Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In which I explain how Deepak Chopra, Hello Kitty, and a tin can all in some way relate to my health problems.

...and here is another post from my archives, originally published last November.

When I used to take my kids as preschoolers to the doctor, I would tell them that the doctor was going to check for lions in their throat and crocodiles in their ears. This made them giggle, and forget to be resistant about the lighted probe being stuck into every facial orifice.

It comes to mind because it wouldn't surprise me a bit, at this point, if it turned out that I did indeed have crocodiles in my ears. Seems par for the course, really.

Yesterday, I had to have an abdominal CT. My doctor wanted to know why I have been periodically doubled over in abdominal pain and, since I recently had an enlarged liver and spleen, it seemed like a good idea to have a detailed look at the whole area, just in case of anything. (Encampments of tiny ninjas, perhaps.)

So, to cooperate with this procedure, it turns out I had to drink three radioactive berry flavored bottles of Maalox at precise intervals. This yummy stuff is called Barium. (Disclaimer: The Maalox company would like you to know that they had nothing to do with this bullshit. She's lying.)

Image by Isaac Wedin

Since I am already someone who may have to suddenly leave a room, clawing my throat, because you used air freshener in your living room or because some woman took a bath in a bottle of Chanel before coming to church, and am also extremely sensitive to dairy, sugar, carbohydrates, and preservatives of any kind, I guess I might have figured that my radioactive smoothie was not going to be a big hit.

I am still not sure if it was the radioactive poison or the sugar that did it. That sounds lame, but I get sick if I eat raisins because of the natural sugar. It sucks to be me.

So, before bed I drank this toxic poison and felt immediately like I might throw up. But I didn't. I made it through the night, waking only periodically to be feel very nauseated. In the morning, I wasn't allowed to have coffee, or breakfast. I downed another bottle of vileness instead, and went to my sixth grader's parent teacher conference. With the next bottle.

Yes, I just said that. I had to go to a fucking parent teacher conference with NO coffee, holding a barium shake, and I had to drink half of it there, while talking to my son's teacher.

Image Source

I really like coffee. I want you to understand this fully. I don't drink any alcohol at all. I have been clean and sober nineteen years. (Because I got sober before I was born. No, actually, I was seventeen.) No alcohol of any kind. No drugs of any kind. I stopped smoking when I was twenty-one. I don't eat sugar. At all. No cake. No candy. No cookies. Just like the wine. None. I don't eat flour. I eat cleaner than most people actually dream of eating. (For example, last night we had homemade chili, made from a cow raised nearby on grass, seasoned with hand-mixed spices, and served with rainbow quinoa. Also, I ate it with six ounces of asparagus and six ounces of salad, which is more vegetables than you think it is.)

But- I drink two large cups of coffee with soy milk every morning. Take anything from me but that. Make a move toward my coffee, and you're dead. I will kill you at twenty paces with the power of my fibromyalgia exhaustion.

So, picture this: 
Here I am, at 7:45 AM, only partly catatonic, but completely nauseated, holding a bottle of Fukushima Hello Kitty's perfumed puke for breakfast, and discussing my son's school performance. We are watching his Keynote presentation on the Lindbergh Baby, while the room agitates gently like we have all been thrown into a very large washing machine. Then he spent ten minutes searching the room for his missing USB drive while we talked about whether or not he might have ADHD. We decided he might.

So, then, after that was over, we went to the hospital for the CT. They made my husband wait in the waiting room. I got undressed and put on a cool gown. It was hard to tie the things in back because my balance was off and my hands hurt and I was ticked that they wouldn't let my husband come help me. "Can't you people tell I'm DISABLED?????"

So, the very nice technician says to me, "OK, drink the last half bottle of barium. We are going to start an IV full of dye. We need to do one scan without the dye and then one with it."


I am part vampire. I actually have no veins. And I didn't know I needed any today. I have to give A LOT of blood, especially lately, and every time is a fucking fiasco. I always warn the lab technician that I am a hard stick, and they always smile indulgently and assure me that they will be able to find a vein, no problem. Fast forward almost an hour later and you often find me having been stuck by three or four separate people, who are becoming progressively more and more stressed out, and attempting to get blood out of weirder and weirder places with smaller and smaller needles.

