Sunday, October 23, 2011

Need a dustbuster for a cloud that big

As usual, my absence here at the good ole' blog is both really complicated & startlingly easy to explain: I got sicker, in one way or another, and writing fell way down on the to-do list. Which, we all know, is never a good thing for my headspace, but for some reason I can't seem to remember that until it's been weeks since I've been here - or written anything longer than a grocery list - and my brain has retangled itself into the jumbled position that writing isn't important enough, that "it's too hard/I'm too boring/it doesn't even matter." And then it takes me forever to actually make sense of anything that's up there in a cohesive way, and more time passes, and then I start feeling the pressure of that time passing, and my thoughts and emotions get so scattered and confusing, I imagine they swirl around me in a Pigpen-esque cloud.

So here are a few health bulletins I can manage to decipher from all that mess:

  • My back is getting better, and considering that next week it will have been 2 months since I fell, I have to say it's about damn time. It's never going to be great, since that's where my sensitivity is usually the worst anyways, but it's starting to get back to my 'normal' for longer periods of time. I may even put a bra on this week, which I am both dreading and resigned to: with girls as big as mine, bra-less in public is just not a good choice - (Not that I haven't done it a few times in the past two months, because, there was no choice, but if I can put it on, then I should - so I don't feel like a huge slob, anyways.)

  • The biggest surprise, and mental blow, that I have been dealing with healthwise, just recently, is the news that I am either pre-diabetic or diabetic. A few months ago, after yet another Infection From Out Of Nowhere, I had to see an emergency gynecologist (who knew there were such things?), and during the course of our appointment, she commented on the fact that sometimes, when a patient is getting a lot of random infections, she's found out that their blood glucose levels have been really high, and maybe we should check for diabetes? I shrugged my compliance, fully expecting that it would be just another test in the unending series of meaningless theories doctors have when it comes to my body. Besides, I know Zack runs a blood glucose test on me every time I'm in his office, and he would have told me if mine was wonky. A week later, the gynecologist calls me back, and she says it came back really high, and that means I'm positive for diabetes. It was actually a Hemoglobin A1c test, which measures your average blood sugar during the past three months, and a good number is less than 5%, a pre-diabetes number is less than 6.5%, and anything over that is considered diabetic.

    Mine was an 8.2, and I burst into tears when she told me. Mostly because I never considered it wouldn't be negative, and also because diabetes, well, that's FOREVER and SCARY and HOLY SHIT SOMETHING ELSE THAT IS WRONG WITH ME!!! She seemed a little taken aback that I reacted so intensely, but told me that she would get in touch with my PCP, and she'd go over all the options and treatments and what not.

    Here's what she didn't tell me, that Zack later did: Infections can cause really high spikes in blood sugar, and they can even cause diabetes. And, in a nice little cyclic twist, diabetes can cause frequent infections, particularly of the skin. It's also another clue into what the hell is wrong with me, according to him. He got really excited about it, because how had it changed so quickly (my blood numbers), and what did that mean - was it a new symptom of the greater autoimmune disaster he considers my body to be, or was it just a reasonable, if wholy unwanted, result of my size and inactivity and poor eating habits (which I didn't really consider all that poor, until I started having to track them)?

    Even more mysterious is how, when I was retested by my PCP a week and a half later, the number had dropped again to 6.4, back into the pre-diabetic range. There were lots of "that shouldn't happen" discussions, because apparently an active infection should not cause your blood sugar to spike so dramatically, and since mine did, what does that mean? They don't know, AND I don't know, but what I do know is that even if I'm only part-time diabetic, meaning only when I have an infection, that's still more than half of the year, so I still have to find a way to manage it. Which right now means doing a lot of MATH during the day, and calculating my carb intake and all that fun stuff, which is better than I expected, but still not a lot of fun - it's MATH, people. (As in "Dear Math, Solve your own problems")

  • I found this out a couple of weeks before I fell, and then the math portion of my brain was out of commission for a while (in addition to any portions of my brain not concerned with pain blocking), and the nutritionist couldn't see me until last week, and then I got another infection - this time just a regular old bronchitis - and now that my brain is turning back on, I'm trying to really focus on what kind of changes I need to be making, and it's getting complicated, fast.

  • And, to end on a more positive note, some time shortly before my sister's wedding, I found out about a local Fibro study, and was accepted to participate. Unfortunately, it's not for some new miracle drug, but instead is using MRI imaging to study brain responses to painful stimuli, and how well certain coping mechanisms, like visualization and deep breathing and all that effect those responses. It's an easy enough study to be in - an MRI when we started, an inflated blood pressure cuff on my leg to create (manageable levels of) pain, lots of talky talk with the lead investigator for a few weeks, and then another MRI to finish it up, to see if anything's changed. The study itself hasn't been hard, but adding in additional doctor's appointments has been a bit of a challenge, but one I am (now that it's almost done with) happy I followed through with. This is the first real study I've been in (I've tried some protocols with my doctors, in conjunction with a study once or twice), and it feels like such a positive step - even though I know it's not going to be that longed for miracle drug, the idea of helping the doctors figure out what the hell is going on is something that makes me feel like I'm not just marking time, but actually doing something. Which is a nice feeling. Of course, I've been delaying that last MRI for weeks now, because it means having to lay flat on my back for 45 minutes or so, which was out of the question. So I'm hoping to finish that up in the next week, so I can move on to something else.

But I'm going to take a break for today. Lots of complicated medical rambling to start off your Sunday morning.... now I have to go and figure out what sort of breakfast I can forage up.

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