, stay the same, or get worse.

For now, I feel better and I am optimistic that things will improve. I am baffled by the symptoms. The rapid heart beat seems to come and go. The chest pains have stopped and the numbness is almost completely gone. They prescribed a medication to help my heart manage stress and some nitroglycerin pills. The thought is that if I get chest pain and the nitro helps it, it is most likely angina and they can treat that. If the nitro doesn’t help, then I have to get to the hospital as soon as possible and we’ll go from there.

It’s scary. I won’t deny that. I am trying to focus on the fact that I am feeling better and I am hoping that the symptoms won’t recur and trying to get back to the place I was when I wrote the previous post here about the little forward steps I was taking with my medical condition. Crossing my fingers. Saying some prayers. Shaking my head and wondering what else will go wrong!

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This week has been interesting, to say the least. It has left me unsettled in a number of angles. Let me tell you about it.

First, you may remember that I have had a number of falls. In the last eight weeks, I have fallen four times and have had five or six near falls where I either am able to grab onto something and not fallen all of the way or someone has been nearby and has caught me. That’s a lot of falls. I had my doctor’s appointment last week and she set me up with an eye doctor. Her feeling was that I might have a vision problem that was making me lose my balance. I kind of thought she was crazy. I thought it was my medication, but I did go to the specialist. Well, it seems my primary care physican was right. I have developed “significant” cataracts in both eyes and they are obscuring my vision. I need to have them removed surgically, sooner than later. Additionally, I have diabetic hemoraging in my eyes, which we expected. But the kicker is that they also found a cyst in my right retna. It appears to be rather significant and it needs to be addressed immediately. The most likely treatment will be surgical removal. Yay. Not. I go to the retna specialist on the 16th. Wish me luck! I’m really kind of unnerved by this because the cataracts were very minor in October when I last had my eyes dilated and examined. Now they are significant. And the October exam didn’t find the cyst. So I think it is progressing, or rather growing, quite quickly. And that explains why I have been having so much trouble reading. I have over 18,000 unread emails in my inbox because I can’t read more than one or two before I have to stop. So if you’ve sent me an email in the last six months, it’s probably still unread!

Then, on Thursday my niece posted a link to an article on Facebook that caught my eye. She said something like “it’s weird to think we’ve been living next to a murderer all these years!” Yup. It caught my eye and I read the article. It was about a murder suspect that shot and killed himself as sheriff’s were knocking on his door to serve a warrant. I think that pretty much confirms he was guilty of that murder. Then I read on and was shocked by the murder. It was a cold case that I was sort of involved in back in October of 1974, when I was a freshman at Stanford University. It was a brutal murder. A very shocking murder and I was outside the Church when it happened. I’ve written about it before and about how I have had nightmares since that murder. For the last forty-four years I’ve had a nightmare that I was in the Church alone and the killer was coming after me and I couldn’t get out as I was locked inside with him. They are terrifying nightmares that have me wake up breathless and with my heart pounding. So I’m still sort of unsettled about that. And the coincidence that he would end up living right next door to my niece! What are the odds?!

On the good side, my daughter leant me her laptop charger that works with mine. Mine has been lost for months so I haven’t been able to use my laptop. I’ve been using my phone for reading and for writing so it has been very difficult. Her laptop isn’t working so she said I could keep the charger untill she gets the laptop fixed, which might be never. Yay for me. Boo for her. In any case, it will make it easier to read and write and, hopefully, I will be able to really get back to blogging. However, please forgive typos as I can’t see them easily so I can’t correct them and this Chromebook doesn’t seem to catch them with spell check. Oh well!

So here’s to the end of my nightmares, to a positive outcome with the cataracts and the cyst, and to more blogging. Yay!

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Whine: I got a new phone last week and spent hours finally getting it all set up on Monday then on Monday I tried to use the camera and it wouldn’t work. It took the picture but when I went to the gallery to view, there was nothing there but a grey frame. No picture. So off I went to the T-Mobile store where they couldn’t figure it out either. They did a factory reset for me and it started taking pictures fine. Whew! But then on Tuesday and Wednesday, it kept doing the same grey frame again so I spent three hours at the T-Mobile store on Wednesday afternoon getting a new phone. First they tried to do a warranty return but the phone is so new and selling like hotcakes so didn’t have any to to send to me from the factory and I was not willing to wait two weeks so they got creative and I finally walked out of the store with a new phone and the old/glitchy one wrapped up and ready to go to the UPS store to ship back to them. Yay. So last night I spent hours again setting up the new one. But that’s okay because this one is working fine and I love my new phone! Yay again.

