Dr. Suess

"And will you succeed? Yes indeed! Yes indeed! Ninety Eight and Three Quarters guarenteed!"


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Reminders of Aging & Health

Pearls and Dreams


Ok, I have no hope of this actually making it into the blogsphere, but, blogging is supposed to be as much about journalling right?

Ok, so here goes nothing ... quite literally (grin)

Last summer, I went in for my very first old lady test ...er... mamogram. It was not normal, but it was not cancerous, however, they were slightly concerned, so they told me to come back in 6 months to repeat it ...after doing several different views and making me 'visit' with the onsight oncologist.
(still don't get that, if it's not cancerous, then WHY do I have to visit with the oncologist????)

Ok, so, January comes and goes, and I'm reeling from the skin cancer and the metabolic disorder diagnosis & the fall and I forget to make the 6 month follow up appointment (that's my story & I'm sticking to it!). I get a postcard in February saying "Hello Mrs. Eagler, because of your abnormal mamogram and your other numerous health concerns, we need you to please come in and follow up with your mamogram. Cases like yours, can change before symptoms appear, it is very important you follow through with recommended follow up mamograms & health screenings to catch any concerns as early as possible!" Growl.
I put the postcard in my purse.
Don goes into the hospital and I forget about it. (Ok, so I see the blasted postcard every day I get into my purse, but geesh ... I'm TRYING to forget about it!)

So finally, Orac posts a 4th in a series on denial http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2005/03/deadly-power-of-denial-part-4-denial.html
this time, his own, as a doctor, but it gives me enough of a kick in the pants to make that call and schedule the appointment. Besides, I'm going to be seeing my primary care, my neuro and my rheumatologist in April and if any of the three figure out I've stalled on this, I'll get one of the "you have to take care of yourself" lectures.

So today was the fateful day. I go in. I'm literally SHAKING in my shoes. Part of me is thinking this is stupid, they are not going to find anything, so why bother doing this, the other part of me is looking at the faces of the women in there and wondering why they are there ... are they there for worse reasons than I? Are they there for screenings or for cancer? Are they a survivor or a family member of a survivor?

A woman comes out of the room with another woman, the second woman is obviously close to my age, early 40's (although, I'm JUST 40) but she is obviously mentally still a child. She is crying ... "Mommy, they hurt me! Why did they hurt me?" My heart was broken for this woman and her mother. It made me think of my pastor's daughter with down's syndrome and how are they going to deal with her when she's this age? It also made me wonder about my own child's future ... thanking God that he already has enough mental awareness & understanding to comprehend something like this even if he CAN'T ever make it 'on his own'. The poor mother had tears in her eyes as she said "I know they hurt you honey, but they had to make sure you don't have something that could kill you" and the woman took the woman/girl in her arms and held her like I held my kids after a vaccination when they were younger.

A few minutes later, my name was called, the same technition that did my mamogram last summer was there and she remembered me. ( was it the myasthenia gravis/lupus + many medicines or the name Peggikaye being so unusual?)

She had me change, and took me to the room. I started to shake even harder, I was sure she could see it, I'm sure she did, because her normally kind, gentle nature became even more gentle & kind.

As she started to take the pictures, she kept apologizing, saying it was necessary to get to the chest wall, because the abnormalities were up against the chest wall. She took 2 views of both sides, and started to take one of my right and I fainted. Whoops.

When I came to, I don't know why I fainted, it was warm in the room, but was I locking my knee? I tend to not breath when I'm mad, confused, scared or whatever. When I was a child, when I'd get mad, I'd hold my breath till I passed out and then have a seizure (I also had seizures out of the blue too). I fainted in my Grandmother's wedding ...but that was possibly holding my breath ... possibly eating disorder related. When I was pregnant, I was in college and studying something that was NOT making sense ... and I was in the library ... and I fainted.
I also fainted in the piano lab while practicing. So my guess is, I wasn't breathing. (I HAD eaten just before going, eating disorder doesn't get the blame this time! Hopefully my reason for getting the stress test & echocardiogram on Monday also has nothing to do with it!)

So, they give me a chance to collect myself, make sure I'm ok, and they finish taking the views, and they go to check the films. She comes in and says "I need two more views of the right breast."
Hmmmmm
Ok, so she takes them. Goes to check them. Comes back in and says "It's going to be a few more minutes, I want to show these to the radiologist"
I start to get dizzy again. But I'm sitting, so I figure I'm safe.
(although, I'm getting dizzy as I type this!)

So, she comes in a few minutes later with a glass of water for me and tells me it will be a few more minutes and then in walks Dr. Oncologist ... EXCUSE ME?????????

He first makes sure that I'm ok from my fainting episode and is taking my blood pressure which he thinks is alarmingly low (no kidding, I fainted dude!) at 90/55. I tell him my normal is 110/60 something and he gives me a funny look and goes on. He informs me that they are a bit surprised by the increase in size of the calcification since my last mamogram. While they knew it could change, that's why the request for 6 month follow up, they did not expect this size of a change. He asked me about pain and other symptoms. Then I went through about 20 minute discussion of my lupus.
He's going to be calling my rheumatologist this evening or tomorrrow. He said that my primary care doctor, my rheumatologist & my neurologist will all have the report by the end of the week.

Then he says, at this time, he is still sure it's calcifications, whether it's caused by medications, a not so good genetic makeup, which is evidenced by my other health problems, or to do with the lupus, he can't tell me, however, he wants me back in July. If there is any more changes ... he wants to explore them 'physically'.

I said "needle biopsy?" He said 'probably surgery of some kind, let's cross that bridge when we come to it and make sure it's not the lupus acting up in the meantime.'

I have never heard of lupus effecting breasts ...however, they call it systemic because it can effect all systems ... so??????????

Anyway ... Here we go round the mulberry bush!!!

Orac ... don't know whether to thank you or growl at you!

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