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Archive for the ‘17. Journal’ Category

Update and Farewell

Much has changed.  Florida was wonderful, a much needed respite from what I’d come to know as daily life.  In fact, the time away gave me exactly the time I needed to rest, recover, rejuvinate, and re-evaluate my life circumstance.  Came home and quit my job… traded it in for an office manager position so my body wouldn’t be so taxed.

As for the medical issues, I’ve gone through a wide array of tests and potential conditions, but when it was all said and done, it seems my issues are female issues – possible side-effects of the partial hysterectomy I’d had ten years ago, mis-firing ovaries, cysts, and a return of endometriosis (sp?).  There’s a possibility I’ll go in to complete the process and have both ovaries removed… but I’m not rushing into it, and there are other things that have priority.  Now that I’m not as stressed, not as physically exhausted, and have a job/schedule I’m much more pleased with, I’ve re-gained the lost weight, the headaches have ceased, and I seem to be doing much better.

The blog is going to be dormant.  I’ve lost much of my life’s work thanks to a computer crash and my own ignorance in not backing up my files.  I’m leaving this blog up for the time being — I’ll need to extract my work from it and save it in personal files; but I won’t be updating it from this point forward.  I’m going into solitary mode, a place where privacy offers comfort.

I’m grateful to all who have walked this journey with me, offering support, encouragement, and inspiring dialogue.  It’s been a wonderful experience and I’m honored to have crossed paths with truly compassionate souls.

All my best,

W

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Gone to Florida

Had an unbelievably bad reaction to the dye I had to drink for the cat scan. Barely made it home that morning and was violently ill the whole day. Still waiting for results from the scan, which I should have by Monday afternoon. Friends and loved ones have been coming to the rescue and making sure we have what we need. My kids have been amazing.

I’ve been invited to a wedding in Florida and a week away to rest, relax, and de-stress. Initially, Id planned not to go, but since I’m temporarily out of work anyway and will be in good company, the kids and I discussed and they encouraged me to enjoy the opportunity and unwind.

The computer will be in the shop for two full weeks… I feel a little lost without it – and yet I understand the Universe wants me to have the down time.

Leaving tonight or tomorrow morning and not exactly sure when I’m coming back – Friday, Monday, or any day in between. Will post test results as soon as I get them.

Everything is changing – changing fast. Nonetheless, life is good.

W

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tests

test for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever came back negative. It’s 6:15 am and I’m on my way in to the hospital for MRI and cat scan. Haven’t taken the computer in to be fixed yet– have to locate the paperwork first. Will post test results and updates as I get them.

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well hell

as if the universe is not toying with me enough, my only home computer crashed last night. Am posting now from the iPhone. Have cat scan and MRI thursday morning at 8:30. Out of work until then. T.V.s also on the fritz and iPhone connection is iffy. Thank heavens for good meds that keep me sleeping. Have no idea if, when, or how the laptopp will be fixed. My posts may be few and far between for a bit, but will post medical updates as they happen.

W

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Monday Morning

Didn’t even make it through half a shift yesterday.  Fortunately, another server was trying to pick up a shift, so I let him have mine – and then I called my mom from the break room, crying.  She advised me to go ahead and get today’s shift covered – she had a feeling I’d drive all the way down there, have the same issues, and have to drive all the way home – a major waste of gas, plus an inconvenience to my managers if they’d have to cover my shift with no notice.  I took her advice and had them cover today, but that just leaves me sitting here feeling guilty for not providing for my family.  If stress has anything to do with my current health situation, then this is NOT helping my case in the least.

I’m supposed to get test results today – and I plan on calling them every hour on the hour beginning at 9 a.m., which is about 20 minutes from now.  If this is what I’m dealing with, the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, I mean, then I want to grab the bull by the horns and begin treatment aggressively and immediately — and if that’s not what I’m dealing with, then I want to figure out what the F is going on in my system so I can get it fixed!

The meds they have me on help to a degree – it doesn’t remove the headache all together, it just numbs it up a bit – and the muscle relaxers knock me clean out (so I can’t take those at work) – but even sitting here in my desk chair I feel like there’s a water baloon stuffed under my rib cage – I can physically feel it.  I feel it when I lay down…. I just want to know what this is and be done with it so I can return to my life.

I hate writing the whining poor me posts, but it’s all I can do at the moment.  I don’t have the energy to get into a Daily Dose, or to work on research for articles – although it’d be wonderful if I could be productive in some way while I’m not working at the restaurant.  This would be the perfect time for me to get some of my website content ready… if I could focus on anything!

