Worrying

I’ve been thinking about the visit to the GYN on Friday. I’ve been researching stuff on the web, and it’s not helping with my anxiety.

On Friday, my GYN told me I have a 4cm ovarian cyst on the left side, exactly where I told her a lot of the pain was coming from. I’m the one who pushed for the vaginal ultrasound, which led to the confirmation of said cyst.

My GYN told me I have a thick endometrial lining, which meant more clots were on the way. However, I never passed further large clots. The bleeding went away on Sunday. The low back pain continued through Sunday night.

My GYN told me she was worried about torsion and told me that torsion is when the ovary twists in such a manner that the blood supply gets cut off and the ovary then dies and decomposes, leaving the patient in severe pain until the rotting tissue is surgically removed.

So between my GYN and the Internet, since Friday, I’ve experienced fleeting panic.

The Internet tells me that a thickened endometrial lining can mean fibroids, endometrial hyperplasia, adenomyosis, or endometrial cancer. The first several websites I clicked into were enough to send my heart racing, especially the one about endometrial cancer, because I looked at the risk factors, and a few stuck out for me:

  • high levels of estrogen
  • nulliparity (never having carried a pregnancy)
  • late menopause (I started late, at age 14, so I wonder if menopause will also be later than ‘normal’)
  • high intake of animal fat (how much is too much? I grew up in the midwest – I ate a lot of meat growing up, especially red meat)

The Internet tells me that ovarian cysts can be caused by a number of things, but these stuck out for me:

  • History of previous ovarian cysts (I had a tiny 11mm [1cm] ovarian cyst on the right ovary in July, 2005, which reabsorbed after a few months)
  • Irregular menstrual cycles (this month and last month)
  • Hypothyroidism or hormonal imbalance (I’ve requested a thyroid panel run nearly every year since at least 2001 and it always comes back normal, despite the fact that I think there is something wrong. I am going to have to push for an in-depth test).

And can I just say, the whole nulliparity issue really has me pissed off at the universe. I even cried while I was at my Chi Nei Tsang appointment on Saturday, saying I feel like I am being punished by nature for my personal choice not to have children. I’ve felt this before. I’ve experienced frustration with this before. But it’s come up anew, and makes me outright angry, because to me, it means that once again, I am not in control of my own body. My body is run ultimately at a basal, instinctual, primal level. That is, no matter how much I’d like to think my thoughts and emotions are in control of my body and my existence, they’re not.
That is, my whole purpose as a female bipedal hominid is to reproduce, or else my body self destructs.

Or Else.

That’s enough to make me want to give up, right there. Why bother fighting? I fought this long and now I’m in self-destruct mode because I rebelled. Great. And what if things turn out alright? Do I give in to the basal, instinctual, primal level at which my body is operating, and start breeding? And then what are the risks to this bipedal hominid’s offspring, since the one bearing them is past age 35 and well into the danger zone for birth defects ranging from the mental to the physical in her offspring? Does this SAVE my body from self destructing? Does it reverse any damage or stop it in its tracks? And then what do I do with the offspring, especially if they are damaged? I don’t want children. Would I be the kind of person who would risk bearing a child in an effort to try to save myself?
Yes, yes I would, but only if I had a guarantee that my health would improve, and that I could place the child out for adoption, especially if it had birth defects.
But a guarantee of better health is not possible. But yes, I am initially that kind of person. And I’m okay with that. I don’t care what others want to say about the topic. Well unless it’s my husband – he totally gets a say in it.

Getting back on topic again, leaving the free form thought behind for a moment, I return to the Internet and found a doctor’s post on medhelp.org, wherein he writes, “The proper work up for irregular bleeding in a woman over 35 would include ruling out pregnancy, checking for an endocrine abnormality (e.g., thyroid hormone changes), assessing for structural lesions within the uterus (like endometrial polyps/fibroids usually by office hysteroscopy — i.e., looking inside the uterus with a small camera–or sonohysterogram–instilling saline into the uterus while simultaneously having a ultrasound), considering anovulation (not ovulating monthly reflective of perimenopause) and performing an endometrial biopsy to look for abnormal tissue inside the uterus (e.g. endometrial hyperplasia or cancer). With those results proper treatment can be instituted.” – Keith Downing, MD.

So again with the cancer risk, coming from a doctor.

And then, to make me feel a little bit better, the Internet also tells me that Approximately 60% of torsion occurs on the right side. So in the short term, I don’t have to worry about severe pain and necrosis, because torsion isn’t the likely issue in my case.

