Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm fixed.

No, I wasn't spayed, but according to my GI doctor's office, I'm pretty much fixed.  I still have problems swallowing, and honestly, there's not much more they can do about that until something more appears, but all those crazy symptoms I was having have pretty much disappeared.   The doctor was going in the right direction with the SIBO treatment apparently.

The nurse was pretty happy that I was feeling better and looking better.  She likes my weight where it is now.  I think I've gained an additional 10 pounds since my last visit.  (I'm happy, too...for I am sexy once more.)

I was told that I could wean myself off the ulcer medication.  That will be three fewer pills I have to take everyday.  But she did prescribe sub-lingual Levsin for me.  I was on this medicine before, and I didn't feel it worked at all.  Plus, it made me incredibly dry and sleepy.  I'm willing to try it again as a backup since I am being treated for the spasms now.

Anyway, I don't have to go back for another six months.  yay.

I'm happy.  Now, time to find a dermatologist so I can get rid of the rash/eczema that I have going on everywhere.  lol

Slowly, but surely, I'm getting better.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yum Yum, Gimme Some



This oil smells so good.  It does have a cone, cyclomethicone, but according to this, that's a cone that can be removed using a non-sulfate cleanser.   Since I use shampoo, it's not much of a concern of mine.

Beware, the smell can be overwhelming.  It's sweet smelling.  

Here's the rest of the ingredients:  Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Safflower Oil, Castor Oil, Sesame Oil, Vitamin E, A, & D, Cyclomethicone, Sheep Sorrell, Yarrow, Slippery Elm Bark, Sage, Henna, Comfrey, Burdock Root, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Cherry Bark, Black Walnut, Chamomile, Alfalfa, Hyssop, Wheat Germ and Fragrance.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hodge-podge.

I have a lot of random things to get out.  So unlike me... ;-)

I did omit something from my jury duty post.   It was something that was quite entertaining to me the entire week.   On the first day, I noticed that there were a lot of odd looking people around me, but there was one in particular that I would not let out of my sight.

How can I explain this chick?   She was a bag lady...and presumably homeless since those are usually the only people that wear all of their possessions at once.  And I mean, she had on a lot of damn clothes and accessories.   So aside from being possibly homeless and schizo, she was just an odd chick.  I can't remember if she told the commissioner that she should be exempted on that day.  All I remember from Monday is that when they pulled the forty of us out to tell us to come back the next morning, she threw her stuff into the hallway and sighed loudly.    All activities that could be considered within the realm of normal behavior.

Well, I guess she had time to think about, so Tuesday morning she decided to show her ass.  One of the ladies that worked as jury management staff realized that two people did not come get their badges off the wall as we were instructed to do, so she called roll.  When she got to bag lady, all hell broke loose.   Ol girl stormed up to the lady with an attitude and asked why she had to do this and if it was because she was a citizen.  She said she didn't want to be a citizen anymore.  The lady told her to "move then."  She told her twice.  lol

But please tell me why chick was sitting next to me.  She walked back over there and balled up the badge and threw it on the table that was between the two of us.  I waited a few minutes, and I politely got up and went to the restroom.  I came back and sat back down next to her and tried to peer into her bags.

When we finally got to the courtroom to start the voir dire, chick kept interrupting saying that she needed to speak to the judge because she had personal issues that prevented her from being able to perform her civic duties.  Then, apparently, she knew the plaintiff via his brother.   And apparently, she used to work as a patient liason and knew one of the doctors that was a witness.   The judge held her back when the rest of us were dismissed for lunch, but we noticed that she still remained in the courtroom later in the afternoon.

Not only was she there then, but every morning she appeared.  On the front pew behind the defense for the rest of the week.  That was her punishment.  I guess her other option was jail/fine.   I watched her all week when I got bored.  She talked to herself and moved her head in a circular motion a lot.  I held the elevator for her one morning and she said she was coming then walked off.

I don't know.  It was entertaining though.



Today, I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers.


Cute, huh?  I'm excited about breaking them in completely so I can wear them all day.  You have to start out doing 1-2 hour intervals for the first few weeks until your body adjusts.    I got mine at Backpacker in River Ranch.   A lovely sales associate named Hope helped my boyfriend and I try on a thousand pairs until we finally decided on the pair that fit the best.  I'm embarrassed to say that it took me about thirty minutes longer while walking around the store to come to a decision to get mine.  I have to say that so far, I'm happy with them.  I can't wait to workout in them.   But apparently, just wearing them makes your legs and feet stronger.




And last, but not least....HAIR TIME!!

So I've been having a helluva time with my hair lately.  I've been wearing a stretched out bun for two weeks, but for some reason, last week when the weather went haywire, so did my skin and my scalp decided that it should replace itself over and over again.    I really dislike the idea of having to use shampoo more than twice a week, so I'm trying to figure out what I can do until it resolves itself.  I am happy to announce that the crusty patch that I had on the right side has disappeared.  I don't even know when this happened, but a few weeks ago, I noticed that it was gone.  yippee...it was replaced with whole scalp ickiness.   yay?

Whatever.

So, I've been using two new products.

For when my hair is stretched and for all intents and purposes, straight, I use ORS Olive Oil  Moisturizing Hair Lotion


It does have either mineral oil or petrolatum in it if you try to steer clear of those two, but I like it because it doesn't cause the hair to revert much.