I am blessed in that I’m surrounded by people who care, who would go out of their way to make sure we have what we need or to offer a bit of comfort. 

The dogs can sense that something’s wrong, and all four of them have been clinging to me for the past three days, especially Sirius.  They had been trained to stay off of my bed, but Sirius now jumps up there any time he thinks I’m headed that way – and if I do lay down, he tucks himself in to my abdomen, while Bella-Beltane tucks herself against my back.  They sandwich me.  And if one of them moves to go get a drink or a snack, the other two dogs fill in, Odin taking the abdomen, Honey taking the back.  I appreciate their healing energy and the constant love they surround me with.

I hate feeling incapacitated!

 

Nonetheless, life is good.

W

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Medical Update

Good news and bad news.  The good news is, it’s not cancer.  Blood tests came back showing everything was normal, for the most part.  No thyroid problems, no diabetes, no cancer, etc.  However, the doctor has sent my blood back to the lab for one more test.  She believes my symptoms are consistent with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and since I do have an odd-scarred tick bite on the artery on my neck, it’s a reasonable conclusion.  I won’t get results until Monday.

Rocky Mountain fever is caused by a tick bite – and while it does often present a rash, a rash does not always have to be present – and the lack of rash can make it difficult to diagnose.  Early symptoms include fever, sore throat, flu like symptoms (all of which I’ve had within the last three months since I got this bite), and as the condition spreads, can cause severe headaches, loss of appetite, weight loss, muscle pain, etc.

Here’s the hard part.  If untreated or not caught early enough, it can lead to kidney failure, lung failure, heart failure, and meningitis (water on the brain/spine) – and in some cases, though rare, can be fatal.  Because my kidney is currently in the condition it is, this would indicate that we did not catch the problem soon enough to treat it with simple oral antibiotics, if that is, in fact, what I have.

So, we can rule out cancer and sigh a sigh of relief – but, I’m not out of the woods just yet.  Something is causing me to drop weight drastically and my kidney to go haywire.  I won’t know until Monday whether or not we’ve found the diagnosis, or if we’ll be back at the drawing board trying to find out what’s causing this.

I spent the entire day in bed today, which sent a lot of people into a panic.  Apparently, where I’d set my cell phone, it wasn’t getting signal, so I never heard it ring and wasn’t being notified of text messages.  I awoke at 2:30 and called the doctor, and while I was on the phone, all the messages came through.  By the time I reached my son, he said he was about 20 seconds away from calling 911.  In fact, he’d already called Atlas, who tried to reach me from Vegas!  They’d also called my mother, so she was worried and trying to reach me from work.  I’m so sorry I sent everyone into a panic, yet was so grateful to realize how truly loved I am, and how carefully my loved ones are watching over me.

For now, I’m taking another dose of meds and falling back out.  Monday seems so far away.  I just want to know what it is I’m facing!

Nonetheless, life is good.

W

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The 48 hours have been exceded, and I’m still waiting for word from the doctor. Took the right medicine to work yesterday, but also made an executive decision not to wear a bra.  I figure with the tank top, the Oxford, and the apron on top, no one would notice, and I’d not suffer.  I was right – no one noticed. The medicine and lack of bra helped, but not 100%.  Fortunately, we had someone scheduled to come in and give us breaks at five o’clock, but no one wanted breaks, so he’d have driven to work for nothing.  I asked if he’d be interested in finishing my shift, and he was delighted — and the manager was very understanding and allowed it with no problem. Came home, took pills, passed out. Same as yesterday, woke at about ten, took another dose, passed back out and didn’t wake up ’til 8:30 this morning.  At least I’m sleeping these days, which is more than I can say for what August and the first half of September offered.

I’ve a friend at work I’ve mentioned more than once – the girl who is helping me get business off the ground.  I do believe I’ll call her Sorscha from this point forward.  She and I were talking in the break room yesterday, and she’s the one person I feel really close to that I can go “shields down” in front of.  We were talking about how I’m managing and I was really making a joke out of my situation – that I haven’t managed to go to the store and we’re out of everything.  I made the joke that the kids were using shampoo as body wash.  When I left work that afternoon, there was a card stuck in the steering wheel of the jeep that read, “Who loves ya?!”, and in the passenger seat was a grocery bag with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and hair spray.  I cried – but it was a combination cry – the kind that makes you feel like shit for not being able to provide what needs to be provided when it’s needed, coupled with the kind that just squeezes your heart because you know you have genuinely good friends who care.  It’s not so much that I couldn’t afford to provide as much as it is that I just haven’t felt like I could go anywhere.

