Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Being Heard

Had my second cataract surgery very early this morning. Very happy to be on the far side of dealing with this "old folks" malady. A few more follow-up visits with the opthamologist and I can put this to rest.

But, the big news is that yesterday I finally had a chance to address my long list of annoying, painful, and/or vague symptoms that have been kicking around and accumulating for several years. Those symptoms that 2-1/2 weeks ago finally drove me to choose to pursue a gluten-free, limited dairy, limited legumes dietary revolution.

I felt so very encouraged as I left the Internist's office. I later sent this email to family and friends:

I have just not been well this summer. Certainly we had a lot of stress earlier which easily could have triggered the worst recurring symptoms of pain, insomnia, fatigue, etc. that I've had in the past couple of years (or ever).

Today, I am one happy camper. I don't know much more yet about what ails me, but there was blood work to (hopefully) eliminate Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I'll have those results in a few days, and fully discuss with my doctor in two weeks.

He's also reviewing all the cardiac tests I had in February 2012 (before the Shingles rashes appeared to clarify what I was dealing with). My first medical attention that time was due to cramping pain in my chest. All those tests were good results, but he'll determine what if any should be repeated. I don't feel at all like my heart-health is impaired, but with some labored breathing and fatigue we have to check...

After that, if nothing shows up, we will proceed as if I have an Auto-Immune Disorder. Probably Fibromyalgia. He will change-out the Lexapro I've taken for a number of years (periodic anxiety and agitation (a bit of depression)) for Cymbalta, which is in the same drug family but has added properties that calm down nerve endings. I could take Lyrica for the same symptoms (took for nerve pain when I had Shingles), but he prefers to stay in the same drug family as Lexapro for now.

I worked late into last night (after we came home from Small Group) to organize my research and symptoms, and to consolidate into a few brief statements. I had documented my symptoms from mid-June to mid-August, and he had that list scanned into my medical records.

During the past months, he pretty much brushed off any attempt at conversation around my fatigue and pain. I was fairly certain I'd have to find a new doctor, but today he was kind, gracious, and consoling--what we've come to expect of him over the 35+ years he's been our Internist.

Interestingly, ten days ago his very youthful and fit 65-year-old wife's heart randomly went into Tachycardia, just like CA's. He was very vocal about understanding what CA and our family had just been through and wanted to make sure I told CA that they identified strongly with our experience. His wife's heart reset itself, thankfully, so she didn't require cardiac ablation. She's on blood thinners, etc. for the rest of her life or until she requires more attention. Being married to a doctor will facilitate monitoring her INR levels much more conveniently than CA experiences. Thankfully, CA should be off Coumadin mid-September.

Anyway... I'm hopeful that many health-risk channels will be eliminated and that treatment will be as easy as changing meds. Cymbalta won't cure me, but less nerve irritation should result in better sleep and general well-being.

Lexapro is the only Rx I take, so far! My blood pressure dances around borderline, then settles into normal range, and my cholesterol has always been mid to high normal.

Enough about me! Really. I'm doing all I can with nutrition, and plan to up the exercise quotient once I'm recovered from this second cataract procedure (tomorrow). I expect good results.

I know, TMI.

As responses and encouragement emails have come in, I am interested in a recurring theme. At least three female family members and friends remarked that it is so good "to be heard." Interesting.

I know our world is full of pop-psychology and self-help lingo, but these women are thoughtful, introspective women of faith and wisdom. They probably wouldn't voluntarily call themselves feminists, but they each recognize on a deep level that every woman deserves to be heard. And, I'm pretty we are all more self-aware and self-confident than our mothers ever knew to be.



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