Wine: Well, after spending all that time setting up the latest new phone last night, I was ready for some wine but it was about three this morning and I was not going to drink wine at that time so no wine. Maybe another night. No rush.

More: Well, there’s lots more but I will be brief. First, a note about April. I will once again be participating in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. For those not familiar with it, bloggers set out to write a blog post for every letter of the alphabet during the month of April, posting each day Monday through Saturday with a day off on Sunday. This year April first is one Sunday so we will be posting on Sunday of the first week only. My them this year is What’s In A Name? I will try to write about a different character (fictional) each day. The posts will be in order with the name of the character beginning with A on the first and ending with Z on the thirtieth. Wish me luck! I think it’s going to be more of a challenge than I expect. So you might see some badges or headers with A to Z on them if I can figure out how to add them to the blog before the end of April! Ha!

And hurray for baseball! Today is opening day and I am looking forward to watching the game. I think I might be able to. I signed up for a free season of MLB TV through my phone carrier who offered it as a perk this week so if i can figure out how to log in, I will be watching the Dodgers play the Giants. That will be interesting because I grew up in San Jose which is major Giants territory but I root for the Dodgers because I lived in Los Angeles from 1978 to 2004 so I bleed Dodger blue! Let’s hear it for the Dodgers! Go team go!

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And even more: After asking her several times, my primary care physician finally referred me to an endocrinologist for my diabetes. I saw him this week. I really liked him and he listened to me. I walked out of there with very thorough instructions on how to use the insulin as I had never been told how to use it. I was just told to use it and given a range of 10 to 17 cc with no word on when to take the 10 and when to take more. He ironed all of that out for me and told me how many cc to take for each gram of carb and also how to adjust the insulin if my blood sugar is high before I eat. Yay! It has only been one day but I am very happy with how it all worked out yesterday. He also doubled the amount of one of the medications I was taking and added another which is a once a week injection. So far I am beyond happy with this doctor. And the bonus: he wore a yellow shirt when I met him on Tuesday! (Yellow is my favorite color.)

I have so much to write that I haven’t been able to get to because there is always someone else needing my attention and/or I am not near my laptop. I have too much trouble typing on my phone to do an entire blog post beyond a picture post or just a paragraph or two so I don’t usually post by phone. Hopefully I will be able to put up a couple more posts before the April madness begins. Believe me, it will be tough!

So go out and enjoy baseball. Root for your team but don’t forget mine!

 

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Last week was particularly difficult as I watched hurricane Harvey and all of the damage it did to Texas. The day after the hurricane hit, I got a call from my mom (who was born and raised in Corpus Christi). She told me about a phone call she had gotten from my uncle. She and my uncle are half siblings. My uncles’s cousins lived in Houston. She told me that the cousin, her husband and four great grandchildren had drowned in the flood waters. It was sad to hear it and even more so because of the family connection. I think we all hoped and prayed that it wasn’t true. However, the next day, word came through the media. It was true. The woman who was my uncle’s cousin, Belia, her husband, and four great grandchildren had definitely drowned inside of their van while trying to flee to higher ground. Great, great sadness.

And then last Saturday a fire was started by a very foolish fifteen year old who threw a lit firecracker down a ravine in a heavily wooded (and dry because we have had no rain in three months) area. The entire region caught fire. If you aren’t familiar with the news, it is in the Columbia River Gorge, one of the most scenic and peaceful areas around. It is one of my favorite places to go. It has really grown in the four days since it began. The fire is near the watershed which supplies water to most of the Portland Metro area. If that goes, it  could be catastrophic for Portland. It’s so sad to see the pictures and to see the ash falling outside, as if it were snow. Then there is the air which is full of smoke and is causing hazardous air quality conditions.

