April 9, 2007
So I haven’t been writing much on either of my blogs.
I have been so very busy doing nothing much!
Way back when, I posted about needing to go to Specialists such as gastrointerologist, eye doctors for my floater and a cardiologist. I obtained these referrals in August. What month is it now? April!
I finally made an appointment for an ophthalmologist. It was a good thing my husband was available that day to drive because when they called to confirm they told me I may need to have another driver since they were going to dilate my eyes with drops and I may have blurry vision for some time afterward. They were right! And not only were they blurry, the sunlight was a killer!
So back to the appointment. I was seeing a floater – a line in my left eye that starts in the upper right corner and floats down to the lower left. I see this mainly against a solid vision. White light. So to say.
We discuss some things and he does test. He tells me the floaters do not bother him- many people have floaters, most are harmless – annoying but harmless. Mine were the annoying kind, ones I see every once in a while. He explained my floaters in this way…
Did you catch my plural – floater(s). I thought I only had one! But apparently they are in my right eye as well.
Think of a projection screen. You will see a box of white light on the wall coming from the projector. There is always at least one in the crowd that will intercept that light projection and make finger puppets or whatever on the wall! If it is done in front of the white light, you see the shadow. If it is done above or below you do not see the shadow, but the gesture is still there. That is how it is with these protein deposits on my Vitreous Humor. If it doesn’t catch the light, you won’t see it. If it does, you see it! So it is normal and I shouldn’t worry about it.
And there is always a “however” with me.
He is concerned about the glaucoma that runs in my family. Preliminary tests that he took has my eye pressure at 20. Normal range, he says is from 10 – 21 so he is concerned. However the web site for the Glaucoma Research Foundation says that range is from 10 – 20. Either way I am at the high end and he wants to take more tests and monitor me.
Here is where my neurosis comes in (neurosis as my doctor puts it not as hypochondria as I explained!)
He explained that my Glaucoma effects the optic nerve. I hear this and immediately think about an article I just read in my local paper about Multiple Sclerosis. It stated something about damage to the optic nerve. (Remember I also have herniated discs. So I think discs are herniated because my muscles are getting weak and putting pressure on my back. I also have pain in my arms, etc. which I attribute to undiagnosed herniated discs in my upper body.)
He then proceeds to tell me, I am being “neurotic”. I am basically telling him, “doctor, my foot hurts, I think I am having a heart attack.” I then tell him OK so maybe I am being a hypochondriac but I wanted to rule the possibility out. He then says, “no, a hypochondriac would have some basis for their fear such as ‘my foot hurts, I think I have gout.’ ”
Now, I do not think I am neurotic! He said optic nerve. MS effects the optic nerve. He explains, “but in a different way”. FINE – but I am not a doctor – so I had no idea! I went off on a tangent in my mind thinking “oh crap, I may have this disease…” without all the facts, but does that make me neurotic?? OK maybe.
BUT and I stress this emphatically – BUT we are always encouraged – warned even – to take an active role in our health care and be informed. Ask questions. Don’t let anything go unanswered. And I do take an active role. And I am now labeled hypochondriac and now neurotic as well. TERRIFIC!
Lessons to be learned?:
- Everyone needs to see an eye specialist – EVERYONE by the age of 35.
- Glaucoma testing should be done every 1-2 years depending on your family history and other risk factors.
- Make a list of follow up questions you would need to ask – because there are so many I thought of AFTER the visit. (Yes, I will still ask since I am labeled anyway!! The only stupid question is the one unasked!)
Questions I have:
- These protein deposits in my eye – could wearing contacts have any effect? – ei. not rubbing them clean enough, not letting them soak the 8 hours they suggest, etc.
- Could these deposits be surgically removed?
- Web site for glaucoma says there is no cure – doctor says it is treatable – what is the case? what is the treatment?
- Thinking of lasik surgery (but afraid of the procedure!) – would I be a candidate even if I have glaucoma – if yes, would it help the glaucoma or make no difference?
- Others – just can’t think right now.
So in conclusion, I strongly suggest reading the web site links I provided. They have a lot of information. Glaucoma really shows no symptoms and MS early signs are only realized through hindsight.
