I’m always big on dates

Two years ago tomorrow, October 21, 2017, I had bariatric surgery that saved (at least part of) my life.

I’ll get to writing about that very soon.

Finally had the FNA in my thyroid bed a week ago Friday. EIGHT (8!) times my Doc. had to put that bloody needle in my neck. And DIG. A lot.

It was bloody freaking hell and I do not want to ever have another fine needle biopsy again. I accidentally took a bit more Xanax than I should have and the back office staff was kind of freaking out, BUT I HAD TO DO WHAT I HAD TO DO: and my lovely Xanax still wore off after the first needle stick. #sucks

Doc says results should be in in 10 days. I’m not lucky nor a betting woman, but if I were, I would place big money on black that there will yet again be NO diagnosable tissue.

I will let you know as soon as I do!


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As I write this early this morning, I have my next FNA on my thyroid. This issue has been going on for 12 months and we still do not have any answer on whether this (spot) is a lymph node, thyroid tissues, cancer regrowth, or what. My hunch is that it’s my thyroid growing back as I had my gigantic tonsils removed in the early 90’s and they are also growing back.

I have a driver. I will be sedated. This isn’t my first rodeo so I thankfully have some tips to help myself during this.

I’m not going to lie. It’s an ordeal. It’s more than just “shoving a needle in my haystack neck hoping to find the damn needle.” 🙂 The procedure isn’t for another 3 hours and I’ve been awake since 4 AM trying to mentally prepare for it.

I’m hungry. I’m tired. I should go clean my room. Happy Friday!

 

Here…

  • I don’t have to be brave.
  • I don’t have to be strong.
  • I am not alone.
  • I can be honest.
  • I can be myself.
  • I can scream.
  • I can yell.
  • I can cry.
  • I can be scared.
  • I can be myself. Truly and authentically me.

I am having another fine-needle biopsy this Friday.  Again.  On my neck.  Where I am not supposed to have a thyroid.  I road this route in 2003 and 2006; I am supposed to be done.  So what the hell is going on? I’m pissed this is still going on.  Next month will be an entire year dealing with this thyroid “regrowth” and between dumb-ass insurance companies dicking me around, making me jump through additional UNNECESSARY hoops, etc. etc. I still don’t have an answer as to what the freak is growing in my thyroid bed.

The system is vehemently broken, as I’ve said before.  And, I will say it again and again.

(Is it odd that I want it to be cancer or suspicious enough that they can just take “it” out?)

Give me another damn surgery so I don’t have to be worrying about thyroid cancer regrowth.

But guess what.

When you get a diagnosis of Cowden Syndrome worry comes with territory.

In these last 8 years I have learned that Cowden Syndrome equals worry.  There’s no way around it.

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Click here to see the shirt I created for just this exact moment.  Ironically enough, I created this when I was denied disability.  Yet how appropriate is it for me today!

Over-freaking-whelmed

I’m feeling very overwhelmed. My anxiety is getting out of control and I even took an Ativan last night. That wasn’t the best decision as I’ve been awake since 2:15 AM. #fail

I’m not over the resentment and bitter anger I have towards the Disability “Judge” who denied my claim for disability.  I wish I could remember what he looked like and I wish I could run into him on the street.  I would give him a piece of my mind.

Managing a Rare Disease life is a full time job, obvi.  It’s quite difficult for me to keep my head above water, to remember when appointment/scan is coming up next, etc. etc.  Now, add to THAT stress the pressure of a full-time job, too.  Yes, I know how incredibly blessed I am to have been hired.  Yes, I know how incredibly lucky and grateful I am to have a place to go earn money.  Yes, I know all of this. Regardless of my knowledge it’s still very difficult for me. I try to put on a brave face, but I’m on the verge of a breakdown most days.

I try to make the conscious decision each day NOT to think of the brain tumors.  I think about my cats, my family, my car maintenance, finding a good book to read, etc.