It also seems that I am getting every single complication from my surgery that I could get. First there was the infection, then the sciatica (which I think is directly related to the surgery because I had to sit and lay down most of the time during the first three weeks post-op, which put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Now the latest is that it appears that I have developed an “incisional hernia,” which is most likely a result of carrying something that was too heavy during the post-op period. So now we’ll see if they decide that I need to have surgery to repair that. I am not looking forward to another surgery before the incision from the last surgery has even closed up completely. That’s actually how I discovered what I think is the hernia. The incision is still not closed. The opening is pretty small but it is still open. I noticed about a week ago that there was tissue protruding from the incision. Then over the weekend it was gone and I breathed a sigh of relief but then last night, it’s back. That’s when it hit me that the doctor warned that a hernia often develops in that kind of incision. So now I have to go in and get it checked out and go from there. Not too happy about that. I guess when the doctor said no lifting for six to eight weeks, I should have erred on the side of safety. I didn’t. I gave myself only the six weeks. Now there’s a problem.

So not good here. I guess you can understand that. I’m crossing my fingers that I’m wrong about the hernia!

 

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If we were having coffee, I would be embarrassed that, for the third week in a row, you would find me on the couch in pjs.  I wouldn’t be able to move very well so you would have to, again, help yourself to coffee, tea, and maybe some fresh fruit.

This has been a heck of a week. I think I previously wrote that part of my incision got infected. That was discovered on Monday and I was put on an antibiotic. That evening when my daughter was on her way to pick me up for the pharmacy trip, my four year old grandson and I were attacked by a swarm of wasps. It took about five very long minutes to get them off of him and me. Poor little guy got about twelve stings and four stingers left in place. Once the stingers were out, he seemed to be fine. Thank God he didn’t have an allergic reaction! I got three stings. One of them still aches now, almost a full week later. Then on Thursday morning I awoke to find my pjs and sheets completely soaked. It was kind of like that scene in The Godfather where the studio head wakes up to find blood all over his bed, without the screaming, though. It turned out that the infected part of the incision had opened up and was draining what I can only describe as “yucky stuff.” Every time I moved more would come, like a stream not a slow drip.

Later that day, the doctor cut open the incision and cleaned out as much yucky stuff as he could and packed it for me. The instructions were to keep packing it at home three times a day then go back in a week so he can see if the infection was clear. My problem is that I can’t pack it myself. It’s in the breast bone area and I can’t get a good look at it, even in the mirror. So my son-in-law has been doing it but he can’t get here more than twice a day so that probably means that it will take longer to heal than if he could do it three times a day but I am grateful that he can do it at all, even though it is embarrassing to have your son-in-law look at that area of my body!

Then on Friday I woke up about two in the morning with a horrible pain in my back which quickly migrated and intensified to the point where I knew it was sciatica. I’ve had it before so I knew the pain. This time, however, it was so painful that I couldn’t move even an inch without the pain being at screaming level and I do have a very high thresh hold for pain but this was pure agony. I live alone so I suffered here by myself, hoping it would get better but by the mid afternoon I called my primary care physician’s office. Unfortunately the office was closed (two hours earlier than usual). The on call doctor could only advise that I go to Urgent Care. By the time I could get a ride over to Urgent Care, the pain had intensified to the point where I was hyperventilating from the pain.

At Urgent Care, I got a prescription for a muscle relaxant. I already had pain pills from before which I had been taking throughout the day. There were other things they might have been able to do but couldn’t because I am diabetic (can’t take steroid) and post operative so that kind of tied the doctor’s hands. Luckily, the muscle relaxant worked and has continued to work through the weekend. The pain is there but it is very manageable, although I have had short periods of it being almost unbearable. The trick is to keep taking the muscle relaxant, I think. I’ll have to make a trip to my primary care physician on Monday so I can get more of the muscle relaxant as the Urgent Care doctor only gave me enough through the weekend. So hopefully I can get someone to take me.

Other than that, I am very sore from the incision that had to be opened up. That means that at times I am having to ambulate with two canes, one in each hand. I’m pretty much staying in bed. Thank goodness I have lots of books loaded on my Kindle and I can stream stuff on TV as long as I don’t lose track of the remotes! Last night I tried to get up and do a little bit of tidying up, clearing my bedside tray and fixing something to eat. I think that activity is what made the sciatica flare up overnight. I guess today I try not to do as much, not that I did much, but you know!