The other product that I've been using is Herbal Essence None of your Frizzness Smoothing  Leave-in Creme


I comb this through my hair in sections while I'm in the shower.  I pin my hair up and finish my shower, get dress, and put my make up on.  When I take my hair down, I shake the excess water out, and when it dries it looks like this 



This is my hair completely dry and after I've touched it a couple of hundred times.   It's really soft and fluffy, and as you can see, I have a lot of definition.  My curls are separated and not stuck together or stringy.  yay.







I think that's all the thoughts I had bouncing around in the noggin.  

Saturday, December 18, 2010

It's Your Civic Duty.

"In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law." - Amendment VII, US Constitution

I am sure you can guess what I have been doing recently.  Yes, I was summoned for jury duty.  YAY!  That's not feigned excitement either.  I was genuinely happy for the opportunity to possibly have to sit on a jury.  You may consider it strange, but I think jury duty should be taken very seriously.  You never know when you'll be on the other side, and do you want a group of pissed off, uninterested people deciding on something that's possibly very important to you?

I think I'm going to break this down into three parts:  the selection process, the trial, and the deliberation.  It's easier that way and I have A LOT to say about everything that I witnessed.

Jury Selection

Apparently, 300 people were issued summons for the week of December 13th.  The people with odd numbers were excused from service and did not have to show up to the courthouse on Monday.   We had to report to the Jury Assembly Room at 10am on Monday morning to fill out a questionnaire and read our juror handbooks until everything was ready for the cases that were scheduled for that week.   One of the first things that I noticed was that things moved quite slowly.  After we were qualified and sworn in, and people were allowed to claim exemptions, they called roll and issued our jury badges.  We were then released for lunch for two hours.  *yawn*

I realized that this was going to take all day.  

And might I note, no cell phones with cameras are allowed inside the courthouse, so I was going through a mighty text/facebook/twitter withdrawal.  

We started up thirty minutes or more after we were required to report back to the assembly room, and they called the names and numbers of forty people who were selected as potential jurors for civil trial beginning THE NEXT MORNING.  The time we had to be back at the courthouse was 830am.  If you know me, then you know that I don't even get to work that early.  I'm not bragging, but it is very hard for me to get out of bed most mornings.   It is was it is.

Okay, so this is Tuesday morning.  830.  Wearing my sexy jury badge.  Ready to go.  Well, I know it had to be close to 10am before we went downstairs to begin the voir dire.  I was in the first 20 to undergo the questioning.   This process made me a little uncomfortable because we were told to give our names, addresses, place of employment, job title, spouse name, spouse's place of employment and job title, number of kids, kids' place of employment and job title, etc.  Ummm...there were 40 potential jurors + 10 people involved with the case + 5 court staff = a lot of people that now know too damn much about me.   I've seen read that a lot of courts now only refer to jurors by number only for privacy reasons. 

After ten minutes or so, I realized that there was a very good chance that I would be selected for the jury.  It was a personal injury case that involved an automobile accident.  I was one of few that had no previous lawsuits, arrests, car accidents with injury...

We found out who was selected from the first group after lunch.  Ten of us.  Three more were needed.  The lucky ten had to wait in the very small jury room while the second group was being questioned.  This probably only took an hour.  We were brought back into the courtroom, one of us was dismissed, and four from the second group were added to make thirteen.  Twelve jurors plus an alternate.  

The jury consisted of ten whites; five females, five males.  And three blacks; two females, one male.   Off-hand, I remember that most were educators.  One engineer.  A paralegal.  Two, I believe, were in construction.  Most of us had attended college.  Age-wise, we probably ranged from 22-late 50s.  Average age mid-late 30s.

We took another oath.  The trial began immediately after.  

The Trial

As I said before.  This was a civil trial.  Personal Injury.  The plaintiff was suing an insurance company of a local hardware chain for damages as a result of an accident involving a company vehicle and his personal vehicle.  Luckily for us, the defendants had already accepted fault, so that was one less thing we had to decide on.  WHEW.

Day one involved opening statements and a headache and longing for Gael, my phone.

Day two, Wednesday, was supposed to get started at 830am.  That was the time the jury decided on for the trial to begin everyday.  Of course, we didn't begin until 845, but we did spend that morning ordering our lunch and eating donuts supplied by the judge. (Judge Jules Edwards, btw.)   We listened to the testimony of five witnesses that day.  The plaintiff, his internist, his orthopedic surgeon, a vocational rehabilitation specialist, and a biomechanical engineering professor.  Thank you, Judge Edwards, for the numerous breaks and opportunities to stretch.  I must admit that those last two witnesses were long-winded and boring, and the plaintiff's attorney beat many a horse to death that day.    We didn't get out until 5 o'clock.  This was the longest day we had.   

We also realized that there were two trials going on at this point.  The passenger had her own trial without a jury, so many of the witnesses were testifying twice.  That explained the long breaks after every witness.

I was soooooooo tired when I got home.  Physically and mentally spent.  

Day three started out very interestingly.  Our alternate witness had been offered a ride home by the plaintiff the previous afternoon.  The judge was alerted, and the trial went on as planned.    This was quite surprising since the judge had stated over and over since Tuesday that only he and his staff were allowed to have any sort of communication with the jury.    Oh well...

We were all antsy and just wanted everything to be over at this point.  Five witnesses this day:  the economist, after whose testimony, the plaintiffs rested their case, the defense's biomechanical expert and orthopedic surgeon, the store manager, and the passenger.  

Two of the witnesses were on the stand less than ten minutes.  (Thank you, baby Jesus.)  Unfortunately, the judge had drug court at 4pm, so we had to finish early.  The end was near, though.  The end was near.