I cancelled all of today’s tarot readings.  Even if I could have driven from place to place, or had a central location to do readings from (which Indigo offered when she read of my situation), doing readings takes a lot of personal energy; it is a “psychic connection” even though I’m using the cards as a tool, and I just don’t feel I’ve got that extra personal energy to share today.  Everyone was very understanding and told me to let them know when I’m feeling better and they’d reschedule.

Baby girl showed me a science project when I got home last night.  Her assignment was to make a model of an atom.  She used aluminum foil, glitter-painted buttons, weed-wacker wire, and a hot glue gun.  Her results were stunning! She didn’t ask for help from anyone and worked diligently on it for days.  I’m so proud of her.  She sure does take her education seriously and she’s adjusting marvelously to high school.

Rhythm came into my room after I’d settled in bed, sat on the edge and asked, “How ya feelin?”

“Like ass,” was my reply, but I grinned and thumped his leg when I said it.  He then proceded to tell me how much money he’s earning for college by maintaining a 3.7 grade average or higher.  Our schools have a system now that each quarter that has a 3.7 or higher gpa, the student receives scholarship funds – and the higher the gpa, the more funds they receive.  Furthermore, that scholarship duplicates each year of college, so if he earns $2,000 in scholarship funds, he’ll receive $2,000 for each year of college. Being a Junior this year, he’s quite focused on his formal education — and on his dreams of studying abroad in Japan. He’ll do it, too — I know he will.

I’m in a strange place today.  My mind doesn’t feel like studying. I’ve got all these books here and until now have had such a desire to drink them down, but my head just doesn’t feel like doing it today.  It’s not because of pain, I just feel a block, like the universe is saying, “Not now, kid. Not now.”  I also don’t feel like playing SIMS2, which is totally out of character for me.  I’m a SIMS2 addict.  I’ve got three numerology reports to do, and five tarot readings to transcribe, but I’m just not in it today.  I suppose it’s meant to be a day of rest.

Will do the daily dose and see how I feel when it’s done.  I’ve not taken any meds yet, so I’m thinking perhaps when the cards are on the table, I’ll medicate and go back to bed. *shrugs*

I feel like I’m in some strange limbo.  Nonetheless, Life is good!

W

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I over-slept again, which is and isn’t surprising.

I wasn’t able to pull my full shift yesterday. Not only does my entire abdomen swell and “pull” while I’m working, aggravated intensley by wearing a bra, but I also took the wrong medicine to work and had nothing on hand to tame the headache.  I swear, when I was in the break room in the back of the building, I could hear a fork scrape a plate at table 214, which is in the second dining room, far right corner of the front of the building. Sounds from the dish room were piercing, and each time I walked into the front dining room, I felt like I was being bombarded by a million screaming voices.  I was in tears most of the day, with permanent crease down the center of my forehead from squinting – not from poor vision, but pain. I was scheduled to work ’til 7, they let me go at four.

I took off the bra in the jeep, which seems to have become habit, now.  It’s like tying a rubber band around a water balloon – it just puts too much pressure.  As soon as I got home, the kids tucked me into bed, brought me medicine – and that was it, I was down for the count.  Woke at ten just in time to say goodnight to the kids, take another dose of meds, finish my traffic school course (YAY! It’s done!), and then passed back out by 12:30.  It was after 8 when I woke this morning.

While I napped last night, I had several incoming calls from friends and people who are concerned.  I slept so solid I never heard the phone ring, but the voicemails were extremely touching and provided a bit of comfort when I needed it most.

I should get blood results today or tomorow. I’m hoping for today.  I just want to know what it is that I’m dealing with here. It’s hard to brace yourself for a blow when you don’t know where the blow is coming from, or aiming toward.

Will try to pull my own weight at work today and push through the whole shift. I’m scheduled for 9 hours, and Thursdays are usually my best money days.  Then, I have two days in a row that I don’t have to be Wendi the Wonder Waitress.  I do have Friday booked for readings, and I think I’d be okay there since it’s mostly sitting. My only concern is the driving, as driving seems to aggravate this thing. I may end up cancelling those appointments, which burns my ass because I’ve been working so hard to build a client base, and some of these clients are new.  On the same token, if I push myself too hard, who knows how long I’ll be out of commission.  I guess I’ll play it by ear throughout the day and make my decision by day’s end.