However, long term (meaning the next six weeks and beyond) continues to remain quite scary and anxious for me as I continue to work with my GYN to figure out what’s going on.

Lastly, just a minor note to remind myself that this post took two days to write because I’m that busy with work, commuting and errands to even remember to breathe.

Herbal dextox program

Yesterday I went to see my Qigong practitioner, who is also a certified Chi Nei Tsang practitioner. I met her last year through local Business of Metaphysics classes I was attending each month when I was trying to get my astrology business going.

Since I am long fed up with the medical establishment pushing hormonal and opioid drugs on me to treat the Endometriosis, I listened intently to what this woman had to say when she introduced herself to the class, and afterwards, I sought her out and exchanged contact info.

Over the past year, I’ve attended a few public Qigong sessions, and a couple private Chi Nei Tsang treatments with this practitioner. I feel comfortable around her.

I will also be checking out homeopathy for the first time this week – my GYN gave me the number of her homeopathy person on Friday. My Qigong practitioner is excited for me that I’m pursuing this in addition to her work.

And in addition to that, I continue to listen to the paradoxical relaxation tapes my friend loaned me. Even though it’s geared towards men with Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome, I find that the tapes have helped me a lot.

And in addition to that, I continue to read and re-read and study the techniques in the Tibetan Relaxation book I bought earlier this year. You probably didn’t know this about me but since about 1994 or 1995, I’ve taken quite a liking to Tibetan Buddhism. During college, I was studying world religions with the willful desire to replace the fundamentalist Christian teachings I was raised with, and I became enamoured with Tibetan Buddhism (as well as Wicca, but that interest only lasted for four years).

SO.

THE DETOX.

Getting to the point sometimes takes me awhile. ;)

Starting today and lasting for one week, I have the following routine:

Before bed, prepare Kidney tea, which consists of:
1 part Hydrangea roots
1 part Gravel roots (Queen of the meadow)
1 part Marshmallow roots
as prepared bulk by my Qigong practitioner. Use only 1 tbsp of this mixture in a cup of cold water, placed in a glass or ceramic pot. Bring to the boiling point and then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and leave the mixture overnight.

Upon waking (or really any time during the day), heat, do not boil, 1 cup of the Kidney Tea and drink it (I find that during initial heating, 1/2 cup water is evaporated, so I just add back a 1/2 cup water at time of straining and reheating).

BEFORE BREAKFAST: take 2 Clove supplement capsules
DURING BREAKFAST: take 1 Ginger capsule and 1 Uva Ursi capsule.

BEFORE LUNCH: take 2 Clove capsules
DURING LUNCH: take 1 Ginger capsule

BEFORE DINNER: take 2 Clove capsules and 7 wormwood capsules, and drink 1 cup of parsley tea, which consists of:
1 cup water with enough fresh parsley to saturate water (about 1/4 bunch). The water should just cover the parsley. Bring just to boiling point, then simmer covered for 3 minutes. Strain the water and discard the parsley. Drink the tea.
DURING DINNER: take 1 Ginger capsule and 2 Uva Ursi capsules.

BEFORE BED: take 3 tsp Black Walnut tincture in 1 cup of water.


After this week, I have a new routine to follow in the cleanse. I’ll post about that when the time comes. The cleanse lasts for four weeks, culminating in a traditional gall stone cleanse during the first weekend of December. Back in 1993, I was in the hospital for four days with pancreatitis. During that time, I also passed a gallstone. I had another gallstone flareup again in September, 2007 and did an emergency flush and was able to stave off a full blown attack. So since that time, I’ve been searching for a regular maintenance program and alternative health practitioners, and voila, here’s where we’re at today.

Some history for you on seeking practitioners – this Qigong practitioner is not the first one I saw and latched onto. There was another woman before this one whom I sought out, who was a Qigong practitioner that I met in these classes, but she was openly hostile towards anything I told her about the illness that I have. She kept correcting me whenever I said ‘my illness’, for example. She dismissed me right away and told me she could not help me because I refused to see that I had manifested the idea that I am sick (a.k.a. “Law of Attraction” cult), and she said that in reality I am not sick at all. I proceded to start calling this woman but she never called me back. I became really angry at this person and at any person who would tell me that even before I was born, when the genes were being passed to me via my mother, that I was somehow responsible for the Endometriosis that would rear its ugly head once I began to menstruate at the age of 14.
But I continued reading up on Qigong and really liked what it was about, so I became determined to find another practitioner, telling myself that the first woman I met was flawed. I’m glad I kept searching. I’m happy with the practitioner I see now.