But, I won’t lie and say I do it or that it’s easy.  These damn tumors have taken my confidence, (what little I had anyway.)

Walking into the job each day I feel like a fraud.  I feel like people are looking at me and judging me accordingly.  Granted, I haven’t told anyone (besides a select few) about my medical status because I know, I just know, that it would be used against me and I’d lose this job.

Now that I’ve come this far – lost other insurance, procedures got denied, had to get a new doctor, my other doctors weren’t covered for me to see, blah blah blah. I have to see this through ’til I’m dead.

Watched some news.  Going to exercise. Need to make a plan besides writing and reading blog posts all day.  Happy Labor Day!

Monday Motivation

I got up early today; early for me that is.  Set my alarm for 6:30 AM and I actually got up!  Put on some shoes, drank some water, kinda brushed my hair, and set out for a morning walk.  Put in a good 25 minutes so I call that a win!

I’ve noticed lately that I seem to write with no regularity whatsoever.  I almost wrote, “with no purpose”, but I realized that’s not true.   My purpose is to talk about Rare Disease.  To share about what life with brain tumors is like.  Before all this garbage, I (obvi) didn’t know anyone with a brain tumor.  But now, dear reader, you CAN say you know someone with a brain tumor: ME!  I’m going to make it a goal to write about my regular, boring, life when brain tumors aren’t on my schedule.  But, wait.  These tumors in my cerebellum are always on my schedule; whether I address them or not remains to be seen each day.  🙂

I started PT again this afternoon.  I’m excited (?) to see how it goes this time.

I am thankful I started this blog all those many years ago.  This has been such a great tool for me!

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PS. What happened to the edit/spell check function on here?

The biopsy that never was

I’m not sure if you remember my thyroid drama and what’s been unfolding since October 2018.  To briefly recap: I had thyroid cancer in 2003, total thyroidectomy (we thought), RAI 2004, follow up surgery 2006… (finally) got diagnosed with Cowden Syndrome in 2011.  However, last year when I had my usual thyroid ultrasound “something” was found.  Cut to thyroid MRI and 2 fine needle biopsies we still DO NOT know what this “something” is.  Lymph node? Malignancy? I don’t even know what other options it could be; I just know that my doctor still does NOT KNOW what it is.

Friday morning I was set to have my 3rd fine needle biopsy.  Also, I changed insurance in April of this year, which means everything I had scheduled had to be canceled, I had do jump through new hoops to get XYZ approved/authorized, blah blah blah freaking blah.

So, I DID GET an authorization for Friday’s appointment; however, it was “coded” as an office consultation, and not a procedure.  I made more phone calls, wasted more of my time, called everyone and their dog (insurance and clinic) to tell them the authorization needed to be adjusted to reflect what was happening this morning.  Or, rather, what was SUPPOSED to happen this morning.

Of course I called the clinic this week to make sure they had the correct authorization.

“Oh, don’t worry Heather.  We will run it through as an urgent auth. but still come on Friday it will be OK.”

Oh balls.  The clinic should know me by now that I just don’t “come to visits” without making sure everyone has done their job.  I am not getting stuck with some random bill that is not my responsibility to pay.

Sadly, the clinic’s employee didn’t do what he was supposed to do from JULY FREAKING 2nd.  I called then and told him about the incorrect code on the auth. I had received.

This is so dumb I can’t even see straight.  From someone who is living with some very complicated medical conditions, I shouldn’t have to babysit all these people to make sure they do their damn job.

 

Frustration X 1,000,000,000,000 %

I’m so frustrated right now I could spit nails.

I got a job a few months ago.  This is great.  This. Is. Great. However, I now have insurance.  That costs me $300/month.  I won’t go on about that right now.

What I will go on about right now is the damn paperwork and hoops that a medically involved person must go through.  Why?  What the freak for?  Just to see A DOCTOR?!  You know, the doctor(s) I have been seeing for 8 years? I’m not a normal person who gets sick once a year and can go to the doctor then.  I am the person who must go to the doctor, usually, every 90 days.  I have 5+ specialty doctors I must follow up with, but thankfully am established with them. So, whew.