No time for the Daily Dose today – plus, I’m resisting it a bit, I think – but will get back to it as of tomorrow morning, provided I feel okay and don’t overlseep.

Life is good.

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So, I finally made it to the doctor.  It was about ten after five when we walked through the door at Urgent Care.  By five-thirty I had all the paperwork filled out, and then it was a waiting game.  I suppose it was somewhere around six when they called my name.  The kids gave me the inquiring eyes: “Should we come with you?”  I made bug eyes at them, which meant, “Don’t be ridiculous! Of course you’re coming!”

We get nestled into our room and the nurse begins her investigation, taking note of everything I said.  I figured it’d be a while before the doctor came in, but it was actually very quick.  I liked the doctor.  It was a young woman with a short haircut and big eyes.  She had a warm smile, and her concern for me was obvious.

Sometimes you go to the doctor and they make you feel like you’re an inconvenience, or like there’s really no reason for you to be there.  They don’t listen, they cut you off in mid-sentence, or they just treat you like you’re ignorant.  This woman was none of those things.  She listened intently to everything, asking a few questions along the way.  Then, she made me giggle with her choice of words.

“Okay, I’m just gonna look at your little belly.”

“Now I’m gonna look in your little ears.”

“I’m gonna take a peek at your little face.”

Everything was “little”.  I thought that was cute.

When it was made clear that I had a run in with cancer ten years ago, the concern was obvious.  She decided it’d be best to start out with a full blood screen, and a few x-rays.

The x-rays came first.  A much bigger, much less friendly woman came into the room and instructed me to follow her down the hall.  The room she took me to felt like a freezer, it was so cold!

“Take off your jeans, put on this gown, lay down on the table.”

I slipped out of my jeans, unfolded the paper napkin she called a gown, and then wondered… “Hmmm, does it open in the back, or in the front?” I debated for a moment, standing there shivering in my panties, then opted for opens in the front because it was my front they were x-raying, so it seemed logical.

The woman calls out to me from behind her glass window: “Are you ready?”

“Maybe.” I reply.

“Maybe?” She responds.

“Yeah. Which way is this thing supposed to open, in the back or in the front?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Well, how do most people do it?”

“Most people have it open in the back.”

I giggled.

She came out from behind her glass window and proceded to wrap and tuck my “gown” around my hips and tummy on the ice-slab she called a table.

“It doesn’t matter, Hon. You’re so tiny we could wrap this thing around you eight times and still have left overs.”

I was shivering.

She went back behind her glass wall and said, “Okay.  Take a deep breath in.  Hold it.” She makes a loud click sound, then says, “Okay, you can breathe.”

She comes back to the ice-slab, takes something out of it, and says, “Okay, we’re probably done. Just let me check this real quick. Stay put. I’ll be right back.”

While she was away, my whole body started tremmoring.  Teeth chattering.  I thought I was gonna freeze to death.

She comes back with a bit of a different expression on her face and says, “We’re gonna do one more… a little lower this time.”

I knew right away she’d found something.

She sends me back to my room and I instantly ask my son for his hoodie.

“Mom, you look ridiculous!” he says, then does an impersonation of me shivering.

“Well,” I said, half giggling, “I had to take off my pants….”

Before I could finish my statement, the boy interrupted, “That’s not part of the x-ray procedure, you know.”

The three of us cracked up.

“They found something, you know.” I said, point blank.

“How do you know?” My daughter asked.

“I can just tell. Trust me.  I don’t know what they found, but they found something.”

Everyone exchanges glances, then my son says, “Don’t worry.”  Then, he and is sister entertain me by doing goofy dances and playing music through their ipod headphones. A few minutes later, the nurse came in to draw blood.  Rhythm left the room for that part, but Stinkerbelle held my hand and let me bury my face in her shoulder.

Five minutes after that, the doctor was back.

“Well,” She starts, “If it’s okay with you, I’d like to schedule an MRI and a CAT scan – we really need to take a closer look at you, and we’re not equipped to do that here in this office.”

“Okay…” I say it, but we all understand it to be more of a question.

“Your x-ray came back showing something that I believe is your kidney.  I’m saying kidney because…” And she goes on to describe the differences between the smooth edges of the kidney vs. the jagged edges of other internal organs as they appear in x-ray, then she continues, “… but I question whether or not this could actually be your kidney.  It has to be, I think, but if it is, it’s extremely enlarged.  I mean really enlarged.”