I pray you all are healthy individuals, but if you have any concerns about your health DO NOT HESITATE TO MAKE A DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT – I realize health insurance is a big factor. But I also know (through experience) the world is full of wonderful people. If you can’t afford treatment, there are so many good individuals out there that are willing to help either by setting up fundraisers or donating to your cause privately. Don’t let anything deter you from getting the care you need. Doctors always take payment plans as well – speak to them about setting up something workable for the two of you. Once your health is gone, it is extremely hard to recover.
January 4, 2007
I didn’t overindulge this Christmas season. I got through Thanksgiving just fine and I managed to get through all the festivities (and there were plenty) during the winter break.
But the scale is screaming for me to get off as soon as I step on!
Actually, it isn’t that bad. But for the first time, this year I packed up my remaining baked goods and because I cannot throw anything away, I put them in a baggie and froze them! Normally, I will consume them with my morning cup of coffee, but this year, I am not willing to pack on the pounds just not to see the pastries go to waste! So I stored them and I will take them out when it is my daughter’s birthday! And we will see how well they last! If they taste just as good in March as they did in December, perhaps next year I could start my baking in September and give most of them away as gifts. (NOTE: I tend to bake at the last minute and only have them available for Christmas Eve and later – leaving no time to give away before the actual Holiday.)
November 27, 2006
Well, Thanksgiving came and went. When I went to Weight Watcher’s meetings I would dread hearing from the whiners about the upcoming holidays and what they should do about all the food they will be faced with.
Blah Blah Blah….just don’t eat it!
Hah – easier said than done – as I soon experienced. Before I was weight conscience I never gave it much thought – you know – how much I gained over the season and if I will lose it or not. But a few years ago, I noticed I gained and I didn’t lose it – and a few months went by and I gained some more. If it wasn’t the treats during the holidays it was the BBQ’s in the summer and pool side snacking that did me in. I couldn’t win!
But I got through Thanksgiving this year.
I had Turkey – but only a few slices…
I had turkey soup, stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, stuffed mushrooms (2), cranberries, salad, and corn. Before the meal though, I had some antipasto (we’re Italian!) I promised myself I would only make a small plate and I did! BUT I added a few more pieces of cheese here and there! I wasn’t even hungry for the main meal but I had a taste of (almost) everything!
Of course we have the “pack your leftovers” routine after the meal. I was too stuffed to even think of it, but my mom wanted to clear up the dining room table and the kitchen, so I had to! First thing I packed was a stuffed artichoke (’cause I didn’t get to have any at the meal). I grabbed some turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and stuffed mushrooms and some left over antipasto salad. I became concerned about how much I must have gained so far!
Then the desserts came out. A member of our family mentioned we had one pie for each of us! That would be 11 pies my friends! I contributed with 4 that I made (that’s without a working stove!) I made an incredible Oreo Cream Pie that my family absolutely goes crazy for – so I made 2! Because just between my son and husband they can eat a pie by themselves. I also made a chocolate pudding pie and a pistachio pudding pie. There were more pies, such as caramel apple, coconut custard, pumpkin, and a cheesecake. There was a mini-sugar-free pie for my brother’s mother-in-law and I had made her individual sugar free pudding as well. There were 2 more but I can’t remember what they were!
I only had a sliver of cheesecake! I was too stuffed to eat anything else. No one had much dessert! So I packed some leftovers!
Now for my good news. The leftovers are gone, and I have not gained an ounce. That is right – last year I may have gained 5 pounds over the weekend, but not this year. Nothing!
But I still have to get through Christmas!
November 18, 2006
I have not given up on my health.
It just seems like I have – what with no blogging about it and all!
I have been walking every day – approximately 3.8 miles a day to be exact! I usually walk 5 days a week – but there are some days I do miss.
I was getting discouraged. The scale still reads 175 – some days it is down to 172 but I would say my true weight is 175. That is frustrating! Why can’t I lose more than 5 pounds.
