You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2011.
Thanks for all of your supportive comments from my last post. They really do help.
Health stuff update: In order to possibly determine the cause of the bells palsy, they took blood (to rule out lyme’s disease), scheduled an MRI (to rule out a tumor as the cause of BP), and put me on steroids and anti-virals (to attack a virus, if it was that). The blood work came back negative for lyme’s disease, and the MRI showed that a tumor wasn’t causing the BP, but it did show that I had a tumor on my pituitary.
At least that rules out everything else for the BP. Looks like it is viral. So now, we just wait it out and hope it goes away. Please go away.
So, tumor. I had to wait about 5 days, which felt like an eternity, to see a neurologist, who would tell me what kind of tumor it is, and what I have to do about it. I cried the night I came home – big, sopping tears – about how I didn’t want to die because I wasn’t ready and I was too young. I just kept thinking, “Holy shit, I might have cancer in my brain.” I know it’s not the most positive thing to be thinking, seriously – but WTF. I couldn’t help it. After the night of crying I just tried to act normal and calm for everyone else’s sake, but I really didn’t feel that way at all.
The neurologist literally said at some point during the conversation, “If you’re going to have a tumor, this is a good one to have.” I laughed. YES. WINNING. That’s me.
Anyway, he confirmed it is a tumor, but pituitary tumors are benign. YAY FOR NO CANCER. At least, I’m 90% sure I believe him. (Ugh, doctors). So next step is blood work and a 24 hour urine test (which I’m doing today, as a matter of fact [how exciting]) to find out if it’s a secreting tumor or a non-secreting tumor. Depending on what kind of tumor depends on the next step. So hopefully it comes back as a non-secreting tumor, because they are the best kinds.
Isn’t it crazy that I’m talking about tumors? Like it isn’t bad enough that half of my fucking face is paralyzed from swelled nerves which produces intense pain, all day everyday. Ahhh!
Anyway, I’m trying to get a grip of everything and just keep on living. Time helps those things. Plus, it could be worse. I always keep thinking that. Really, truly, it could be worse and there are lots of people out there who aren’t doing as well as me. So, perspective.
Otherwise, things are going pretty well.
- I gave myself this iTunes project some time ago to get rid of all of the songs I don’t like or don’t listen to. I had over 4,000 songs I think, and it’s been a long, stupid process. But I think I’m done. I’m left with 1444 songs. I’ll never again think it’s a good idea to take out whole albums from the library and download all of the songs and make future plans to listen to the whole album… because really, it’s not going to happen. Anyway, I’m glad to have accomplished that. Ahhh.
- I upgraded my camera, so therefore selling my old camera in order to pay for the new one. I haven’t sold it yet but I’m hopeful that it will sell soon. And also selling anything else around the house that I’m not using. I’ve sold two camcorders (one on craigslist and one on ebay) and I have two books online for sale too. Getting sick just made me realize how important it is to do things that you love, so I’m going to try not to put my photography aside if I can help it.
- I’m also in the middle of applying to grad school. Again. This time I’m going for something job related, since I have to in order to receive tuition reimbursement. I’m excited. I love what I do and it’ll be an amazing educational journey if I get accepted.
- The sun’s been coming out in between the very rainy days.
- The windows are open to let the air in.
- I’m in love.
- Got a great job.
- Flip-flop weather.
I’ve been feeling inspired lately. Probably a combination of spring, of being in sappy, happy love, and really learning to feel grateful for all that has come my way. I have a few projects sitting around that I’ve been putting off; we are pretty busy, after all. My photography projects are on hold because my iMac is as slow as molasses, and I can’t figure out why. I have tons of space on there and I quit running more than 3 applications at once. It’s horrible. Hard to be motivated when it takes 15 seconds for the click of your mouse button to perform an action. So, I have all these excuses for putting off the things I love to do… and most of them can be justified.
I went to the ER on Tuesday night. I had this searing pain behind my right ear, at the base of my skull that had built up over the last few days. That, and an odd taste in my mouth. The ER diagnosed me with fluid behind the ear and the beginning of an ear infection, along with a massive muscle cramp in my neck. Some pain meds, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotics, and they sent me home.
