Thursday, January 08, 2009

My Medical News

In the life of any blogger, there comes a moment where you have to decide how much to share. Most days it's very easy to make that decision. Other times, it's a bit of a gray area. Today, I've struggled.

But, I thought about how you've been sharing my daily life here for almost five years. You've been with me through many ups and downs and so it would seem almost rude to not share the latest news in my world with you, even though it is not upbeat.

I apologize in advance, because this is medical stuff, but it is what I'm thinking about at the moment.

On Dec. 1 I experienced some serious pelvic pain. It happened once more very severely on my birthday, Dec. 23. Otherwise I've had some less severe pain over the last few weeks. Of course, I also had the stomach flu, so it was hard to always distinguish what was what.

My doctor scheduled me for a pelvic sonogram before Christmas but I had the stomach flu and rescheduled it. You have to drink 32 ounces of water and I didn't think I could keep it down.

I went for it on Monday. This morning my doctor's office called to tell me it showed a "suspicious mass" on my right ovary. So, today I went in for a CT scan, blood work, and a visit with my doctor.

This thing is about the size of a large grapefruit. It appears solid, so more of a mass than a cyst, although they don't know. They don't know if it's benign or cancerous, but my CA125 test - which is the closest thing to a screen for ovarian cancer we have - shows a level of 23, which is well within the normal range of 0-32. The CT shows no other masses in the region.

So, I have an appointment on Monday with a gynecological surgeon. I will have to have surgery to remove it - probably very soon. They will be able to do the pathology on it while I'm under, so oddly enough, other people will know if it's cancerous before I do. But, so it goes.

Greg was still in Joplin and when I called him this morning to tell him he just jumped in the car and headed back so he could be with me at my 4 p.m appointment. I was so thankful to have him there. I needed him to ask the right questions. I've never had any serious medical issues so this is a lot to digest. It was also a huge comfort to have him with me.

I'm a big believer in the idea of a "divine plan" and that what we're doing or experiencing at any given moment is what we're supposed to be doing or experiencing. This certainly isn't something I would have chosen for myself, but for whatever reason, it's where I find myself. So, I'm going to try to be thankful for this experience and what it has to teach me.

I am incredibly thankful for my doctor and his nurse who are very kind and caring people. They spent an hour and a half with me this afternoon, answering questions and making appointments. And, thank heavens, he did the CA125 test so I had that information. I do find that comforting.

I'm certainly teary and upset at times, but overall I'm okay. I have no choice but to move through this. I hate the idea of having surgery. I hate the idea of what it's going to cost. I hate the idea of being down for some time. But, I don't really have another choice at this point. It's too large to ignore or keep watching to see what happens. And I can't go through every day wondering if I'm going to be incapacitated by pain. So, I can only hope it's benign and surgery goes smoothly and recovery is quick.

I'm not making any plans until I see the surgeon on Monday. I'll know more then. In the meantime I'm going to figure out where I'll recuperate at home. I doubt I'm going to feel like climbing the stairs to bed. This is the time to regret getting rid of the sofa bed, I guess.

Barbara is coming over Saturday to help me take down the tree. I want to get all the Christmas stuff put away before I go in. Unfortunately, I can't lift much of anything. The last time I picked up something the least bit heavy - a suitcase - it started the pain. That's going to make it difficult to get things around the house done, but I'll just do the best I can do.  There are many work things I need to handle, too, of course. Fortunately, with technology these days I'll be able to work from home. 

Your good thoughts, healing energy, and prayers are much appreciated at this time.
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Search for the Dignity in Everyone

I hunger for meaningful conversation. Not chit chat about the weather, or idle talk about last Sunday's dinner, but meaningful conversation. I want to engage with people on a level where I learn who they are at the core. The surface is all the candy coating. I want to know people in a different way.

I've been thinking for awhile about starting another group to have an opportunity for that. As I was driving to and from Kentucky this time I was listening to podcasts and it occurred to me that I often read or hear something that makes such an impression on me I want to note it. I realized those sorts of things might be a way to facilitate moving a group from the surface to something deeper.

When something really makes an impression on me it's a spiritual moment. These are not to be brushed aside, but to be considered carefully. These are not experiences to be taken lightly. They should be given their due.

One of the phrases that caught my ear this time, that I made a note of, was the idea to, "Search for the dignity in everyone." I find that such a poetic way of imploring us all to respect our fellow humans. Search for the dignity in everyone. Isn't that lovely? I think I will remind myself of that phrase on a regular basis. Search for the dignity in everyone.

I had an opportunity this evening to apply that to a real life situation. When I'm out of the office I transfer the phone to my cell, and if I'm awake when it rings, I answer it - morning, noon or night. Tonight I've had two calls, which is unusual for one evening. After midnight I had a call from a woman who was suffering a mental health crisis. I'm not a therapist and I'm very careful to never give medical advice. This woman was not at her best, understandably so. She was not dignified in language or behavior. But, when we search for the dignity in everyone we can see beyond those things to the person - fellow human - who is hurting. This story has a happy ending. With dignity.
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