Then just the other day I decided to measure myself again. I measured myself back in July when I started this online journal. I couldn’t believe what I saw. I lost inches – actual inches! One each on my calf, thigh and upper arm! Two each on my hips, waist and chest! My clothes have been fitting better, but I really didn’t give it much thought.
So I will continue to walk for a number of reasons:
- I am no longer out of breath when I do my laundry – which is one flight down.
- My back feels much better than it has been in a while
- I enjoy the conversations I have with my friend as we stroll the neighborhood.
- It actually seems to be doing some good – weight-wise that is. I guess I gained muscle – which weighs more than fat therefore the scale only registers the 5 pound loss.
Hopefully I will continue to lose – inches and pounds! The winter months are coming and I still intend to walk! I bought new sneakers and all! I need to find an indoor activity as well though – just in case!
October 2, 2006
OK – the other day I was weighing myself – because that is what I do!
It was Saturday morning – I just got up so I had no contacts in my eyes. I stepped on the scale. HMM – I thought to myself. And I stepped off and then on again.
I took my shower, put my contacts on, then stepped on the scale. Hmphh – I again think.
I put my clothes on then step on the scale.
“Why the hell are you weighing yourself so many times this morning” comes the voice from the bed.
“Because”, I reply to my husband, “it registers a loss and I just wanted to make sure I saw it correctly!”
So woo-hoo – it is only ONE pound – but a loss is a loss!
Actually it reads 174 – so altogether it is 6 pounds in 10 weeks! or 4 pounds this week OR 1 pound in 6 weeks (remember my problem stalemating and then gaining!)
So I am happy – guess the walking is working. And my face looks thinner too, even though my mother declared that I have fat arms in front of the whole family the other day! Thanks mom! I am surprised my blood pressure was so low!
September 28, 2006
I went for my first mammography last Friday.
I wasn’t sure if I should go.
My nurse practitioner advised that I should have a base-line mammography done since I was 36. She recommends that patients should have an initial test done at age 35. She was surprised that my gynecologist did not order one for me. I explained to her that I will be seeing that doctor the following month but my NP prescribed it anyway saying that she didn’t want to leave it to my other doctor.
Fast forward to my gynecologist appointment. My doctor is horrified that my NP ordered a mammography for me. She continues to tell me that younger doctors are too easily sending patients for these tests and that I do not need it. She doesn’t like the idea of radiation if there is no need for it. I explained to her that I do have history of breast cancer in my family. She replies by saying that at age 60 (my grandmother) was bound to get some form of cancer! Women should get a mammo done 10 years younger than the youngest member of the family when the cancer was discovered. So technically, I should have my first one at 50. BUT in all actuality woman should have their FIRST mammography at age 40 – so shame on me if I waited to age 50 anyway. In summary, she thought 36 was too young and I would be so full of radiation by the time I am 60, I would be bound to get some other illness due to it. She didn’t think it was worth it.
I became confused.
Then I decided.
Go for the baseline mammo now. See the results – if they are good, wait until I am 40 for my next test or unless I feel something unusual before then. If the results are not good, well, naturally we would go from there. (And it would be a good thing that I did go for the test!)
So Friday, I go to the lab with all my forms in tow. I do not wait long; they call my name. I need to strip down from my waist up. I got to put these cute little nipple markers on me! They are like little band-aids for my nipple. They have a metal bead (tiny) in the center. This marks where my nipple is so the technician reading the results can map out my breasts. Nipples do not show up on the X-Ray. Nifty – hah!
So I put the robe on, tie in the front. I step into the small room. [Follow this link to see a picture of the machine and for all information regarding this test.] The technician asks me to open the robe and place my breast on the machine. She takes one look at me and decides to go with the bigger film. I wait. She replaces the film and gently places my breast back on the slab. She presses a button and automatically the top part comes down and presses down on my breast. I was expecting pain, but there was none. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was cold!
She repeats this procedure with my right breast. Then she says she needs a side shot. And she does other things to get the film for that. Again, no pain, no discomfort. This concerned me. Would the film come out? Did she compress me enough to see everything? Why doesn’t it hurt? I heard so many nightmare stories. Were they from all small chested woman? Is that why? In this case, does size make a difference??!!
