Friday, October 16, 2009

Can't Come Up With A Title

I am not sure how to title today's post - Ending Years of Denial, Off to be Labeled, or Volunteering Again. Today (and tomorrow and Sunday), I am off to the Thyroid Cancer Survivor's (hence the label - I hate that word) Association's annual conference which is being held in the Boston area for the first time (ending the denial). I will be a volunteer - which means I will sit at a table talk to people about things that I don't really know about. I will also get to attend some sessions on fun topics such as 'Long term survivorship' (I better be in that club after 28 years even if I hate the word), 'Coping with Multiple Health Issues (maybe I could write that one), or 'Ask A Doctor: Managing Thyroid Cancer for those diagnosed before 18 or as Young Adults' (I may be too old for that one). I am sure I will get a yummy bag lunch each day and my back will hurt by the end of the day (but wait, it hurts at the start of the day so I guess there won't be any difference).

In some ways I am looking forward to this. This is the lost ailment for me. I really don't know much about it, can barely tell you what kind I had (papillary and some follicular if I look it up), and much about long term effects. I do know it has meant a lifetime of synthetic thyroid hormone and annual doctor visits with a chest x-ray for a thingy in my lungs and the statement 'with your medical history, we have to be sure' repeated over and over again before every test/exam/surgery/procedure. Maybe I can learn more about living with this... And long term issues and recurrence stuff - the warm fuzzy side of cancer again.

Anyway, it should be interesting. And will top off an interesting week. The cat went back to the vet (let's talk about his ailments, rather than mine for once). His diabetes is getting better. He seems to be producing his own insulin again which means we lower the dose to one unit twice a day and go back in a week. If he is stable, no more insulin - even though we just refilled the $100/bottle. But they also think he might have high blood pressure because his eyes are dilated. He has had this problem for a while with his eyes but they can't really check his blood pressure (what do they do have a miniature cuff for him?) because he is so scared while at the vet. How do you treat high blood pressure in a cat? Take him for a daily walk to give him more exercise? Change his eating habits - no more snacks? But he is getting back to normal.

Now my week included a visit to the physical therapist which was actually a positive medical experience for me for once. The PT thought that my ankle has healed really well, I have exercises (3 sets of 20 twice a day or 2 sets of 30 - I can't remember), and will go back for about 3-4 weeks of twice weekly visits and he thinks that's all I will need. I will add that physical therapy makes my ankle hurt.

However I went to see my therapist who is a psychologist and she is concerned about me. The lovely Lyrica can cause some anxiety and depression issues so she wants me to talk to a medication specialist about all the stuff I am on. She took me to the triage room to set up the appointment. It was the secret room in the back... with one really weird patient in there who was a little scary... and they scheduled me to meet with a psychiatrist who specializes in medication next week. They wanted me to wait around to meet with someone that day but I really didn't have time (and the other guy was creeping me out). So let's see am I anxious and depressed about non-stop medical issues and they give me medication (which has not yet kicked in to help my back) that can compound these emotions? And I already take a lot of other medications (could stock my own pharmacy) Hmmm... How would you feel?

Well, right now I feel like I am late. I have to leave soon and have not yet taken a shower or gotten dressed. But I have eaten breakfast.

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