Right, well that wasn’t fun

The baby did have a nice nap at an hour and 45 minutes, but unfortunately my pain and severe bleeding had not finished with me in that time, and the meds were full steam ahead in my bloodstream.

It took all my strength just to carry the baby from her bedroom to the changing table in the parents’ room.

Baby definitely knew something was up, because usually when she wakes, she’s fussy or bounding and ready to go. Today she just hung in my arms looking up at me with concern, and once I had her on the changing table, she would normally squirm all over the place but she didn’t move. She just stared at me. I apologised profusely and tried not to cry from the pain. I didn’t want her to cry – babies are SOOOOOOO intuitive.

I changed the baby and then notified the baby’s mother (K) of the situation, as well as notifying my husband B.

K and B both talked with each other and found out they work near the same BART station. So they took the BART together back to K’s car and she drove B back to her house, where I was at. In the meantime, K called her neighbor (H) to come over and help me out. H was over within ten minutes and so I was able to stagger downstairs and drool on the couch.

I wasn’t down there for long, though, before I realised that H wasn’t coming down to feed the baby like I told her. I think perhaps she didn’t know the routine or know what to do. Nothing worse than a baby who realises it’s suddenly very hungry, so I staggered to the kitchen and put all baby’s solids together and warmed a bottle, then called H down. She fed the baby for me. I thanked her repeatedly.

K and B came through the door around noon, and I was told to just hang out and rest until it was time to go to the doctor. So the four of us hung out in the living room for a bit. H had to go, then we eventually had to get on the road, too. I thanked H and K and apologised to K for still being sick. I just felt bad – I had no idea why my body insisted I miss most of a work week like this. Are my cycles getting longer and more intense as I age?

B got me to the doctor in time – it was all the way up in Richmond because my GYN wasn’t at the Berkeley office today. The mess had abated by this time, and I was left with sharp, jarring pains on the left side, and having to pee every five minutes.

After I told the GYN my story, she said I should have gone to E.R., because there they could have done blood workups and scans and such, and she’s not equipped there to do that. I broke down and cried. Didn’t expect that. She was patient with me and asked me to tell her what I was so anxious about. I relayed the story about the botched E.R. visit back in April. She remembered. I told her that although they have a care plan in place for me now after I filed a huge complaint, that when the GYN office said they had an appointment today, I took it rather than chancing another E.R. disaster again. My GYN told me she understood the trauma I went through would have made me act the way I did (coming to see her instead today). She sympathised with me.

Got a pee test – negative for pregnancy – she’s worried about ectopic pregnancy. I told her there’s no way. She gave me an external ultrasound and didn’t see anything abnormal.

I said perhaps I have a cyst. I told her the left side is what’s killing me right now, and that’s the ovary that was stuck behind my uterus from the disease when the surgeon went in last year to have a look.

So she performed an internal ultrasound and her tone changed.

She told me the uterine lining is still very thick, which means much more clotting is on the way. :(
Then she exclaimed OH! You DO have a cyst!!”

There it is, on the left side. 4cm ovarian cyst. I’m not too worried. I’ve had one larger than that before and it reabsorbed. But I did cry again because goddammit, I’m tired of all the pain. And why is my endometrium so thick with clots? She couldn’t answer that.

We talked about my pain management options again. I’m still refusing anything hormone-based or lupron-based.
She suggested acupunture but I’ve already tried that. Works great but doesn’t last longer than several hours to a day).

She gave me the number of a homeopathy specialist she trusts.

She gave me a lab slip to see how anaemic I am.

She told me I must see a radiologist in 6 weeks to follow up for the cyst, to see if it’s reabsorbed or if it’s growing.

Got my blood drawn on the way home.

And tomorrow I already have an appointment for a Chi Nei Tsang treatment and will be getting started on a gallbladder cleanse.

Until then, I’m wiped out from the pain, the crying and the meds. It’s 6:30pm on a Friday night and I’m heading for a bath and then bed. This will be the second weekend in a row that I’m too ill to enjoy life. I’d only been married a week when I fell ill, and it wasn’t supposed to last this long. I’m quite depressed. I’d like to be a happy giddy bride again, please.

Day friggin 7 of the pain

After the pain hit right at the end of my shift last night, I got home and was a bedridden zombie for the rest of the night.

I was fine this morning.

Barely any bleeding. No pain. Got to work on time in pleasant spirits. Fed baby the rest of her breakfast, took her upstairs to play and dance about with her (our morning routine is me holding her and dancing around).

