I've been through a lot in the past couple of days. Okay, the past couple of years, really, but the last 36 hours have found me facing down another of my greatest fears. You see, I had a urologist appointment yesterday. I wasn't looking forward to it, but my doctor wanted some answers.
What I didn't expect was that, after studying the radiology report and assessing the results of the in-office tests, the doctor would say the MS words (again): multiple sclerosis.
Shit. Didn't I just get a diagnosis of mixed connective tissue disease? As my primary care doc says, "You're over 30. You can get more than one diagnosis." I love him, but I hate it when he's right.
She - the urologist - wants to run more tests November 11th and is sending me back to the least friendly neurologist I've ever seen. At least I know he's quite competent, even if he is dry as a bone.
I tried to argue my point with the good doctor. "I've been worked up for MS more times than I can count," I said. "It can't be that."
"When was the last time you saw a neurologist?" she asked.
"November," I said.
In Atlanta. He was the stupidest quack I've ever been to. He took out a textbook to show me how the typical MS lesion was different from the ones that appeared all over my brain in the MRI films. Don't get me wrong; I don't want MS to be the diagnosis. In fact, I'm sick to death of getting diagnosed with things. But I also don't want to have a doctor dragging out a book as evidence to prove his point.
But I digress. I explained to the urologist that it couldn't be MS.
"This is new information," she said. "It could be enough to push you into that diagnosis."
Just...damn. Sometimes I feel like Herman Munster (hope you're old enough to know who he is). I want to stomp my feet and say, "Darn! Darn! Darn!" only not so politely.
Whereas a lot of women my age are starting to spring leaks, I have the opposite problem. Before I left the office yesterday, a nurse taught me how to self-cath. I can't believe that I have to do that and take measurements three times a day. It shocks me when I look at the implications of those measurements. Somehow the information isn't getting from my nerves to my brain. My brain has no clue what's going on down there. If this had not been caught, it could have started negatively impacting my kidneys. If I had stayed down south with the quack doctors, who knows what would have happened. My doctors here wasted no time in trying to get to the heart of the abnormal results they were seeing.
Right now, the whole cath thing freaks me out, though I'm getting better at doing it. Is this too much information? If so, I'm sorry. I imagine that if I'm having to do this then many, many others out there are having to do it, too. Maybe by saying it outright I'll make some of them feel less alone. After all, it isn't as bad as losing a child. It's just another thing to deal with. And honestly, I feel better afterward, once the initial discomfort passes. I noticed today that for the first time in I don't know when, I wasn't running a fever by the afternoon. If I'm lucky, the doctor will find another valid reason for this to be happening, and she will be able to fix it. I don't want it to be MS. I am hoping that one more time I can dodge that diagnosis.
I'm really glad to be in the hands of good doctors again, to be with my son, and to be with my friends who have been so incredibly supportive as I'm going through all of this. It has meant a lot to me to be able to call one of them up and just talk about something else (like kindergarten kids and Halloween) while I'm drying tears or trying to get past the pain. My friends are pretty special.
Best of all, between my local friends, long-distance friends, and blog friends, I have an incredible support system that I know will see me through low moments and scary times. When I'm not strong, they are strong for me. I do the same for them.
Sometimes life kicks us in the teeth, but it's what we do when that happens that defines our character. I'm not bowing out. I'm not refusing to cooperate. I'm just learning a new way to take care of myself. No matter what, I'll be okay. Maybe I'm meant to go through this to help someone else, who knows?
Oh, and Paul is driving in any minute with a U-Haul truck full of my things. I have severed that last tie with the mountains. Thank God....D