So, here’s the thing. I’ve got a lot of crazy swirling around in my brain right now. And, what makes it an even crazier brand of crazy that just your normal, run-of-the-mill crazy is that I don’t even know if this crazy is justified. I vacillate between thinking I’m one small step away from totally losing it, and getting terribly, horribly angry that my totally justified fears and concerns aren’t being heard.
Ok, to back up. Yesterday was my regular 6-month follow-up with my thyroid doc. Let’s call him Dr. Useless. (I much prefer his PA, Mr. Has-a-Heart, but neither one holds a candle to my old practice back in the days I lived in civilization.)
Though I was discouraged to be seeing Dr. Useless, I was anxiously awaiting the appointment. See, things have been weird with me lately. Where to begin?
- I lightly bumped my knee on a chair during the last week of July. The next morning I had a bruise the size of a refrigerator. The bruise got bigger and badder and more painful for weeks. It was throbby and purple well into August and now, the last few days of September, it’s shadowy remains are still visible. This caused me to notice that I was bruising A LOT and healing at a glacial pace. That time N clung to my arm at daycare dropoff? Yea, did more than hurt my soul – I’m still carrying around a baby thumbprint bruise on my upper arm 3 weeks later.
- Now, my office at the job-from-hell is inhumanely cold. (Like averages 60 on a good day cold.) But, even still, fingers shouldn’t go blue this easily. Especially not when accompanied with pins and needles and numbness. And not when it happens in a comfortable living room nearly as often.
- My head pounds. A lot. Have I got stress? You betcha. But enough to make my ears ring and vision go wonky? I don’t think so. At least, I don’t get why it’d be that bad now. I mean, dad’s dead, estate taxes filed, things are actually, gulp, calming? Har har.
- Oh, and my weight. I’m 40lbs heavier than when I started my successful IVF cycle and a good 10lbs heavier than the day my water broke. Yes, that’s super duper discouraging. But, then again, I’m still not at my all-time heaviest pre-thyroid diagnosis. These things come and go, no?
I enter the appointment armed with my list, in exactly the above order. Well, if you were on Twitter yesterday you probably saw the fallout. I’ll provide the Cliff’s notes version:
Yes, I’m bruising, I’m turning blue and tingly, and have regular severe headaches. Add this to already diagnosed Hashimoto’s, PCOS, antiphospholipid antibodies, and endometriosis. And a diagnosis history that saw my Hashi’s get off the charts severe before it ever was detected. My instinct was that yes, of course, we’d discuss my weight. I mean, I have a mirror and an awareness that I’ve gone back to the potato sack section of my closet. But, call me silly for thinking that we’d discuss weight in the larger context of a whole host of other unresolved questions.
Nope. Do you want to see what my visit summary says. (Reminder: This was a prescheduled, regular 6-month followup for a diagnosed and historically difficult to control case of Hashi’s.):
Uhhh, alright then.
So, as I sat listening to the “small risk” of suicidal ideation or severe depression or risk of seizures (“Oh, you don’t have a history of seizures, do you? No? Great!”) that accompanied the weight loss pills Dr. Useless wanted to prescribe me, I got angry.
On the drive home, that anger turned into deep, deep sadness. Today, I’m verging on profound hysteria? Paranoia? Reasonable dismay?
My mom died of gall bladder cancer at 48. She lived for years with pain and was told to lose weight, find a hobby, and see a counselor. She was diagnosed on my 18th birthday. She died a few months after my 19th.
My aunt was visiting her sister, my mother, in the oncology ward. A nurse noticed a nasty burn that really refused to heal. She recommended she see her PCP for some testing. A few months before she buried her only sister, my aunt was diagnosed with leukemia. She was 50. After years of experimental treatments – some of which made her so miserable she begged for death – she’s in remission. For now.
My grandfather died at 62. Heart attack. My mom found him dead in his chair. He’d been there all night with my grandmother, his wife, calling down for him from the bedroom.
My grandmother was in that bedroom after suffering a debilitating stroke at 61. She lived into her 70s, but spent my entire life in a nursing home.
My dad lived longer than I can ever hope to. He made it to 73. We blamed his confusion on his alcoholism. But still, he went from a little confused to softball sized brain tumor to dead in about 9 months.
Family medical history isn’t a promise. I know that. I truly do. But, it does matter. And, that history above was a small part of what drove me to find answers in my 20s to my own medical complaints. Overcoming infertility was priority number 1, but living a better, longer, healthier life – whether with or without children – was also always in the mix. So, I made finding answers, getting the good doctors, and securing the most effective treatments a full-time occupation. I researched, I wrote, I questioned, I pushed, I educated myself which turned into educating others, I embraced being “that patient.”
It was utterly exhausting. And, to be totally truthful, I never really achieved a feeling of true health and well-being until I was pregnant. Pregnancy was awesome. Aside from my body doing that totally average task of growing another human, it also just. plain. worked. Like, for the first time. Ever. I joked with my maternal fetal medicine doctors and nurses that I would happily go through labor every 9 months for the rest of my life if it meant I could feel like I felt then. And, now on the other side of an unmedicated, natural laboring experience, I would still say the exact same thing.
So, now I feel like I’m circling back down the drain again, but it’s even worse this time. See, now I have the the knowledge that even an immense amount of time and effort (and, let’s be honest, time and effort I don’t really have with an adorable and mischievous 15 month old in my life) still probably won’t result in me feeling as good as I’d hope to feel. It’s hard not to feel like well-being is always going to be elusive.
And, that fatalism mixes with the knowledge of my family’s mortality and leaves me fearful.
I don’t want to die.
Melodramatic much? But, yea, welcome to my current headspace.
I know what I should do. I mean, I just need to heed my own words. Find the right doctors. Do my own homework. Be relentless. But I’m just so very, very tired. And I can’t believe I’m back here. You know that feeling you get when your computer crashes and you lose all your work after pulling an all-nighter right before a deadline? Yea, that. Except I’m the computer, the operator, and the deadline all wrapped up in one.