She asks me to stay in the room until the film is developed just to make sure it came out. She barely sticks her head in the room and says, “you could go now”. Hmm. She was very friendly in the room and yet, she abruptly tells me I can go. Did she see something on the film and didn’t want to upset me? I become nervous, because that is what I do.
I go back out to the waiting room. My daughter is surprised I was out so soon. She was trying to read her book, but the realtor waiting in the room with her disturbed her reading by talking too loud on his cell phone! We leave the building and I put all thoughts of the tests and its result out of my head.
Today I got the results in the mail.
There are no signs of cancer. My results are negative. I won’t be going for another test until I am 40!
But just recently Quest Diagnostics was in the news. They messed up someone’s results. She underwent a lumpectomy and chemo only to find out she never had breast cancer. They messed up the results – swapped with another patient. So while this woman thought she was ill, another woman received good news that she wasn’t! The lab insists that this particular woman had another test done because her doctor was not satisfied and she did in fact find out she was ill. But naturally, no one can follow up on that due to patient confidentiality. They cannot disclose her records. One can only hope this is true. And I can only hope they didn’t mess up my results.
So remember ladies, do your self exams every month. If everything is OK, still get your mammo at least every 2 years starting at 40 (minimum). And if you spot a difference – whether you are only 18 or you are 77, get it checked out further. Early detection is key to your life. The sooner you find it, the earlier you can treat it, the better your chances of survival.
Don’t be stupid! Your life depends on it. Bless you always!
September 22, 2006
Ever daydream about how you want to live your life, what you should look like, what type house you want to live in, how your family will interact with one another and others?
I do all the time.
I wish my husband was around more so that we can socialize with our friends and family more. I wish we had the beautiful house on the corner so that we can host our social gatherings.
I also wish I had the size 6 body that didn’t have to worry about what she put in her mouth at these social gatherings. Food and talk go hand in hand. You socialize, you eat. You talk, you drink. And then you gain weight!
So I am trying to do something about that. I am not succeeding but 9 weeks ago, I was gaining weight uncontrollably. Compared to that, I am doing an OK job in that I am staying status quo. But more needs to be done.
I started walking on Monday. For the 4 days, I went to my friends house and walked along her surrounding streets. We talked and had a great time. We also looked at other’s houses expressing our appreciation over their beauty or contempt over their lack of taste. We are so perfect – after all!
Today, she came by my mansion! (please note the sarcasm). I mapped out a 2.2 mile route after I dropped my daughter off at school. My friend came by after her two younger ones got on the bus. We started our walk and the homes around me just take your breath away!
We saw so many homes, we just oohed and ahhed and then of course we saw some that were huge and worth over a million easy in this area – and naturally we picked something apart about it! I even joked that I wouldn’t take that house if it was handed to me. (again note the sarcasm – I would snatch that thing up in a heartbeat!)
My point is that we decided to not only walk my route but take on other streets as well. We walked through cul-de-sacs and down dead end streets just to see the homes! It was very enjoyable and we ended up right back at my house (naturally) and walked along my property. Day dreaming out loud. Expressing what I want done. Expressing my agitation because it is NOT getting done.
We ended up in my kitchen chatting away. We talked about ovens (or lack of!) cooking and shared recipes, religion, evangelizing and our belief that we should tolerate and just lead by example, not by preaching. We laughed at our faults and supported each other when we felt bad for things we did.
All in one hour!
That is the beauty of friendship. We are trying to lose weight together, we (figuratively) lie on each other’s couches for a therapy session discussing our husbands and our kids, even our parents and siblings and their families. Nothing is sacred!
So I may have walked 5 miles today – hmm realistically 4. But it wasn’t just the exercising that was so rewarding. It was the whole experience together. My hope is that life doesn’t get in the way this time. I hope to continue to walk and to continue this new friendship with someone who is so similar to myself. I’ve known her for years, our daughters have been friends, but it’s just recently that we took the time to get together as friends ourselves.
Sometimes that is all you need – another person to validate your feelings, one who understands you and knows where you are coming from. Because you know, sometimes, your own husband just doesn’t get you!
September 19, 2006
What is wrong with me?