As I was rocking the baby to sleep for her morning nap, I suddenly felt pain in the bladder. Since the endometriosis is attached to the bladder, I’m super sensitive and can tell when the pain is hitting the uterus, the ovaries, the bowels or the bladder. All of that is clearly defined for me. The pain ramped up, I felt like I really had to go to the bathroom, but the pain one gets from a full bladder? That wasn’t the pain I was having. I can’t explain it. It’s different. That’s how I knew I was in for more trouble.

I gritted my teeth and beared it – the baby had to fall asleep first before I could get up. She’s had a rough night and didn’t really sleep past 3am so it’s imperative she gets to sleep now.

Once she was asleep, I stood up to put her in her crib, and that’s when the gushing began. My legs grew weak instantly. The baby woke when I set her in the crib, sat up and began crying. I soothed her and rubbed her back and helped her lay back down. I held onto the crib for dear life to support myself and stayed as long as I could to ensure baby drifted back to sleep.

I could feel my knees going – I was about to fall from the pain so I backed away as slowly and carefully as I could from the crib. The baby woke and began crying again. I just staggered out of the room, held onto the stair railings and made my way carefully down the stairs. Fumbled for my meds and water. Took an entire Tylenol 3 because I knew if I didn’t, I could end up back in E.R.

The result of all this pain – squid. Yes, I’m going to be very graphic.

I birthed squid as I call them – and one was a giant clot the size of the palm of my hand had come through my cervix, that’s what caused all the pain. There’s so much blood that it didn’t have time to liquify to ease through the cervix like a normal menstrual flow would do. So basically the cervix had to dilate to pass the clots. This is what causes me to collapse from the pain, or vomit, or sob uncontrollably.

I maintained today without doing any of the above. I got safely to the couch with my heating pad. I’m drugged – it’s already taken effect.

I’ve notified the baby’s mother that I took an entire Tylenol 3 and that the pain is really bad and that should her baby wake before 11am and I’m still in bad shape, she or her husband may have to come home.

Of course, the family’s cat now thinks it’s a great time to attack my laptop cord and my feet. It’s a good thing he’s so cute.

I go pass out now. Hopefully baby stays asleep for a bit.

10am Edit: Just passed another huge squid. On the phone with my GYN office now. I never pass them this huge. I’m shivering cold, shakey and nauseous. The pain radiates down to my inner thighs. The GYN office is trying to get me to my GYN directly.

Day 6 of the pain, I go to work anyway

Normally I reserve this for the TMI illness filter but since it’s mostly to do with work, it goes into this filter.

I went to work today because I was nervous about having missed 3 days of work already. I wasn’t ready to go back to work but for some reason I became paranoid about losing my job. Why I still care this much about any employer at this stage of life, when my health should be taking precedence, is beyond me. But I do this to myself.

It took 600mg Ibuprofen and half a Tylenol 3 to stave the pain, which was not under control until about halfway to work. I was half an hour late to work because I waited til the last second to go out the door, wondering why the hell I was doing this to myself.

It’s only a little bit about the money. It’s mostly about not letting other people down. Like I said earlier, I don’t know why I still do this.

The baby was an angel through the first half of the day. She was happy and independent in the morning, and was content to play downstairs. So I didn’t have to do a lot of lifting or climbing of stairs with her.

The afternoon however was a different story. She was needy, refused to nap, and screamed a lot. At the end of my shift, while packing up my stuff to go home, I got a hot flash, then a trickle. I bid the parent good evening, told her I had to hurry home in a race to beat the onset of pain, and off I went.

I lost the battle.

I was exiting 6th Street in SF to get to the Bay Bridge when the pain became unbearable. I popped 600mg Ibuprofen, and within 10 minutes popped half a Tylenol 3.

Eyes glazed over, firmly gripping steering wheel, staring straight ahead, I made it home, only bursting into tears from the pain once.

I popped a second half Tylenol 3 pill while waiting in traffic in Oakland.

I made it home in an hour’s time and went straight to bed. Here I am, on laptop, drugged, bedridden.

Wheeee.

Tomorrow right? Tomorrow this is gone? Shorter workday tomorrow I’m told – the baby has a doctor appt.

Allergic reaction

Well I’ve gone and done it again. I’ve eaten a forbidden food and now I’m paying for it. My entire body feels like fleas are crawling and biting me.

