Saturday, April 17, 2010

Curveball

I am convinced that God is intent on priming me, in this year - the last year of my 30th decade - to be fully self-actualized for my 40s. Why else would there be so many damn challenges thrown my way in such a short amount of time?

I take such enormous pride in my health, I really do. Some people might call it a compulsion, I call it a passion. Simply put, being healthy is the biggest priority for me. Because if I'm not healthy, then how can I take care of my son? How can I make money to sustain our home and our basic needs? How can I be a caring daughter? A reliable friend? A loving sister? A consistent mentor? I can't do any of these; not without my health.

So it was very disappointing to watch - almost like an observer outside of my body - my entire sense of being go through a major shut down in the month of March. It was actually a slow descent; one that I didn't fully realize until I noticed that my clothes weren't fitting, that my legs appeared puffy and bloated, that I couldn't warm up even despite having a heavy down jacket on all the time, that my nose kept draining this funny clear fluid, that I wanted to lie on my bed for absurd amounts of time during daytime hours, that a stroll on the treadmill felt like a death march up Half Dome, that my life seemed to be slipping by in a hazy, hazy fog.

On March 1st, I started a daily preventative medicine for my migraines. By the end of March, I had convinced myself that the meds were to blame and I tossed the bottle. But I didn't feel any better. If it all possible, I felt worse.

I called up my doctor. "You need to do some blood work," I told her. "NOW." Then I took five days off. I figured that I needed a little rest; some downtime.

My doctor is so great; she called me at 8:30pm the night that I had done my labs. I was in the middle of TJ Maxx, looking for yoga pants, size Large, thankyouverymuch. Sigh.

"Well, dear, I think I see the problem but I don't know what to do so you need to see a specialist." The "problem" was my thyroid. Sort of. On paper, my thyroid looks great. Perfectly normal. The issue lies in the hormones that the thyroid produces: T3 and T4. Those levels were (are) not good. In fact, that lab flagged each because they were so low. "I can't treat you for low thyroid," she said, "because your thyroid is fine. But your levels aren't. And that concerns me."

It concerned me too. So much, in fact, that I pulled up the online database of endocrinologists in my network and started to make phone calls. Do you know how hard it is to see an endocrinologist without a referral? Extremely. Fortunately, as my doctor would later put it: "I had an angel on my shoulder that day."

Indeed I did, because not only did I get in to see one of the most reputable endocrinologists in town, he agreed to see me the very next morning at 7:30am.

Dr. C looked at my labs and spent an hour examining me. He spent very little time on my thyroid and more time on my head and vision. He asked a lot of questions about my headaches. He promised to tell me what he was thinking at the end of the exam. I tried not to freak out.

At the end, he told me that he believed that I have a pituitary tumor. I didn't freak out. He told me about the surgery. About the treatment. I still didn't freak out. We agreed that I would have the lab work completely re-done, that an ultrasound of the thyroid would rule out its role in this whole situation and that a MRI would show exactly what is happening in the pituitary gland.

Because something is, happening, that is. According to Dr. C, when the thyroid numbers are inconsistent like mine, then it is likely that the pituitary gland and the thyroid aren't communicating. They're not even on speaking terms. The body can't regulate digestion, temperature - but it can produce a whole of ambivalence and fatigue.

So I haven't freaked out but I have done a lot of reading. And I have been more than a little frustrated with my lack of energy, my fatigue, my clothes that are all too small. More than that, I have shed quite a few tears over the pervasive feeling of my body feeling as if it has checked out of the building. No amount of caffeine could motivate me this week. Even after taking a few days off.

I know that God is in my court and that the Universe is holding me up, even though I feel so deflated. I know this because I'm seeking the answers, I'm turning over every stone, and the resources are coming to me. Quickly. The call back from my initial doctor. The next day appointment with Dr. C. The ultrasound that is happening on Monday. Either the big dollars that I pay for my PPO plan are finally paying off, or the Big Guy above is carefully guiding me to the answers that I'm so desperately looking for.

Today I had lunch with my ex. "Do you think I have a tumor?" I asked him. As if on cue, he reached over and wiped my wet and draining nose. "You have the symptoms," he said. "I feel horrible," I told him. "You look great," he replied. Then he gave me two enormous containers of MiraLax, saying, "I know you need this." Indeed I do - I'm cutting through that stuff like it's candy.

I truly don't have any plans to freak out anytime soon. What I'd like is to feel a little bit better. I know I'm not going to get to the "feeling better" point by freaking out. If I've learned anything in my 39 years on Earth, it's that the more you seek, the more you will (likely) find. Clearly, I have a lot of discovery work to do before I turn 40. I'm not afraid.

1 comment:

  1. You are so strong Janeen. I really admire you.

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