We were all bright-eyed and bushy tailed Friday morning.  Super excited about this thing being over and getting our lives back.   Our little hearts were broken when the plaintiff's attorney's closing statement took an hour.  Even more so when the defense's took almost an hour.  Wanted to cry when the plaintiff's attorney went again.   But the absolute worst was when the judge read us the law.  That in itself took an hour.  I went to my happy place at one point.  After we were instructed on what we had to do, we had lunch and deliberated.

The Deliberation

For civil cases, you need 3/4ths of the jury's vote to reach a verdict.   Now, the judge explained the law in great detail and instructed us that legally, we were bound to only apply the evidence and testimony from the trial to reach a verdict.  No outside information, personal beliefs, nor sympathy were to be used when reaching a decision.

At least on two occasions during the trial, we were read Louisiana Civil Code Article 2315(A), which states:   
"Every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it."


We were also introduced to other rules, such as the Eggshell Skull Plaintiff Rule that pretty much states that the defender must take the victim as is and is responsible for any aggravation or injury to a pre-existing condition. Also, the general rule that the treating physician's testimony carries more weight than that of a physician that only sees the patient once, especially for litigation purposes. There was one more that dealt stated that one cannot assume symptoms were resolved just because of lapses in medical treatment.

I went into deliberations with an open mind and with the law in mind.  Clearly, other people were not willing to do so.  Either a few of these people did not listen all week or they had personal objections to someone filing a personal injury lawsuit.  It was obvious that some did not listen because we had to submit a question to the judge  asking if an aggravation of a previous injury was an injury as it pertained to the case.  I don't know where they all were all week long.  It was the plaintiff's entire case.  The defense even mentioned it.   I have no idea how they missed that.  It was said several times a day for four days.  

And I thought it was clear that the victim had been injured.  Three doctors testified to that fact.  One was the damn doctor for the defense.  It took us way longer than I expected to even decide on that.   At this point, I was dreading the next step:  deciding on what to award in damages.


I cannot even express my irritation.  People have to understand, this is not your money.  Whatever you did or didn't do in similar situations has no bearing on this case.  I don't care that you had several accidents and didn't sue. I don't care that you have friends that are lawyers.  I don't care that you don't think someone can be in severe pain and go without treatment.  (I will admit that I wanted to jump across the table when people kept saying that it was impossible to do so.  It's a sensitive subject for me.)   When I heard things like "This is a frivolous lawsuit.  We shouldn't even be here,"  or  "He's a liar and not hurt at all,"  or "I'm not giving him another cent,"  or "He's not going to get the surgery if we give him the money.  They never do," I died a little on the inside.   

To be fair, I do think that some details in the case were exaggerated but three physicians testified that this man did indeed have some serious things going on with his spine that could be causing him a great deal of pain.  Both surgeons agreed that he did need surgery.  But our role was not to decide on those two things, it was to decide whether or not his previous condition was injured by the accident and for how long.  If the accident led to the injury that required surgery.  If so, then we had to decide what he should be compensated as a result.  I never let my personal feelings get in the way of me applying the law to the situation, and I'm so glad the majority of us were logical in our reaching our decision.  And instead of frowning in the corner and acting like children, we used the law and evidence to explain our position.    These people had made their minds up from day one.  I honestly waited until after the closing statements to put all the pieces together in my head.

I don't know if it was the amount of money (which was close to a million) or if these people were just incompetent when it came to things like this.  Maybe I am very analytical in my thinking.  I don't know, but like I said before, many of these people were in education.  hmph.

In the end, we awarded the plaintiff for past medical expenses.  That's it.  I agreed with that because of other inconsistencies in the case that made it impossible to award any more damages.  I was satisfied with our decision.  Deliberations took two hours.  By 230, we were out of there.  

The defense attorney and his assistant came out immediately to talk to us and ask us what made us come to our decision.   He was a very good attorney.  James P. Morris from Lake Charles.  The other attorney only came out to say thank you and goodbye.  He was a really, really bad lawyer.  Aside from the horrible grammar, punctuation, and diction, he didn't seem to understand the physics behind the case and it was painful to listen to him.  He wasn't very logical either.  A lot of the time, he was arguing about two unrelated things.  Again, painful to listen to...





All in all, it was a great experience.  I really liked the other 12 jurors, except for when a few of them were being stubborn.  lol 

Not to mention, I got this big ol check for my service which amounted to $141.  Let me tell you what really sucks about that, my previous employer paid up to two weeks of jury service every two years.  We were bought out on December 6th, and the new company only pays what they are mandated by law to pay...eight damn hours.  Oh well, I guess.  

I don't regret my experience.  Until that point, I really had no idea how the judicial process worked.  There are definitely things I appreciate never having to go through right now.   I came out a little more informed than I went in.  And that's always a good thing.

Well, thanks for reading.

-Juror #98

Saturday, November 13, 2010

More about my treatment

So before, I mentioned the Diltiazem.   Well, one day last week, the nurse practitioner called me to explain more about the results of the manometry and the medicine.  She also asked if I would be willing to take a course of antibiotics and a probiotic.  Well, I said yes because I'm willing to try anything to get rid of this extreme bloating, gas, cramping, and alternating diarrhea and constipation.   If I do indeed have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), that would explain the flattened villi that was seen a few months ago.

Well anyway, the antibiotic is Xifaxan, and it is non-systemic, which means it doesn't cross into the bloodstream. It pretty much stays working in the intestines.  They also prescribed a probiotic calls Flora-Q.  It has 4 different types of bacteria in it and it is not covered by my insurance.  lol   Between the two of those, I payed over $110 yesterday.  So, I'm kinda hoping they work.

