Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Accelerometer...ON! Something is eating my bones

Week of November 27th to December 3rd

First week, a blur

I am still wondering where that week went. After that doc ruined a perfectly good morning, I went to pick up my prescription for the coveted antibiotics and went home without forgetting that very afternoon I had an appointment with "my" doctor.
Before today I confess I sneered a little when people talked about "my doctor" this and "my doctor" that...I apologize.
As soon as I had his name I checked him out online, of course. As long as he was older than most of my cats, I figured he knew what he was doing. Flying totally blind, what an adventure.
Facing the music, new adventure

Visita al doctor

"My" doctor reviews my x-rays and first CT scan and asks me some medical history questions, only to find out I have no medical history. I try to explain I was just hiking in the mountains the previous week at some 8000 feet with a young energetic dog, and then I split wood just because I enjoy it. And then...
No, he doesn't care about that, only about disease. I have none...except for "whatever is eating my bones" his words, not mine. Something is eating my bones, my 7th rib seems particularly tasty, then my spine--wait! did you say my SPINE? you stay away from there, I need that.
I'm sure I am looking dumbfounded again. This can't be happening.
The nurse will help you with the referrals.

I'm given a checklist, four or five referrals for places I have to call. They don't issue you a personal medical butler/scheduler/arranger of all things, by the way, you have to do all the work. This one you call...this one will call you..., this one anytime, go give blood, that's here, get a pap, that's there, get an MRI, get a colonoscopy, give more 1 for EspaƱol, press 4 if you'd like to take a survey after you're done pressing buttons, press 2 to move on to the next agonizingly long recorded message...

Tests and tests

So, remember this is only the first day of my adventure. I'm apparently already sick, so sick that I need tests, lots and lots of tests. Okay, fine, I've always been good at those, straight A student and all...
Next day to the lab to give blood, 8+ vials, they take. I sign up for the mobile app, oh the modern world. Now the results are on the palm of my hand on demand. I remember how frustrating this all was for my father who suffered a stroke and was perpetually confused and angry; I guess I will share that story sometime.
So a week goes by and I have been instructed to disrobe, wait, talk, robe, wait, listen, disrobe, say ah, say ow, wait, wait, call, listen, eat, not eat, disrobe, breathe, hold your breath, arm up, hands down, lie still, hold breath, breast against the machine, look at me, arm up, relax (ha!), chin up, chest out, wait, wait...
Bloodwork, MRI, mammogram, more blood, CT, another MRI, pap, tiny more blood, I think that's it so far. It's week number one.

I want to leave my various body parts on the examination tables and let the nice nurses and techs handle them at will. Go ahead, I'll be at the park walking in the fresh air with my dog, be right back to pick them up!
"They" like my cheery attitude, apparently not hearing the screams inside. And amazingly, my body sits still there waiting patiently for the next wait. All the machines look frightening, big, mechanical, why can't they make them look like trees?
Not so long ago, a totally healthy happy camper

I look up everything online, MRI, CT scan, elevated liver enzymes, low hematocrit...everything. The Mayo Clinic website becomes my best reading material. With a little physiology background I can understand almost everything and nothing looks good right now. I looked it up.
1. Diffusely abnormal marrow with an expansile lesion involving right
seventh rib. Differential; metastases, myeloma, or lymphoma/leukemia.
2. Mediastinal and left axillary lymphadenopathy.
3. Suggestion of hepatic iron overload (incompletely evaluated).

I refrain from self-diagnosis, pending more results, more tests. Got to say, the doc is right on my case, inserting comments and ordering follow up tests almost as soon as the results hit online.

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