Friday, February 13, 2015

Wondering why I am doing all this stuff

Okay, so in June, almost eight months ago, I had brain surgery.  I know why I did that.  I had a brain tumor.  I had it out.   And now, it's gone.

I keep finding myself in doctor's offices.   Pulmonologist to make sure my lungs are still healthy.  Also to have a sleep study to see how my sleep apnea is.  Apparently, it's worse.  The setting on my c-pap was changed to a higher setting.  Check.  That's taken care of.

I go to an endocrinologist to check how my thyroid is doing.   And to address my large goiter  Medication adjustments put me on a higher dose and a different medication.   I have trouble swallowing due to my enlarged thyroid.   So, next I go to the gastroenterologist.

The gastroenterologist sent me to have a swallow study.  This involves fasting for about a thousand hours.  I took a lunch with me so I could eat after the tests.  The tests were made up of my swallowing a "milkshake" with barium.   The motion of me chewing and swallowing are recorded by x-ray and ultrasound.   Then I get to take another swig and eat some mashed banana.    The conclusion to the study was, hard time swallowing due to goiter.  Yup.  After drinking about a gallon of liquid chalk, I discovered that there was no need to bring my lunch.  I was full.  Of chalk!

Next step, an endoscopy done by my gastroenterologist.  At the hospital. I have done this many times before.  An IV is inserted and some nice sedating medication sends you off to a nice little nap.  But, not this time.  Anesthesiologist reads my swallow study and declines to medicate me because if my large goiter.   Spray numbing stuff down my throat.  And, go ahead and have the endoscopy wide awake!  Not painful, but creepy.  Lots of terrible noises emanated from my mouth.  There was a puddle of my saliva on the bed when I got up.

I guess I am tough.  I can do anything.  Right?

Next doctor visit is to my internal medicine doc.  He orders an ultrasound.  It shows a large thyroid/ goiter with "nodules".  Advice;get it out.  (I have known about this since 1995 and have seen doctors about it.   The main advice is "lose weight".  Yes, I need to lose weight.  But that will not make a goiter go away.

Today I saw a new endocrinologist.   This guy came highly recommended by a colleague.  The doctor is not taking new patients, so my friend,  is a patient of this doc, as well as a nurse practitioner with a doctorate.   She got me in to this doctor.  One of the things he said to me was "why hasn't anyone taken this out before now?"  I wish I knew.   The appointment was in D.C.  at the Washington Hospital Center.  I think we could have gotten to New York City faster and easier than we got there!

Next step?  Today I had blood work done.   I have appointments for 4 different things in a couple of weeks.  CT scan, fine needle biopsy, ultrasound, and meet with a thyroid surgeon.

Meanwhile, I was supposed to have oral surgery.  My four front bottom teeth are very loose.  I am going to have them extracted (will the tooth fairy come?). I will have a sort of retainer with faux teeth for a couple of months while my gums heal.  Then the next step;  implants.  I will be getting four new teeth and will lose my big gap.

And to think, a year ago I was just worried about turning 60!   In May I will be 61 and you know what?  So what!

My sweet, four year old grand niece, Miri, has something called sanfilippo, for which there is no cure.  Yet.

This is Miri.  I have words, but they are so sad I will leave then unwritten.

Miri wearing a hat I made for her

I have a dear friend who has pancreatic cancer.   She has lost her hair.  She has lost so much weight.  She is frail and tired and cannot eat.   She has always been one of those people who is a "doer".  Always organizing activities.  Making sure people get food when they are ill, rides to the doctor when they cannot drive.   And now I am watching her fade away.   So so sad.

Somehow I keep going.  I've even started going to the gym again.

And I wonder and wonder, what's the answer?  And I realize, I am not even sure what the question is.

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