In 6 weeks, I have an appointment with the nurse practitioner to discuss any changes.

And now, you know as much as I do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

After 4 years of suffering...

My esophageal symptoms started soon after I moved here back in fall of 2006.   I didn't have insurance until Spring 2008, and that's when I started seeing doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was causing this pain and inability to swallow.   I've told this story before, but it took several tests, a few doctors, and a ton of medication to get me to my breaking point a few  months ago.

By having one doctor break up with me, I had the opportunity to meet the wonderful staff over at the Gastroenterology Clinic of Acadiana and the Lafayette General Endoscopy Center.  They are truly awesome at what they do.

Well, anyway, I'm mentioning all of this because today after my colonoscopy, the doctor wrote me a rx for diltiazem which is one of the most common medicines (aside from nitrates) that is used for esophageal spasms.  Now, this is one of the same medicines that my previous doctor refused to start me on even though he knew that  I have constant spasms.  His reasoning was that I was too young and that it would make my blood pressure too low.   Well, the medicine is used to lower blood pressure, but I'll be on a lower dose that  what's used to lower bp and honestly, when the quality of someone's life is poor, you have to weight the risks against the benefits and he was unwilling to do so.   My current doctor did not seem at all concerned that my health would be compromised.  He explained that the dosage is low.  I'm to take it before bed everynight for 7 days until my I know how my body will react.  I'm not to jump out of bed at anytime after taking it because if my bp is lowered, I could pass out (and be eaten by my cats).  After a week or so, I can start taking it twice a day.

Now, I have no idea if this medicine will work at all.  But you know what?  I'm more than willing to TRY something that's known to work instead of having someone tell me that it might just go away.  I'm happy as hell right now.  

Yes, this is what my life has come to...medicines make me happy.

And on a sidenote...that colonoscopy prep is horrible.  Easily one of the worst things I've ever done.  I threw up and felt sick for a whole day.   Next time, I will beg for the pills.  4 liters of liquid is a lot to drink.  4 liters of salt water is even worse.  *gag*

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The manometry went horribly.

I have never cried during a procedure, nor have I ever stopped a procedure so I could leave, but I came very close to doing both of those things today.

I should have known the day would turn out less than pleasant when I arrived at the facility and realized that I wasn't told where to go.  So I went to my doctor's office, and they directed me to registration...oh, and they also told me that my appointment was at 1pm when my letter clearly stated noon.   Ordinarily, that wouldn't be a big deal to me, but I had been fasting since midnight, and I was already feeling lightheaded and irritable.

So I get up to the GI lab about 45 minutes early, and I clearly hear them state that they won't take me back because there was another appointment before mine, but the guy hadn't even registered yet.  (for some reason, most places only have one person trained in esophageal motility tests...) Just as I started to get pissed about the whole situation, they took me back.

They took my vitals, history, and the nurse began to set up for the procedure...

Now, if you don't know what a manometry entails...lemme brief you...

  • Normally, your nostril and throat are numbed to allow passage of the catheter through the nose into the esophagus
  • The tube is passed slowly while taking several swallows
  • Once it reaches the stomach, several measurements are taken...no swallowing allowed
  • The tube is then pulled out until it's pressure reading points are in the right place for the test...no swallowing allowed
  • If you're lucky, you'll only have to do 10 wet swallows on command...without swallowing between the commanded swallows
  • After 10 good swallows are recorded, they sloooooooooowly pull the tube out to get more measurements
That's pretty much how it's supposed to go, but I did not have that experience today.  I already hate this procedure because I had one last year and it was very unnerving and unpleasant.   Well, at least they numbed me last year...

I had to swallow that damn tube with no local anesthesia.   She gets the tube in.  I lie back and was supposed to take a deep breath in and out.  I do this three times and she says the tube is depressed and must be curling up in my esophagus.   She pulls it out some and tries to reposition it...I take the deep breath again and same results.  I'm told that I will have to go to x-ray to see why it's not going in.  She leaves the room to arrange this and comes back to tell me that the room is occupied and that there is something urgent happening that she's needed for.   She asked if I wanted her to remove the tube.  Ummm...yes, please.    She's out of the room for what felt like an hour.  I don't really know how long it was, I just know that I was relieved.  

I almost cried when she came back into the room.  Now, at this point, she tells me that if she can't get it down and x-ray doesn't help her guide it, that the doctor will have to do it at a later date.  UGH.   We try it for a third time, and she says it's still curled.   She and I have to walk down the hall to the fluoroscopy lab...her holding the tube that's still in me...double UGH...

The radiology techs get there and we find out that the tube is actually in my stomach.  WTF.  10cm of it was curled up in my stomach...not my esophagus...she said that normally she can feed the tube in 60cm...for me, it was 50.   wtf ever.    

Let me add that having the catheter in is very uncomfortable.  You can feel it the whole time.  Swallowing was painful and frequent due to the excess saliva caused by having a foreign object down my throat.  My nostril was on fire and hurting and I could taste blood.   My esophagus spasms frequently so the tube occasionally moved due to my body trying to ingest it lol...*cries*

We finally get to the measurement part of the test and you are not allowed to swallow.  This is very difficult because your mouth WILL fill up with so much saliva that you will either swallow, vomit, or choke on it.  I must have swallowed 5 times...and never swallowed the saliva...it was just the reflex.  

The 10 swallows wasn't too bad.  She was able to see that I continue to have contractions long after the initial swallow.  We did two or three extra swallows and that was that.   Now, I wasn't prepared for what she told me next.  She said that she would pull the tube out slowly (understatement) and once the sensors were placed at the upper esophageal sphincter, I would have to take 3 more swallows.  UMMM.....