The next day before work, I was driving to pick up my prescriptions and noticed that I really couldn’t move my mouth too well. I thought it was a reaction from one of the meds. Throughout the day at work it got worse – I couldn’t sip through a straw or close my eye very well or taste food that much – but strangely, this was only happening on the right side of my face. The left side was perfectly normal. I went to urgent care after work. I was diagnosed with Bells Palsy. They put me on meds and took blood work to test for lymes disease, one cause for BP. I was (and still am, I suppose) devastated. For the majority of people, this is temporary. And I’m trying very hard to be hopeful that it will be for me, too.
The following day I was able to work from home while I got used to being on heavy doses of pain medication. B and I were supposed to leave that afternoon for a long weekend camping trip which I planned for us for our 2nd anniversary which is next week. B didn’t think we should go; she was concerned about my health and about my pain. She wanted me to be comfortable. I didn’t want us to miss out on this weekend. I’m a tough bitch, I can handle this. So I slept in quite late that day, and when I woke up, the paralysis was much worse than the day before. B again tried to get me to stay home but I persisted. So she packed the jeep up and got the food together and I packed my clothes and my medicine. When I walked outside to bring some things to the jeep, I felt dizzy and lightheaded. The second time I walked out there, I felt nauseous and exhausted. Just from a minute’s walk. I broke down to B, upset and dismayed that I couldn’t go. No way could I spend the energy it takes to set up camp feeling like this. I couldn’t do it after all.
By this time, my lymph node was extremely swollen and I have multiple bumps and lumps behind my ear, underneath my jaw bone, and underneath the base of my skull. It was worse than the day before, so I was worried.
The next morning I was up before 8, calling around to ENT (ears, nose, throat) doctors to see if I could get an appointment that day. I was able to get a 12:30 appointment, which meant I immediately went back to sleep and B woke me up about an hour before we had to go. I had a hearing test and then met with an amazing doctor who thankfully, really seemed to know his shit. He confirmed that I do not have an ear infection or fluid behind the ear. He confirmed that my blood work came back and I don’t have lymes disease. He ordered an MRI, which I’ll have done next week, to rule out the possibility of cancer/tumor (which he says is probably not it at all), so that leaves a virus as the only other possible cause. Typically, a form of the herpes virus. This virus attacks your nerves (in this case, my 7th cranial facial nerve and the ones surrounding it), which inflames them. Once they are inflamed and pushing on each other, it stops them from working, hence the paralyzation of half of the face. In the majority of people, this goes away after a few months. The scariest part about this is that the doctors have absolutely no control. There’s really nothing much to do to treat this and make it go away. He put me on two medicines that MAY help, but aren’t really proven to either. So, I’ll have a follow up next week after my MRI with the doctor… hopefully with some good news.
It’s amazing, the amount of simple things we take for granted. Like how to smile. To be able to close your eye at night to go to sleep. To be able to blink on your own and have your own tears coat your cornea. To be able to take a drink and keep it all in your mouth at once. To be able to talk out of both sides of your mouth instead of just one. Amazing the things you learn to appreciate after you no longer have them.
My spirit today is a teeny bit better than it was yesterday. I’m hoping I find a positive attitude about all of this soon. I found myself getting depressed very quickly and easily over these last few days. I’m kind of feeling sorry for myself. I’m frustrated. I want my whole face back. I want to smile a real smile. I want the pain to go away. As the doc said, this is an ordeal that involves a severe amount of pain… no pain medication will get it down to 0%. It’s daunting to imagine this level of pain for weeks and weeks; maybe even months? It’s hard to not have a shitty attitude… like, really? Things were really going quite wonderfully. Why can’t it ever be a continuous stream for a while? Why always the wrenches?
So, to wrap things up to the first paragraph of my thoughts… inspiration. Until this all happened, I was feeling pretty inspired and pretty happy about things. And in a matter of hours, the color seemed to be drained from life. But today I felt a little shift. Found a different perspective. And it is this: things can always be worse. So I laughed a little bit today, even though I was self-conscious about my smile, even though it physically hurts to do so. My very supportive, wonderful girlfriend continues to do all she can to make me smile… even going so far as to say that she thinks my crooked, lopsided smile is just the cutest thing. Even though I’m scared, so very scared, I have to believe this will get better. And life cannot stop. I can choose to be happy, even during such a shitty time. I can choose to still feel inspired. I must not lose my spirit. I fear if I let this get the best of me, then full recovery really might be difficult to achieve.
So enough with putting things off. The chores can wait. No more excuses for the projects, for the things that I enjoy that make me happy. Life is too short, and can literally be changed in an instant.
Please, whatever higher power is out there. I’ve learned my lesson, and I’m ready to be healed.