“Okay, what causes that?” I ask.

“It could be a mass inside the kidney; but it could be that you’ve got compounding problems here, which is why I’d like to do more tests.  I’d like to make sure you don’t have any tumors or abnormal growths in your head causing your headaches, and really make certain this is your kidney I’m seeing.”

In the mean time, she’s given me two medications: a muscle relaxer and something for the headaches.  She said we should have results of the blood tests in 24-48 hours and when they call with those results, they’ll have a time and place for me to go have the MRI AND CAT scan done.  She said if I feel I can handle it, I should be able to work, but that I should listen to my body and if I feel it’s too much, then honor that and don’t go to work.  Of course I’m going.

So, I’m a bit on edge, yes.  They seem to be leaning toward thoughts of cancer.  I took both medications just as I pulled into the driveway, and it’s the first relief I’ve had from this headache in days.  The kids are concerned, but supportive and encouraging – and my mom was Johnny on the spot meeting me at the pharmacy offering to pay for my prescriptions ’cause she knew I couldn’t afford them.

So the diagnosis is incomplete, but a large mass in the kidney is what’s suspected, and they’re looking for tumors in the head.  Groovy.  In the mean time, I’ll continue to serve the beans ‘n’ greens with a smile and hold to my personal motto:

Life is good.

*big breath*

W

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As promised, I called the doctor yesterday morning.  I told them I was being referred by my mother, and they told me they could get me in within about two to three weeks, then asked what I needed to be seen for.  I explained to the receptionist about the severe headaches, occasional nose bleeds, rapid weight loss, and the swelling in my right side.  She said, “Okay, we can get you in today. How soon can you get here?”  But when she realized I was a new patient, she went back to her original tune, “We can’t see you for at least three weeks.” She then encouraged me to go directly to the ER.

I’m not going to the ER. Instead, I went directly to work.  I worked the full day, almost.  By six-thirty, my entire right side was tight, solid as a rock.  I’d noticed some strange interactions – like, the headache was a constant presence, but mostly a “numbness” or “tingling” rather than pain.  But whenever I’d pick up a tray (with my left hand), I could feel a cold tingling shoot up my back and into the base of my head. It felt like cold water.  The headache would intensify the entire time I was holding the tray, but as soon as I’d set it back down, I’d feel the “cold water” slide back down my back until it was gone.  I tried to eat, but didn’t get along too well with the grilled chicken I’d ordered and mostly just pushed things around my plate, forcing in a few bites along the way.  At about six-thirty, when I went to pick up an iced tea pitcher, I felt a “pop” just under my rib cage. It wasn’t painful… just weird.  Then my whole abdomen started to swell.  They let me go home.

When I got home, both of the kids were concerned and wanted me to go to the ER, but I suggested we wait and carry through with our original plan, which was to go to the urgent care center after they get home from school today.  We discovered that if I lay down, the swelling and tighness subside.  It’s when I stand up or am in motion that it seems to be aggravated.  The “ball” or “mass” that was under my rib cage seems to move.  Last night, it was lower in my torso, near my belly button, off to the right a bit.  My mom came over and pushed things around, wiggled things up, and the knot disappeared all together.  Later that night, when I was sleeping, it came back out… under the rib cage again.  So, it moves, hides, then resurfaces.  It’s not painful, though – it’s just “weird”.  There is a tenderness to touch… but it’s more like nerves or pinched nerves than it is a pre-existing pain.  You have to touch it in the right spot for it to hurt, but if untouched, it’s just “there”.  So, when the kids get home this afternoon, we’ll drive into town and visit the urgent care to see what’s going on.  Meanwhile, I still have this stupid headache.

Gonna push through a Daily Dose this morning, then wrap up my traffic school.  Tonight, I need to type up the reports from last week’s Tarot Readings and numerology, because I’m already booked full for this Friday. I’d like to get last Friday’s business in order before this Friday accumulates more.

Haven’t studied at all this week, or worked on my articles.  Part of that is just because of the headache, and the stress I’m carrying around.  There are so many things I’m worried over right now – the Jeep, the dogs, the bills, the lack of groceries, the romantic situations, the business, my health conditions, work issues, etc. — it’s hard to be creative under that mountain of stress – and I’m sure that stress is responsible for some if not all of my physical issues.

Nonetheless, life is good.

W

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