So how have you been? I hope you are all well and not having any pain or any kind of medical problems. It really isn’t fun. Let me know what has been on your reading list this week. Have you watched anything interesting? Have been outdoors much? Please share with this girl that has not been able to leave the house other than to the doctor and urgent care. Let me live vicariously through you! Tell me something good!

#WeekendCoffeeShare is hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster Blog. Go check it out!

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First and foremost, the final pathology results came in and there is absolutely no cancer anywhere! That’s the biggest and best news!

However, when I woke up on Monday morning, part of the incision was red and itchy. My appointment to get the staples out was late that morning. Upon seeing it, the doctor said I had an infection. They lanced it to try to get the yucky stuff out of a rather large lump under the site. Nothing. They tried to get it out with a syringe. No luck. So now I am on a strong antibiotic to try to get rid of the infection. If it hasn’t worked in a week, they will have to open it up again and clean it out and pack it with antibiotic which stays in for a week then has to be opened up again to be removed. And the process will have to be repeated as many times as it takes to get rid of the infection. Yuck. But I am praying and crossing my fingers that the antibiotic will take care of it.

Then last evening, as the grandsons and I were out in front of my house waiting for my daughter to come get us to go get the prescription from the pharmacy, Spencer (4 years old) and I were attacked by a swarm of wasps! Poor little guy didn’t know what it was and kept screaming and running and flailing about. I jumped and tried to get them off of him and by then they were on me. Luckily my daughter arrived in time to help get them off of us. In the meantime Spencer is screaming in pain. We finally got in the car and stopped at her house just a minute away and tore off his clothes and took the stingers out. He was better then. We got out four stingers but he’s got about twelve sting marks. I got away with only three but I feel like I was hit by a truck because I jumped into action and moved too quickly and carelessly for someone that is still supposed to be moving guardedly for another eight weeks! This too shall pass. I know. We just didn’t need this. It makes it seem like one good bit of news then a couple of bad ones.

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Note: This is a copy/paste from the post I just put up on Face Book. It’s difficult to write these updates and not forget things so it was easy to just paste it here.

On Thursday I got a call from my gastroenterologist saying the needle biopsy was benign but he doesn’t think it’s benign. He has actually seen it and was the first to detect it. He’s worried that we are not getting the full picture and might be lulled into thinking that all is okay. He really thinks it’s malignant. He said go ahead and see the oncologist today while I wait for the authorization to see a surgeon. His feeling is that the more eyes on my case, the better; another doctor may have had a similar case.

Today, the oncologist was also stumped and could only recommend either another biopsy, this time with an arthroscope as that will give them a better and bigger tissue sample even though it will be more invasive than the needle biopsy I had last week.

The tumor is on my right side and many of you will remember that I had a serious surgery two years ago during which a very large fluid filled cyst was removed from my right ovary. The tissue removed was biopsied and came back as borderline malignant. None of the current doctors had done a full health history so they didn’t know this. I felt it was relevant because both instances involved my right lower abdomen.

Once I explained all of that to the oncologist, he was able to access my records from two years ago and found that the growth two years ago was a “serous tumor” which he said are almost always benign. So now his theory is that the current tumor is also a serous tumor (not a misspelling) but is probably benign. So he wants me to stop worrying about it for now until we get the next biopsy which will hopefully give us a more complete picture of what is going on. So while I have some surgery coming up, it might not be a horrible thing. The tumor has to go so we can biopsy it and see what it is and also to prevent it from spreading to other organs and/or becoming a worse kind of tumor with a higher incidence of malignancy.

 

The oncologist is also going to try to present “my tumor” before his “tumor board” which meets Tuesday (the 11th). The tumor board is an opportunity for oncologist to present a case which is unusual or difficult and try to get input from other top surgeons. It’s up the hill at Oregon Health and Science University, a teaching hospital. So maybe that will help shed light on it!

So I wait some more. Hopefully I will hear from the surgeon and get to schedule that soon.

Thank you for your continued support. I cannot tell you what a huge difference it has made. It’s a very wonderful feeling to know that I have so many people to lean on. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

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