She pulled that tube out cm by cm...and once she got towards the end, it was half cm.  I almost freaked out.  The bottom of the catheter tube is metal and plastic sensors and it's rigid.   I actually groaned and gagged at that point and she begged me to stop swallowing because it was important.  Yeah, ok....like I'm trying to be difficult...I'm pretty sure my body doesn't want to vomit and it's trying to swallow the tube to prevent that...but whatever...I try to go to my happy place but that shit doesn't work and I start to squirm and shake...next thing I know she's giving the the water for the 3 swallows and she pulls that tube out.    

Lawd I was so happy.  She kept offering me something to drink.  I just wanted to go home.   I almost ran outta that place.  And I had a banana waiting in the car for my hunger.  

When I got home, I was so traumatized.  I had to sleep.  I woke up to a sore nose and throat.  Now, I can't breath out of that nostril...oh, and did I mention I have chronic sinusitis?   Not happy.  But it is over.  And I won't lie when I say this, I will refuse this test in the future...especially if they won't numb the nostril or if the facility doesn't have newer equipment.  

The test is already very unpleasant.  There's no need to make it worse.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

And just like that, the spasms/pain is back.

This might be a temporary thing, but I know that I have been awakened in the middle of the night and sweating during the day, trying to quell the pain...unfortunately, there's not really anything I can do.   If taking a sip of water or some other liquid doesn't work, then I'm pretty much screwed and just have to deal with it....(everytime I say "deal with it," I'm reminded of that little girl, Taylor,  on the show Kid Nation who always said it.)

Anyhoo, this is one of those scenarios where I really don't want to be in pain, but it's probably best if I continue having symptoms when I go in for testing next week...but if the pain were to go away, I wouldn't be sad about it...*hint* to my esophagus...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's Not a Tumor



A few days ago, the Nurse Prac called me at 6pm to let me know the results of the CT scan I had a week and a half ago.  (yes, she really called me after hours.)

There was no thymoma (tumor on the thymus), but something abnormal was found going on with my esophagus (lol duh) so I'm being sent to have a esophageal motility test...also called a manometry.  I had one of these 2 years ago, and I will say that it is pretty painless, but very uncomfortable.

They stick this long catheter tube down your nose into your stomach.  The one I had done before consisted of 10 wet swallows...I ended up having to do way more because the tech said that I kept swallowing when I shouldn't have.   I wasn't swallowing on purpose...the spasms were causing the tube to jerk...even almost ripping the tape holding it in place off my nose...it was quite involuntary.

Anyway, I had only one normal swallow.

I'm wondering if maybe my esophagus was dilated or tapered at the end, suggesting achalasia.  She seemed to be choosing her words very carefully when she called me...probably as to not scare me...but she never said exactly what was seen on the scan...

My swallowing has gotten worse...I didn't think it was possible...and I just got dilated less than two weeks ago.  I actually had a piece of chicken almost come out of my nose...and while trying to take a pill two nights ago, my throat seized up and wouldnt let anything down and the water and pill got propelled out of my mouth onto my bed.  *sigh*

So I have a manometry one week and the colonoscopy the next.  yay...or not.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Changes changes changes

I got a call from the GI doc's office on my way to work informing me that they had canceled my appointment with the oncologist because they will just monitor me at this point since everything had cleared up on the endoscopy....ummm okay...

This worries me a little bit considering I have felt a lot sicker and been in a lot more pain recently. I can't remember the last pain-free day I had. And the fact that my T-cell count was quite high on my blood work is alarming to me.

I'm not going to worry about it. I'm actually tired of it at this point.

I guess I still have the CT scan next week since I'm still not able to swallow very well.

*screams*

Oh...and no one in the medical profession should ever be allowed to tell a patient that they are too young for something. The last two times that I checked into the clinic, the nurse would get to the question about joint replacement and laugh while saying I'm way too young to have that problem...I hate her...it is very rude and inconsiderate...especially given my circumstances...

Anyway...that's one less trip I have to make to that side of town next week.

Yay.
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EGD went well.

The candidiasis cleared up completely (visually).  I hope it doesn't come back.
I couldn't believe the pics.  My mucosa was normal and pink.   He didn't mention anything about the gastritis, ulcers, and watermelon stomach, but I have to assume I'm healing or that it's not worse.   I did have a polyp in my stomach...they removed it.  I did read that those could be caused by PPI use...usually longterm though...and mine wasn't in the place that those usually occur.  Who knows?  I guess they'll biopsy it.  They took samples from my esophagus and duodenum again.  AND I had to be dilated.   I don't know if I had any narrowing but it's still very difficult for me to get most things down...and that's including liquids and solids.

And let me tell you, I love Propofol.  I really do.  It works FAST and it doesn't really leave you groggy.  Although, I had heard that it can be very painful going in, I didn't have that problem the first time I received it, but this time?! OMG.  I wanted to slap somebody but I only was awake for 10 seconds after I felt the pain so it didn't matter.

*sigh*

Only thing I hate about EGDs is being achy afterwards.

Monday, October 4, 2010

If I pass out...

Procedures that require fasting really should never be scheduled in late afternoon.

I'm so hungry and thirsty that I could punch someone.

And there is a baby with some vanilla wafers in this waiting room...I have no problems fighting a baby...poor thing just doesn't know that her life is in danger.
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Thirteen isn't an unlucky number...at least not for LSU fans.

