Sunday, October 11, 2009

Listen to your body, then make your Doctor listen to you

I am a firm advocate of listening to my body. That's not to say that I whine and moan about every little bump, frazzle or pain. I don't.

Nor do I go running to the doctor at every sneeze. I have, however, learned to know what is significant and what isn't, and if I am not sure, then I need to ask a doc.

I know I have mentioned the muscle pain that I have had for the last year and a half. About a month ago, the pain changed location and got worse. Much worse.

You have to understand, I have a high tolerance for pain. In fact, I delivered my daughter without anesthesia. When I had my complete oophrectomy and hysterectomy, I took over the counter acetaminophen....and not a lot of it.

This pain that I experience when I moved in particular ways literally caused my eyes to water. In water aerobics, I almost passed out it was so severe. I had just been to the oncologist, and he had said that I would have a pet scan in January.

Well, with the pain escalating so and being so severe, I was actually hobbling around, I decided to ask him if I might have it earlier. My reasoning was that if it WAS cancer, then I would rather know about it now so I could start earlier trying to get everything settled out. I also thought that if there was a reason that having it earlier would cause problems, either with insurance or as a problem in my care (too much radiation?), then he would tell me and we could figure out what to do from there.

So, two days before I left for a 12 day visit to my family in Montana (by way of Washington state), I had a P.E.T. scan. Usually, it takes about a week for the reports to get back. My oncologist called me and left a message that he was going to try to talk to me the next day and that "it wasn't as bad as we thought, but it was sort of complicated."

Complicated???!!!! I called the office and left my cell phone number. He called the next day....only to have the cell phone drop it as I answered (if the wind blows the wrong direction in my parents house you are apt to do this....there isn't a lot of coverage when there are so few people to the acre). I was disgusted as he was calling from his office phone and if you redialed the origin number, you got a recording saying the office was closed.

Fortunately, he was able to get me on the second try and I vaulted upstairs (as best I could) so I wouldn't lose the call. It turns out I have a hairline fracture on the pelvis in the area of the original cancer and radiation. There is no clear sign of cancer returning (which isn't to say it isn't there necessarily), but the "complication" is that we have no idea whether the bone will heal or if it does, how well and how quickly it will heal.

He will put me on an I.V. to strengthen the bone. I'll go in and get it once a month. I did this in the past when they couldn't see what was going on, but three years ago they removed my port...so obtaining good veins is rather difficult.

I'm glad to know what it was....and especially happy that I pressed the issue to find out what was really going on. I know now that pushing it and doing exercises at the present time isn't really going to do any good, and may actually prolong the healing as the tendons and muscles which attach to the illiatic crest flex the bone and cause the hairline to move...and THAT's what hurt.

I gimp around...I walk slowly and using a shovel to plant the bulbs and finish putting the garden to bed for winter is out. I have to be careful as if I ignore it and walk too much, I pay for it in discomfort the next day.

So... I'm grateful that it is what it is....and it gives me all sorts of openings for being a pain in the derriere, and answering questions like "How to you put a cast on that?" Well...there is an expression about having your ummm . . . hindquarters . . . in a sling....but I'm not there yet. Or am I?

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