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Archive for "Health"

Quick Health Update

Posted on January 26, 2024 by under Health.    

Every now and then I get a random text from a friend asking me if I got my results back or if the doctors have figured out what’s going on with me, etc. I forget who I have shared my health problems with and who I haven’t so I guess it’s time for a general update. This is for anyone who has been aware of my struggles and wants to know the recent developments.

My problems really started a couple of years ago. Since I started menstruating, I have been blessed with a very predictable and consistent monthly cycle. I have zero cramping. I bleed heavy for a couple of days (heaviest on the second day) but, by day four, my period is over. It is as regular as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. And, up until a couple of years ago, pretty painless.

Over the last couple of years, I started getting headaches and menstrual cramps. The period cramps are excruciating and terrible to the point I just want to crawl into a ball and die. My periods have become quite irregular also. They’re not coming on schedule. Sometimes I’m skipping months. I have spotting in between periods and sometimes I bleed for several days. It is completely abnormal.

The unpredictable bleeding is very inconvenient (and quite embarrassing at times) but I was thinking maybe this is what happens when you hit menopause? I was enduring it all but the cramps were getting worse and, having had to play in pickleball tournaments while suffering through the agony of period cramps, I started to wonder if this is at all normal. Not having period cramps for most of my life, it definitely did not feel normal to me. It finally bothered me enough to consult my doctor at my last well-woman exam, which resulted in a succession of tests including lab work, a sonogram, and even an MRI.

First there’s the fibroids, which I have known I’ve had for a long time but have never bothered me. Brian thinks the fibroids flaring up are probably causing my cramps. Anyway, what’s special about my fibroids is that they’re not in my uterus lining but rather outside in the muscle. I don’t even know if I’m explaining it right. Speaking of my uterus, it also has a very weird texture apparently.

One of the solutions we talked about was an ablation but, because of where my fibroids are, you can’t really scrape them out. Also, the texture of my uterus is just that way it is so even if you scrape the lining eventually it’ll be back to the way it is again. A more permanent fix would be to get a hysterectomy. But I’m thinking, I should be menopausal. If my cycles are going to eventually come to an end, is it really even worth it to go through surgery. Also, I am very anti-surgery and would rather not have anything removed that doesn’t have to be removed. Honestly, if the doctor hadn’t been so stern with me years ago I probably wouldn’t even have gone through my thyroidectomy.

We agreed maybe I should get on birth control pills to help regulate my monthly cycle. They’ll be more predictable and the pills could help alleviate the period cramps as well. So I am now on Lo Loestrin and, with the exception of the time in November (while we were at Nationals) when my period lasted two weeks and I suffered from menstrual cramps almost the entire time, it’s actually working. Brian really wanted me to pull the plug on the birth control pills because he was concerned about the side effects and didn’t really think it would work. And then, having suffered through two weeks of hell, he was thinking that maybe the pills were actually making things worse for me. However, I was only a couple of months into the treatment and so I was thinking maybe my body was still trying to make sense of everything and trying to establish balance. I decided to keep going and my period in December was almost like it was before I started having problems – short (about four days) and painless. It’s been pretty good since then. I haven’t had menstrual cramps since November so I think it’s working.

So my cramping problems are pretty much resolved but now we’re looking into some other things. Because, as with anything, when you start investigating stuff you end up finding some other potentially related or unrelated issues. After my well-woman exam when I shared all the problems and symptoms I’ve been suffering the past couple of years, they looked into my labs and it showed that my prolactin was elevated. I had to provide a blood sample again a couple of weeks later just to make sure it wasn’t a false reading. Anyway, it was still high so then that’s where the MRI came in. Apparently, sometimes your prolactin can be high if there’s a tumor in your pituitary. We did the MRI to make sure I didn’t have some sort of tumor that we didn’t know about. MRI results came back good. No tumor but no answers as to why my prolactin is high either so then they decided to refer me to an Endocrinologist, who was supposed to call me to schedule an appointment.

When I had my follow up appointment at Center for Women’s Health late last year, the doctor asked if I had seen the Endocrinologist yet. I told her they haven’t called me. She’s like, “That’s strange. I need to look into this because they should have seen you by now.” Come to find out, the Endocrinologist’s office had been trying to reach me but they had an incorrect phone number down so they never could get a hold of me. It was really a blessing in disguise because, in the meantime, I asked Brian to see if Dr. Dany Zayour was still in town. He is the doctor who helped me with my thyroid issues. As luck would have it, he’s still practicing. He’s just not with Ascension Via Christi anymore. We ended up not going with the Endocrinologist I was referred to but we ended up scheduling with Dr. Zayour instead. Even though it’s been ten years, I felt more comfortable seeing someone who knows my history.