Les Miles and his coaching staff almost ruined my birthday.   Seriously.
I really don't know how much more of this I can take.  We have some serious issues right now, and luck is really the only thing that has us at 5-0 right now.

I don't even have words to describe what I saw today.  I literally went from cursing and hitting things to cursing and breathing a sigh of relief.   We ended last season with a piss poor performance thanks to poor clock management, only to have it bite us in the ass again this season.    Don't believe me?  Watch this...



And still don't think it was that bad?   Well read this.

I don't know how many weeks we'll last like this.  How do we even rectify this situation?  Is firing Les Miles midway through the season even a good idea?  I mean, they fired Dinardo and Hal Hunter coached us to a win but that was during a 3-8 season that was preceeded by a 4-7 one, and we had one of the best recruting classes in the country.   Miles is very unpopular right now, and people that were very much on his side before today have now had a change of heart.


And so you know, I'm no fair weather fan...As a matter of fact, I decided that I would attend LSU after watching my first game on tv on Oct. 3, 1998.   LSU played Georgia and lost 27-28.  The next year, they didn't win but 3 games, and I bought season tickets for the next year, and did so every year that I was in school there.  I will admit to losing interest and falling asleep watching games on tv.  (I fall asleep doing everything though lol)  I will always love my Tigers, but they gotta do something...I think my ulcers bled a little today (j/k)

But thanks for the birthday present!  Even though it came wrapped in dog shit and barbed wired.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!


29 years.   wow.   

29 years ago, I looked like this...very sexy...

okay...im old and i need a nap.  hollerrrrrrrrrr.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Medical updates

My follow-up visit with the nurse practitioner was this morning.

Ready for the results?

Everything came back normal...with the exception of my T-cell count which was pretty high...and other random blood abnormalities that I consistently have.

What's next, you ask? Well, Monday morning I am having another upper endoscopy to do cultures and sensitivity testing...the yeast is apparently still there...I believe she saw patches on my tongue still.

Then, in two weeks I have to have a CT scan of my chest to make sure I don't have thymoma THEN I go see an oncologist because there are no immune disorder specialists in THE area...and they deal with most of the immune disorders here.

Ready for the finale? I have to have a colonoscopy around the beginning of November. Lawd.

I was assured that they would get to the bottom of whatever was going on. I'm really not accustomed to that kind of treatment from doctors.

I must say that I'm really happy about not getting bad news the day before my birthday, but it's still very frustrating.

I really love everybody in that office.
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Late hair updates

yeah.

i was busy or tired or something.






my hair is so fine and thin that it's hard to do anything with it when it's straight...

i actually considered cutting it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hair time!!

For some odd reason, I thought that I would try roller setting my hair this weekend.   That's what happens when you spend a whole week reading hair boards and looking at fotkis and blogs and youtube videos...you get these crazy ideas in your head.

Since my last attempt at rollersetting went horribly (i dont know if it was because my hair is much longer now than it was when I used to rollerset or if it's because I'm natural), I decided to try the rollers with the snap covers this time.

Rushed to Sally's yesterday to pick up 4 packs of rollers.

Did a mini henna treatment last night.  I figured my hair would be a little stretched and it would definitely dry faster.

Woke up today at 3p (lol) and washed the henna out and shampooed and deep conditioned.  I left the conditioner in until around 6.

I will admit that rolling my hair was pretty easy, but I don't think it had anything to do with the snap covers.

I only had to sit under the dryer for an hour.  I didn't know what to do with my new curls, so I blew them out, and flat ironed.  *shrugs*

...and now for the pics...
rollers in

        
after washing out conditioner
back

front
straightened

Friday, September 17, 2010

UGK - Shattered Dreams

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COUNTDOWN!


In two weeks, I see the nurse practitioner to get my results and hopefully a diagnosis and further treatment.


*jigs*

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not having a diagnosis is hard

It's not that I want to be sick.  I just want a name.  Not a barrel full of symptoms that have yet to be combined into a singular illness.

I've read that it takes several years for many chronically ill people to be diagnosed.  This is very frustrating.  Seeing specialist after specialist.  Being dismissed and accused.  

You try to join support groups for illnesses that have symptoms that you experience, but you feel left out.

You read about all the treatments people with a diagnosis are getting and fear that your body is being damaged while you wait for something to show up in a test.

Who marches for the undiagnosed?  Where are our shirts?  When do we get a voice?  What will it take?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pretending to be well

I think most people probably pretend to be sick...ya know...to get out of work, school, dates, whatever. But have you ever pretended to be well? Or pretended to not be as sick as you really are? What about hiding symptoms from the doctor because you can tell that your chart is getting thicker and thicker, and one person couldn't possibly have that many things wrong with them.

I had never thought about this until I was talking to a lady at work who is chronically ill, and she asked if I had ever not told a doctor everything because I didn't want to come off as being a hypochondriac. And my answer was, "all the time."

Now, here was someone with a diagnosis and who was being treated but even she felt the same things I did...you don't want to be labelled as the crazy person that has everything wrong.

Why don't some people feel comfortable saying what's wrong? Is it because we have been dismissed so many times by medical professionals, family, friends, and coworkers? Or maybe we don't want people to believe we're attention-seeking (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when dealing with doctors...they are supposed to give us their attention...that's the reason we go to them)?

I know, for me, it's really hard for me to admit that I'm not having a good day. It's not because of pride, it's because I don't want people to treat me differently. I don't want to hear how I'm too young to be sick, tired, in pain, etc. I don't want any home remedies, no suggestions that I'm eating too fast or need to take a zantac. I don't want you to tell me that it's probably nothing because that's honestly not very reassuring.