I had 3/4 cup of Thai Kitchen brand boxed Spicy Thai Chili Jasmine Rice.

thaispicyrice.jpg

Within half an hour of eating the rice, my whole body got itchy, I felt light-headed, headachey and sleepy, and then the anxiety and heart racing began.

The food is billed as gluten free, which is why I bought it. However, it also contains MSG in the forms of Hydrolyzed Soy Protein and Autolyzed yeast extract. I saw this on the label when I bought the food, but I ignored it, thinking I’d be alright, because I didn’t remember having a reaction to this rice before.

Well, now I’ve learned my lesson. No MSG in any form, under any relabeling. It’s a neurotoxin, it’s dangerous, it’s already on my NO FLY list, and it will kill me.

The worst part is waiting to get this crap out of my system. *itch itch itch*

Day 5 of the pain

I’m a stuck pig and bedridden. I’m currently on two Tylenol 3 and 400mg Ibuprofen because the pain would not quit.

The pain was slight Halloween morning, so I took it easy. By afternoon I was feeling better.

The pain ramped up the very next day (Saturday), and I wasn’t able to go out clubbing. I went to bed super early that night.

I swear, I can’t even remember Sunday.

Monday I was drugged on pain meds, in pain, shuffling around the house in bedclothes.

I spent parts of Sunday and Monday reviewing the ballot for the election. I spent ALL day Tuesday finishing up my research for the ballot. This is the first time in my life that I spent this much time researching thoroughly every candidate, measure and proposition on a ballot. I wanted to be totally sure on everything. Everything. I felt like I was back in college, studying for final exams, there was so much material. I did all this from my bed, drugged to the gills on pain medication, taking frequent rests or all out falling asleep at the keyboard from the medication.

Tuesday night, my husband (HUSBAND! so weird and wonderful to say that word) took me to vote. I was feeling better, so I walked with little difficulty and voted confidently. We went to podle’s house to watch the election results come in and history be made. I wept tears of joy for Barack Obama. I’ll have another more to say on him later I’m sure.

Around 10pm last night, the pain and bleeding returned. My heart sank. I wanted to call my employer but it was already late. So I emailed instead. I took more meds, went to bed, and hoped to be pain free today.

I woke up at 6:30am, later than I normally would for a workday, but ready to go out the door if only my body would give me the green light.

At 7am, it was apparent that my body was not ready for me to be pain free. I texted and emailed my employer. I feel badly. I’ve missed three days of work, which means my employer has missed work as well. Hopefully not. Hopefully they have a substitute or can work from home.

I have no idea what tomorrow holds for me. I’ve only ever missed four straight days of work on one other occasion, and when I returned to work on the fifth day, I was fired. But then that job was different. They’d been harassing me for months.

The pain meds are at full tilt now. Time for sleep.

Surreal is talking to my mom on the phone early this morning and holding the phone to the open window so she can hear the pouring rain which was continuous for the past 24 hours it seemed…

And then by noon the sun was out and the ice cream truck was making its rounds.

The ice cream truck just went by again, and the sun is bright and the sky is brilliant blue.

I got a burst of energy and cleaned house a bit.

And here we go

Ow. Just woke up a bit ago, feeling like someone crushed my lower back.

Now the pain extends to my pelvic region.

It hurts to sit or lie down, and I’m too weak to stand for very long.

I’m going to heat up a gluten-free waffle or something so that I can have something in my stomach in order to start the Tylenol 3 / Motrin cocktail.

Oh downtime, how I hate you. But I am so grateful you gave me my wedding AND Halloween pain free.

In exchange for this short term kindness, the Endometriosis is sure to punish me severely, now. I’m already slated to have my cycle twice this month as it is (now and again on Turkey Day weekend). I do not have any confidence that the pain will NOT be bad, not after how much stress I had been under in recent months, and how poorly I’d eaten under such stress.

Downtime begins

I know there are at least three events going on tonight, one of which is walking distance from our house, but I am utterly destroyed after working a full day yesterday, coming home, setting up and working the haunted backyard at full steam ahead while chugging wine, then topping off the night at a local bar, where I proceded to drink hard liquor that I said earlier in the day I was not supposed to drink.

Quite the hangover today, and on top of it, girl do0m is starting, two days early. I knew that would happen before even drinking, cuz I was having pain as of early Friday morning.

So long story short, I won’t be making it out to any events tonight. I am disappointed with my body’s unwillingness to cooperate with my wishes to go out and party on a Saturday night. If it were just the hangover, I’d totally go out and do ‘hair of the dog’.
Alas, I’m in downtime.