While all of this is going on, Brian and I went in for our annual checkup and screening with our general doctor, Dr. Scott Hane, last month. A couple of years after my thyroidectory, once my medication was stable, I didn’t have to see my specialist Dr. Zayour anymore so he turned over monitoring my thyroid hormone levels to my general doctor. Dr. Hane looks at my labs at our annual checkups and decides if my Synthroid dosage needs to be increased or decreased. At my checkup last month, Dr. Hane and I both agreed I probably need to increase from 112 to 125 (because I’ve gained a bit of weight in the past year) but, after I told him I was seeing an Endocrinologist again, he decided that we should wait and see what the Endocrinologist says. They are, after all, the expert on these things.

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Here’s a picture of me and Dr. Zayour when I met with him last week. He looks almost the same as when we first met over 12 years ago. He was a new physician at Via Christi back then. Now he has tons more experience and several awards and accolades to add to his CV. LOL.

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Part of me hesitates going through with all of these doctors visits and tests (all of which I have to pay for) because the birth control pills have pretty much resolved the main issue that I needed help with anyway. I am no longer suffering from my debilitating cramps and my menstrual cycle is under control. My high prolactin is a concern but it’s not really hurting me. I don’t think it’s causing me adverse symptoms as far as I can tell. I think my doctor at Center for Women’s Health (and also my general doctor) recommended that I continue down this path to cover their bases. Their obligation is to inform me of what they found and refer me to a specialist and then, if I don’t take their advice and something happens to me, then it’s on me and not on them. I think it’s just everyone trying to cover their butts so no one gets sued. Honestly. Because I feel totally fine right now.

I love all my doctors but sometimes I feel like I’m just paying for all these tests and it’s just busy work. It would be nice to know why my prolactin is high but is it keeping me up at night? Not really. I feel healthy. I feel good. And, other than the fact that I’m actually starting to feel my age, I have zero complaints. And, I am extremely grateful for it.

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We Are Officially THAT Age

Posted on February 28, 2023 by under Health, Life.    

I’d been suffering from some health issues this past year and so we decided it was probably time for a colonoscopy. Because Brian is the best husband ever, he decided to go through the procedure first so I would know what to expect. We scheduled our colonoscopies two weeks apart. Brian went first and these are pictures from his colonoscopy.

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Brian got some sexy yellow socks.

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Anyway, Brian wasn’t so concerned about the prep (which most people say is the worst part). He was more concerned about going under because of potential side effects from the anesthesia. But he really didn’t have anything to worry about. His procedure went smoothly from start to finish. Even his prep, which is a nightmare for most people, was a breeze. His colonoscopy came out completely clean and the doctor gave him a pass for 10 years.

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Fast forward two weeks later when it was my turn. I wasn’t worried about the procedure because I knew that they would knock me out and I wouldn’t feel a thing but I was quite worried about the prep. The stuff they had you drink tasted disgusting. And, as someone who enjoys eating, I was not looking forward to not being able to eat for several hours.

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They gave me fun blue socks and everyone was super nice. They even gave me multiple blankets to help keep me warm. It’s very cold at the surgery center and even coldest in the surgery room.

Unlike Brian, whose procedure was scheduled very first thing in the morning (lucky duck – his check in time was 7:30 AM), my check in time was 9:30 AM, so I was starving as you can imagine. To top it off, they were running a bit late so I think it was almost 11:00 AM by the time they got me in surgery.

Even though I was hungry, I somehow managed to not be hangry, because when we received the final report from the surgeon (I also had Dr. Sanchez, same doc who did Brian’s procedure) he made a point to describe me as a “pleasant 45 year old woman” – LOL. They had a pretty good playlist going in the surgery room which I think helped with my mood. Of course, I was out for the whole thing so I guess you really can’t be unpleasant when you’re unconscious so I suppose I was pleasant enough while I was awake.

So my procedure went smoothly but they did find some things. Some polyps had to be removed and they banded a couple of internal hemorrhoids which had me sidelined for a week. The doc said no workout or strenuous activity so as not to bust my bands before their work was done.

