Thursday, November 20, 2008

Damn my health

My dear friend, M, likes to point out when he or I "somatize" our emotional lives. I thought of him today as I walked the 25 minutes home from my gynecologist's office and felt completely dizzy...like, falling-down dizzy...the whole way.

I have been monitoring the growth on my ovary since last March's unpleasant scare. (Well, "I" haven't been monitoring...doctors have.) Every two months, I go for an ultrasound and then a follow-up appointment with the specialist. It's mostly all stayed the same...same size, etc...and we were vaguely discussing the eventual need for surgery, but it all seemed far away. There was never any real urgency after the initial scare. But today, I learned, it's growing again. And he's clasifying it as a tumour, not a "complex cyst." So we are looking at surgery. I told him I wanted to do it in April, after classes are over. He hemmed and hawed about whether it would be okay to wait that long, and decided that it would. BUT he wanted me to have another ultrasound in a month or so, and a certain blood test, and if either of those indicates further rapid growth, then he'll want to do surgery immediately. I.e. in the middle of the teaching term, I'd have to be off for at least four weeks. Ugh.

And he also told me that my research plans (3-4 weeks of research in Paris, in late May/June) will perhaps be messed up by travel insurance, which will not pay if I have a pre-existing condition. So that leaving the country just, say, 6 weeks after this surgery, is very risky. Damn. Damn damn damn.

So I walked home and felt very, very dizzy and just tired of all this. Just kind of small and unexpectedly a little scared.

Also tired because this morning I went to another specialist - a neurologist - about the insane headaches and strange facial and aural things I've been having. (He thinks it's nothing, really.) And two weeks ago, went to the orthopaedic surgeon after I came home from that dance weekend and basically my knee was completely fucked. I've been doing physiotherapy for over two months now, and it's becoming more and more clear that my knee is just not ever going to be the same. the initial goal of physio was to strengthen so I'd be able to run again. But I am seriously doubting that I'll be able to run again, given the way my knee is - even in the face of my diligent and zealous commitment to my intense exercise regime. The physiotherapist - I adore him - has gone from extreme positivity to a much more tempered and sober outlook.

The surgeon was a dismissive ass and now I'm on an eight-month waiting list for an MRI. (That's right, Michael Moore, the free healthcare system you laud is BROKEN.)

I think I'm dizzy because I'm overwhelmed by having gone from the picture of health, one year ago, to this...where I have four health-related appointments this week alone. I'm only turning 34 next month, for chrissake. What the hell is going on. I feel old and tired.

13 comments:

Dr. K said...

I'm sorry to hear that things aren't looking so great at the moment. Here's hoping that sunnier days are just over the horizon!

Speaking of MRIs, ask to be put on the cancellation list. If someone calls to cancel their MRI, the MRI folks start calling people off of this list. It may mean that you'll only have an hour or two of warning for your MRI but, if you can do it, it's much better than waiting 8 months.

Laura said...

Just wanted to sympathize, especially on the headache issue. I've been dealing with headaches and dizziness for two years. I have a test in a few weeks to finally determine what might be going on. I have tmj issues, which are probably related, and my ent things all of it might be exacerbated by anxiety (duh) and might need to deal with that issue too. And yes, I was fabulously healthy a couple of years ago, and now there are days I don't even want to get out of bed.

I hope you get everything resolved. I have hope that they will figure something out in my case and be able to treat it.

Maude Lebowski said...

i wish i could give you a big, long, hug. cyber ones will have to do i suppose, and the mutts and SB sent their love as well.

here's hoping to a better outcome of all of this.

though not trying to be an alarmist, but despite not wanting to do it mid-term, i mean, there's not that much time of the semester left, and you could take the winter break to recoup, and surely there is a colleague or two who can take over your classes at the end. it sucks to leave the term like that, but students will understand. that way, too, if you did it soon, you cold go on your research trip this summer with a clean bill of health.

(((((((((((hilaire)))))))))))

medieval woman said...

Oh god - of course you feel overwhelmed! I'm sorry it's all teh bermuda triangle for you right now...

thinking of you as always and a big hug from me AND TD!

(((((H)))))

kermitthefrog said...

I'm so sorry! How frustrating to deal with both medical problems and a system that's making it harder for you.
((((Hilaire))))

What Now? said...

Damn, Hilaire, what a horrible, horrible year you've had.

What are the school's policies on medical leave during the year? It is noble and generous of you to want to wait on surgery until after classes are over, but there is something to be said for prioritizing your own health and not being willing to sacrifice so much for an institution and profession.

Hugs and much sympathy to you.

Belle said...

Ditto to all of the above. Especially the hugs. I second Maude's advice: get the surgery over the holidays. You'll feel okay after a couple of days, most likely. The rest of the time they'll want you to not drive, that kind of stuff. But by the time term starts again, you'll be fine. And then it won't screw up your travel plans.

If you really want the MRI, a bit of perspective: you can come to the US and pay... oh, $2500USD for it. (Plus the cost of having somebody read it). Or more. The knockdown price our insurance companies actually pay is more like $1200. In Japan, where they are apparently the Thing: under $30.

Marcelle Proust said...

I know a lot of people who sort of "fell apart" physically in their 30s. And then got better. It's a combination of annoying and terrifying while you're going through it. But hang in there. There's more life coming.

Hilaire said...

Thanks, all - you're the best.

I had a talk about this with my Chair today and he's encouraging me to have the surgery in January. (I am determined that I am not going to give up my winter vacation in Home City/Fun City/Dad City - I have already lost all of my weeks of vacation this year, and if I can't go Home in December for these 2 1/2 weeks, I'll poke my eyes out. We're not looking at cancer, likely. Obvs if we were, I wouldn't be precious about my vacation time and would do this immediately.) Unfortunately, that would mean I'd miss the first 4-6 weeks of term, but Chair is on top of it. I'm going to go back and talk to my specialist in ten days about whether that's an option.

Maggie said...

Wow, H, I am amazed at how strong you are in the face of all this crap. What hideous stuff to have to deal with, and I concur with everyone about the need for much hugging.

I'm thinking of you, dear H, and sending healing thoughts your way.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your Chair please do the surgery as soon as possible, let someone else deal with the first part of the semester. I don't know where you are but I know that people get faster MRIs in Toronto by opting to do them in the middle of the night, sometimes it's the next week. Be aggressive with the people who book in a nice way. One of my friends advocated for me this year, since I am having what I hope is the worse year of my life, since more will be unbearable. Anyway on a happier note she got on the job and got me in for a procedure in a week in Ontario. I think you could do it with the MRI if you have the energy to deal with the kind of resistance you will get. Good luck and I hope it all goes well.

JoVE said...

On the medical insurance front... My dad no longer buys insurance when he travels. He has a heart condition and is almost 80 and it would cost an awful lot. What he has discovered is that OHIP will refund reasonable medical expenses incurred in another country at the level they would pay here. (I don't know if you are in Ontario but I bet other provinces do this too). In most European countries this will be fine as coverage. It means you have to pay up front and get it back so you need good credit. (And he just doesn't go to the US.)

JustMe said...

Oh hilaire, so sorry about all this. You're in my thoughts... And I apologize for being so late to reading this...