So, this time, I had been fasting which meant that no amount of highly qualified personnel would be able to strike pay dirt, although they did try very, very hard. At the end of that, which took an hour, during which no actual diagnostic tests had been performed, the kindly technician told me that the radiologist had said that they should just do the one test which did not require the dye and call it a day.

I don't know for sure, but I think I just drank Nuclear Rabbit's Mystery Milkshake for no reason. But they gave me a coupon for up to $5 of free coffee.
Image Source

So, here are my test results:

I have an ovarian cyst.

I have a kidney stone.

Something I don't understand about a lymph node was mentioned.

All my organs have returned to a normal state, in size, and on blood work.

I have joint damage to my sacrum, which is more evidence of autoimmune disease.

And there was a tin can just under my bottom right rib (just kidding).

In summary: None of this explains the abdominal pain or other symptoms. But I can look forward to  pelvic cramping and passing a kidney stone at some unknown point in the future.

My doctor continues to believe that I have Lupus or another cool mixed connective tissue autoimmune disease, which will need to be specifically diagnosed by whichever rheumatologist will see me next (I have appointments with three.)

And, since we basically know that I have Fibromyalgia, he is going to try me on a new medication for that, and we will see if the flare I am experiencing is a Fibro flare or an autoimmune connective tissue disease flare.

All of which prompted the following conversation with my husband:

Me: "You know how certain people are always saying that what brings health and happiness is being 'present in one's physical body'?"

Mike: "Yes?'

Me: "That's bullshit."

Mike: :"Well, it probably makes good sense if, say, you have health conditions that are actually caused by using your body incorrectly, like back strain."

Image by Harris Peter
Me: "Granted. But, can you imagine my trying to do that shit?

(dramatic enactment)

OH GOD, this shit is GREAT! I'm present to not being able to breathe fully...I can feel pain all over my body...I feel stomach hurts...Wow! This shit is AWESOME!!! Thanks, Deepak Chopra!"

...But I do think I might be able to win some kind of contest soon for Most Chronic Conditions Being Managed. I'm almost up to six now."

Mike: "There is that. It's important to look on the bright side."

Me: "I always wanted to be special. This is how I am manifesting that."

Mike: "Exactly. You can manifest whatever you're thinking."

Me: "I know. It's like playing Pictionary with telekinetic powers that affect only your own organs. It just makes intuitive sense. But I am going to go ahead and keep on refining my Zen Dissociative State, for my next blood draw anyway."

Mike: "It's always best to be prepared."


  1. Oh, you made me laugh in spite of your problems. I just hope YOU'RE laughing in spite of your problems. I'm sorry about the kidney stone and the cyst. But I'm glad that, otherwise, your organs looked good. What do you mean by the fact this doesn't explain your pain? Don't ovarian cysts and kidney stones hurt like shit?
    I'm sorry for your troubles, but I'm so glad you're you.

  2. Apparently, neither the cyst or the kidney stone are causing any problems now. And I think it's funny as Hell.

  3. So what impresses us most is that you do just keep going and going: three kids, a job, volunteer work...
    Good to see little M at choir on Wednesday.

  4. Mixed emotions - you make me laugh, but then I feel bad about laughing because you're going through such nasty things! I hope you understand. :)

    1. Don't feel bad. I thought it was hilarious. The day it stops making me laugh is the day they send me to a psych ward so chuckle all you want.

  5. I laughed really hard and I feel the need to apologize for that. I'm sorry you're going through all of this. You have quite a way with words though!

    1. No worries. If I think it's funny enough to post, I'm very glad other people are amused. It's really much better than my "Oh poor me" writing. :)

  6. I've had gallbladder issues, which I'm told are like kidney stones. I'll save you the suspense: it's horrible- probably 90% as horrible as labour. But much shorter-lived, which is the bright side! Your conversation with your husband was hilarious- in dealing with so much, I'm glad to know you have such a supportive partner!

  7. If only people with none of your issues could be half as funny and appreciative.


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