I felt fine overall but did follow instructions and didn’t play pickleball for at least one week. I had my procedure on a Friday and did have to teach my Aqua Zumba class on Wednesday night because I couldn’t find a sub but that didn’t bother me too much either. By the following Sunday I was playing again so I really only missed 10 days at best.

Although the polyps they removed were benign, they were pre-cancerous so the doctor recommends that I go in for another colonoscopy in five years time. That will be something fun to look forward to in 2028. LOL.

Anyway, this is the most recent development for both me and Brian on the health front. Until next time, GNG.

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Brian’s Cyst Removal Pics

Posted on September 26, 2022 by under Health.    

Whenever we can, Brian and I try to go to each other’s doctor’s appointments. Either we schedule our appointments at the same time (like our annual physicals) so we can be together or, if only one of us is getting treatment, the other is there to ask questions (that the other might forget or be too embarrassed to ask), take notes, and just be there for moral support.

He used to go to my gyno appointments with me to but that’s one thing that he’s skipped for several years. I’ve started getting mammograms and he doesn’t go to those because, honestly, they are short appointments and not that exciting. So, I guess, he doesn’t go to routine appointments he doesn’t need to be there for but definitely goes to the more serious ones.

As far as annual checkups, dental and eye doctor appointments that we both need to get done, we try to schedule those either together or back to back so we can go at the same time. I think some offices appreciate it because we can be in the same room and pretty much talk to the doctor at the same time so it goes much quicker than if we were to go separately. Unless, of course, Brian is having one of those days and decides to ask ten thousand questions.

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That said, sometimes part of the appeal of going with the other person is mainly just to harass them. This is a picture from my surgery consultation last week. Brian went with me because he had questions and wanted to know all the details and also he’s going to be in charge of driving me home while I’m groggy from the anesthesia.

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As he is there for me, I also try to be there for him. So when he went to get his cyst removed on Friday afternoon, exactly a month ago today, I went with him. The bump had been bothering him for some time. He noticed it before we left for Mexico and had our doctor look at it then. Dr. Hane told him if it didn’t go away on its own then he could surgically remove it. Anyway, the cyst got bigger and harder so Brian decided surgery was the way to go and scheduled it for August 26.

These pics are so gross but I know you’re all dying to see them… LOL. So, here you go. Enjoy! This is the doc feeling around the cyst.

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The doctor drew dots where he would cut Brian’s flesh.

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This is a picture of the fatty tumor that was removed. I guess the cyst had ruptured and Brian’s body encased it in fat to protect him. They literally cut out a lump of fat.

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This is the hole that it left.

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This is a picture of it all stitched up.

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Here’s a video of the doctor showing us the fatty tumor. It’s so gross but you know you want to see it. LOL.

Thanks to both Dr. Hane and Brian for allowing me to take pictures and videos. It definitely makes going to these appointments much more enjoyable. I’ll post an updated pic of the scar soon so you’ll see what the spot looks like after one month.

Until next time, GNG.

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Spread HopeICT Event

Posted on June 10, 2022 by under Community, Health.    

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Here are some pictures from HopeNet’s Spread HopeICT event at Chicken N Pickle last month. The purpose of the panel is to promote positive youth mental health and support for suicide awareness and prevention.

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We ran into Judy and Malachi Nola.

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And also Jo Lynn Bright, HopeNet’s Director of Community Impact.

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I felt overwhelming emotion upon seeing Jo Lynn. She was my most favorite EMPAC counselor and helped me work through some issues 12 years ago. It was so great to see her again and to know that she continues to make a difference for so many through the HopeNet organization.

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Brian Gets Dose #1

Posted on July 26, 2021 by under Health.    

Brian got his first dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine last week. I took a bunch of pictures because I honestly never thought this day would come. He has been so adamant about not getting vaccinated despite all the research that has proven it to be extremely beneficial.

Anyway, he was freaking out about it a lot and wanted me to be there — which worked out well because I wanted to take pics of the momentous event. It’s like hell froze over. Seriously. Because he didn’t want to get vaccinated. At all.

I think the clincher is our upcoming trip to Jamaica. He knows that he can’t go unless he gets fully vaccinated. And he knows that I will go with or without him. So, yeah. He pretty much had no choice. There was no dragging his feet any longer.

Below are the pictures from his first dose. Shot #2 happens in about three weeks. Stay tuned for the continuation of this vaccination saga. Will he go through with it? You’ll just have to come back here in a few weeks to find out.

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