But when you ask me how I'm doing today, expect a "good" because I would rather you think I'm being rude and flakey than being a fake.

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Insanity

That's when a person does the same thing over and over again and expects a different result, correct?

Then why do people constantly talk to me and I give them very dry answers, if I even answer at all? It's almost like they are incapable of reading body language and a person's attitude. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm actually trying to do the exact opposite but they keep talking to me.

Then, they whine about me being mean or assume that I'm not having a good day.

I was having a great day until you started talking to me.

How many times will you keep trying to start conversations with me?

I don't know why these people think we are friends. I honestly don't. I'm not even friendly. lol. I'm easy-going and approachable but that does not mean I want to talk to you all the time. I don't like you.

If I speak to someone and they completely ignore me, and this happens on more than one occasion, I'm not going to continue to speak to them.

I'M HAVING AN AWESOME DAY. I JUST DON'T WANT YOU TO BE A PART OF IT!

It's not you, It's me...not really...It's you.

whew...how about this weather?! lol
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Tupac - Only God can Judge Me


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Tupac - I Ain't Mad at Cha

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Tupac - R U Still Down (feat. Jon B)

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Tupac - I Wonder if Heaven got a Ghetto

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Tupac - Keep Ya Head Up

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Tupac - Dear Mama

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Tupac - Me and My Girlfriend

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Tupac - Baby Don't Cry

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Tupac - I Get Around

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Tupac - Ambitionz az a Ridah

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Tupac - Hit Em Up

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Tupac - What'z Ya Phone No.

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Tupac - Life Goes On

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Tupac - No More Pain

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Today has been rough

It's 1230. I woke up this morning so I could go to Labcorp to get some lab work done. I will never ever in life do that again.
Luckily, I had scheduled an appointment so I didn't have to wait a long time. BUT, I ended up being stuck twice because the people there did not read the entire order form. So, the lady drew one vial and said goodbye. I had to ask her about a skin test that I needed done and come to find out, they didn't even look at the five tests at the bottom of the sheet!
She had to fill three more vials. I walked out of there hungry (I had to fast after midnight), with both arms bandaged, and left to find a lab that would do the skin test I needed.
I figured that I might as well head to the other side of town to the lab I usually use. Well, after waiting there for 30 minutes, the chick took me back and told me that she didn't do the test either.

*pulls out hair*

Now at this point, I'm ready to punch somebody. At least, this chick called around to find where I could get this crap done...and I didn't have to go far.

What sucks is that I think the nurse came and injected the wrong thing. I'm supposed to be tested to make sure my immune system is working properly so that's why the candida skin test was ordered, and most people have a reaction...and from what I'm understanding, they are supposed to do a control also.

I'm sitting here with a bright pink bandaid under which I have no visible reaction...granted, it does generally take 48-72 hours but the broad said that my arm should "look like it did when you first came in" when I go back on Wednesday. Ummmm...excuse my French...but that bitch done fucked up.

UGH!

I'm so mad.

Anybody have a kitten that I can wrestle?
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No, I'm not a Hypochondriac nor am I over-exaggerating...

...but thanks for thinking that.

I know that there's no visible signs (most of the time) that I'm in pain or feeling really sick, but trust me when I say this...I HURT ALL THE TIME.  I FEEL LIKE I HAVE THE FLU OR JUST RAN A MARATHON EVERYDAY.  I wish that all of this was in my head.  I really do.  I wish I was making this up because I would give anything not to feel this way.

I have to neglect basic tasks sometimes just to make it.  No, I can't clean up my apartment.  I barely have the energy to clean my body.  No, I didn't cook.  I can't barely manage to stand that long.   If you think that I can work 8+ hours at a job and then come home and do normal household chores, you are mistaken.

I go from bed to work to bed.  That's my routine.  I manage to sing and dance and be merry while I'm not in bed...but I always pay for it at the end of the day.

My life is miserable enough with my body hating me so much.  I don't need the sideways glances and gossiping about me being sick.  I really don't.

It's amazing how little people know about illnesses.  You would think a systemic illness was as common as a unicorn.   The same thing that makes my stomach hurt just might be the same thing that makes my joints hurt.  Mind blowing?  Well, it shouldn't be.    You feel bad all over when you come down with the flu, right?  So it should be that hard to believe that my pains, rashes, and fatigue are all coming from the same place.   I don't like collecting symptoms anymore than you like hearing about them.

I don't like telling you about them, but sometimes I get really sad and frustrated, and I have to tell somebody.  I don't want your sympathy.  I just need to get it out.   And believe me when I tell you that I'm only telling you a small bit of what I'm going through.

I have to live my days knowing that there is something wrong with me, and it might be a  long time until they find out exactly what it is.  I know that there are millions of people just like me in this world that are suffering without ever getting a diagnosis.  Some of them die with no answers.   Dying doesn't really scare me much anymore.  But I'm scared shitless of having to live like this for the rest of my life.  