Why didn’t I post what I have been eating and doing for the past two weeks?
I know – the kids started a new school year and threw me all off.
Right now I have terrible cramps causing me to live off of Pamprin or Advil!
My sinuses are killing me – I note the correlation of lack of vitamins and congestion. Don’t ask – I just see a connection!
I am now dosing up on Sudafed PE and back to taking my vitamins.
I walked another 2.5 miles today, but did not eat anything as bad as a bag of chips – no matter how small they were! For breakfast I had a big bowl of Raisin Bran. I then had a bag of Cheese Nips crackers for a snack. Approximately at dinner-time, I enjoyed a peanut butter and fluff sandwich on 2 slices of white bread – OK so that wasn’t good. And finally, for dinner I had the remainder of stew that was left over from who knows when!
So now the big question, what do I weigh? It is after all Tuesday!
I gained somehow, some way – I am 178! (but it is that time of the month – where bloating and cramping prevail).
Stay tuned for my post on my mammo – that exciting first comes this Friday!
A bit of an update on my health conditions. But first a joke that may make you smile. I certainly hope it does not offend anyone!
A male patient is lying in bed in the hospital wearing an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose, still heavily sedated from a difficult, four-hour, surgical procedure.
A young student nurse appears to give him a partial sponge bath.
“Nurse” he mumbles from behind the mask, “Are my testicles black?”
Embarrassed, the young nurse replies, “I don’t know sir, I’m only here to wash your upper body and feet.”
He struggles to ask again, “Nurse, are my testicles black?”
Concerned that he may elevate his vitals from worry about his testicles, she overcomes her embarrassment and sheepishly pulls back the covers. She raises his gown, holds his penis in one hand and his testicles in the other, lifting and moving them around.
Then she takes a close look and says, “There’s nothing wrong with them, sir.”
The man pulls off his oxygen mask, smiles at her and says very slowly, “Thank you very much. That was wonderful, but, listen very, very closely…..Are – my – test – results – back?!!?”
That was cute, so I had to share it. It also brings to mind my test results. I called my doctor for my blood test results. She had to call me back. When she phoned, I thought for sure something was wrong somewhere. But lo and behold I am fine. My blood work was good!
I am relieved yet now I am confused. I had most of the symptoms for a thyroid problem…so what gives. I did ask for a copy to be sent to me personally. I will have the doctor my mom works for look it over. Plus, it never hurts to have that information at my fingertips. After all I am trying to stay on top of my medical conditions (or lack of!)
September 18, 2006
Today, I woke up tired. But I promised myself that I would go walking today.
So after my daughter was dropped off at school, I put my sneakers on, filled up a water bottle and walked out the door. After approximately 1 mile of walking, I meet up with my friend. She has her daughter’s flute in her hand. She needs to bring it to the school. We walk together and then we head back to my house – the long way.
I would say all in all I walked 2 – 3 miles. My friend needed to use my bathroom and we continued our conversation. We then decided to go to the beach as the last hoorah of the season – as it was beautiful out and we heard the weather was going to become more fall-like. I drive her home so she can shower and I came back to mine to straighten out.
I clean my bathroom and break my liquid soap dispenser. It took me a good hour to wipe up all the soap and get rid of all the suds! My bathroom is sparkling!
My friend comes by to pick me up and we stop at a deli to order a sandwich to take with us. I order a roast beef and swiss roll with mayo. I eye a bag of chips! I place it on the counter – I mean after all I did walk nearly 3 miles today! I could splurge.
I recognize a young man behind the counter and realize he is my son’s football coach. I ask my server if the other guy’s last name is “whatever”. He says yes and I said he is my son’s football coach. I joked around saying, “but I won’t say anything to him, my son would be mortified!” The guy laughs and we leave.
We get to the beach and immediately the sea gulls come around. Then we are surrounded by bees. I get more exercise by running around in circles trying to escape these little demons.
So the beach wasn’t enjoyable but we chatted about depression and therapy and all fun things! We left to go pick our daughters up from school. Now I am completely and utterly exhausted!
But I think I will go walking again tomorrow – that felt good!