Sunday, September 5, 2010

30 Thing about My Invisible Illness You May not Know



  1. The illness I live with is:   still grossly undiagnosed, but i have a list...dysthymia, borderline personality disorder, ocd, non-specific esophageal motility disorder, gastric antral vascular ecstasia
  2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:   psychological, 2001-04.  physical, 2009-10
  3. But I had symptoms since:   as long as i can remember
  4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:   realizing it's not all in my head and that i cannot do everything...sometimes you have to take a break
  5.  Most people assume:   im a hypochondriac or just looking for attention...or that im exaggerating
  6. The hardest part about mornings are:    getting out of bed...im usually tired and stiff
  7. My favorite medical TV show is:  probably ER or Scrubs
  8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:  my cell...
  9. The hardest part about nights are:  knowing that i'll have to do it all over again the next day
  10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)  varies, but i take around 15 total now
  11. Regarding alternative treatments I:  have only looked into supplements...thinking about acupuncture though 
  12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:  i'd choose the one that hurts less i guess...i dont know...
  13. Regarding working and career:  i've been missing work and i never do that...it's hard to be bubbly and happy when you hurt
  14. People would be surprised to know:  that i cry sometimes
  15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:  life is very fragile and it's may not play out how you always imagined it would
  16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:  n/a...doctors are just now beginning to agree that somethings wrong...soooooooooo
  17. The commercials about my illness:  they have ones for depression...they are depressing lol
  18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:  i havent really changed much since i dont have a definite dx right now
  19. It was really hard to have to give up:  n/a
  20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:  blogging more since im in bed more often 
  21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:  go running
  22. My illness has taught me:  that people get really uncomfortable around sick people
  23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:  "oh, that's why you're so skinny!!"
  24. But I love it when people:  actually take the time to understand what im going through and ask questions or google
  25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:  Things will get better.  If they don't, oh well.    :-)
  26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:  welcome to the club
  27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:  people in the medical field can be real jerks
  28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:  ask me if i needed help
  29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:  we are overlooked...especially if we are young.  nobody believes us.  nobody cares.  they think it can't be THAT bad since we don't look sick, but we suffer.  and im sure that many are like me, and they just stop saying how bad they feel.  we stop going to doctors when they dont believe us.  we stop believing ourselves.  that's no way to live.  we need a voice.
  30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:  happy because somebody actually came to my blog.  lmao

I'm a bitch.

If you know me, then this is really not a surprising statement.   I can't explain where this bitchiness comes from nor do I know when it will strike.   I don't always like it, but it is what it is.  I have to tell people not to take it personally.

But sometimes, I feel really bad about it.


On Friday, I was in super bitch mode.  I wasn't talking to hardly anybody.  I was snapping at people.  Hell, I was even flat out ignoring folks.   One poor soul tried talking to me and I ignored her every word.  She balled up a piece of paper and threw it on my desk at like 9am that morning.   I ignored it until about 6pm when I was about to leave work.   
When I unraveled it, my heart sank.  

So I taped it to the side of my printer and uploaded it to facebook and twitter.

I really do feel bad.   

A bitch needs therapy.  lol

National Invisible Chronic Illness Week

September 13-19, 2010 is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. This annual event, started in 2002 by Lisa Copen, features a variety of ways to get involved including a virtual conference September 13-17 online for free with speakers each morning 10:30 – 12 USA Pacific time.
There is a Meme “30 Things You May Not Know About My Invisible Illness”, you can sign up to blog for the cause, read guest bloggers’ posts, and get involved in the campaign on Facebook. There is even a free 80-page ebook when you sign up for email updates, with 263 tips!
With nearly 1 in 2 people living with a chronic condition, about 96% of those people are suffering silently with invisible illnesses. See InvisibleIllnessWeek.com

Saturday, September 4, 2010

So they say beauty is only skin deep

Well, I want that outside to be as beautiful as possible.   I go through periods of having near flawless skin...then my face will suddenly explode and be covered with blackhead, white heads, pimples, and what looks like cystic acne.

Why does this happen?   Hell if I know.  I'm sure it's hormonal though.  There's really no telling with the way my body likes to act.

Well, after being in love with my skin for months (and not changing anything about my routine), I found myself staring at a face that was laden with bumps and hyperpigmentation.   WHA HAPPEN?!

I don 't know why this happened, but I'll be damned if I let this go on.

I eat rather well, so I didn't or won't be changing anything about my diet.  
I do take supplements.  MSM, flax, fish, & borage oil, spirulina, and Vitamin D3.  
I drink water and green tea.

Now for my actual skin regimen, I had to change up some things.

I've used  raw african black soap for years to clean my face.  I still use that, but now, I only use it in the mornings.  Afterwards, I use St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea oil-free Scrub.  It's pretty gentle and has salicyclic acid.  I follow that up with blotting my face with a white towel and spritzing on pure aloe vera juice.   From there, I apply my primer and foundation, etc.
When I get home from work, I use makeup removing cloths to take off my makeup.   There's two that I like:   CVS Brand  which is a knock-off of the Pond's Clean Sweep (I've used both and they work equally well) and the Target Up & Up Brand ones.
Lastly, before I get into the shower, I apply castor oil mixed with a tiny amount of tea tree oil to my face.  I massage it in really well, then I get into the shower.    Some people like to put a hot towel on their face until it gets cool, wipe, and repeat.  But I'm lazy, and I don't really like showering anyway, so I rely a lot on the steam of the shower.  I do run a white towel under hot water and wipe my face with it a few times though.
When I get out of the shower, I spritz my face with a mix of water and apple cider vinegar.  When it dries, I rub a tiny amount of shea butter between my hands and apply it to my face.

I'm not lying to you when I say that I saw an almost immediate improvement when I added the h2o + acv step.    I have a few blackheads and whiteheads, but nothing major right now.   I'm just waiting on all these spots to fade.   And don't say not to pick because I get hyperpigmentation from everything.   The skin doesn't even have to be broken.  :-(

I would post before and after pics.  But no.  lol    You'll just have to take my word for it.
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