Why do I have to do everyone else’s damn job?  Why must I call the primary doctor, then the insurance, then the specialist, then back to the insurance to ensure that they are all communicating and are on the same page?  Who the hell has time for this crap? I’ve made/received 10 (!) calls just today on getting authorizations sorted out and making sure things have been “coded” correctly, and finding out which actual doctor will do the correct authorization?

Aw, hell.  It’s only 3 PM and I’m done and over this b.s.

I have 2 appointments next week – Neurology and Endocrinology.  What do you think the odds are that I can actually see get these appointments authorized?

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PS, what happened to spell check in here?

Guest post – Meet “C”

Thank you Social Media for connecting me with other warriors who are living and thriving with Cowden Syndrome.  I am pleased to introduce you to “C”

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First I wanted to say thank you so much to Heather for being so passionate about making sure that awareness is spread about genetic rare syndromes and diseases and such. It is such an amazing thing that she is doing and helps so many people!

So hi! My name is “C” and I am a medical weirdo (my own term for myself) I have Cowden Syndrome, an AVM in my left forearm, and as an offshoot of my Cowden Syndrome I have recently started a journey with Thyroid Cancer, and I have Generalized Anxiety.

I was diagnosed with my AVM when I was in fourth grade after going to a friends birthday party, playing dodgeball with soccer balls which is never a good idea. I near the end of the game I was hit on my left forearm with a soccer ball, my left arm swole up and I ended up going to the ER that night. Needless to say none of the doctors I went to that first year had any idea what was going on with my arm, one thought it was a type of fracture that would’ve shown up in a couple days, another thought it was some overexertion of a swelling thing (I don’t exactly remember what it was called), and another one thought it was some cancer like thing. And it wasn’t. I eventually was diagnosed with an AVM and then a few years later after growing a thing in my foot I was finally diagnosed with Cowden Syndrome.

And as a result of all of this, I deal with Anxiety on a day to day basses, which I eventually got on meds to help me with.

A couple of months ago my doctors wanted to do a baseline scan of my thyroid because people with Cowden are at higher risk for Thyroid Cancer. Soo they did the scan and found two nodules on my Thyroid (one for each lobe/side). They did a Thyroid Biopsy (which ends up feeling like a huge bruise for a couple days afterword), and a couple days ago we got the results back. Turns out I have cancer, but it is undetermined how much cancer there is or what to do with it. A small part is definitely cancer, another part definitely not cancer, then the majority of it is something they can’t tell whether or not it is Cancer because of the fact that my P10 is the only thing they are picking up.

Sooo, now that I’ve told my story I wanted to just say that if you are one of the really cool people who have a genetic rarity you are not broken. Just because you are different from everyone else and can’t do some stuff that others can doesn’t mean that you are less than or unworthy of being a human being. And I know some of you probably wanted to punch me for the first sentence of this paragraph but you are really cool! You have this unique point of view that could maybe help someone else, and you have this way of thinking that helps you be empathetic to others who are struggling. So you really are a cool person!

If you would like to connect with “C” – her Instagram account can be found here.  ❤

Uses

I started this blog almost 8 years ago as a way to communicate with friends and family about my brain tumor diagnosis and surgeries. Then, my blog became a friend; someone I could talk to about the very things keeping me up at night. (The recovery of 2 brain surgeries a week apart is one the hardest things anyone can endure, IMO.)

Slowly, albeit very slowly, I have found my voice – welp, kinda – and I am feeling comfortable writing about other things in my life: my faith, more about my health as I made some major decisions the end of 2017 and my life is in a different direction now, my financial ruin, bankruptcy, and now seeing the other side of those things, and more!

I guess my point is I am gradually feeling the urge to share a bit more about myself. I hope you stay around. ❤

Chronic Illness Tag

I have tried to get my creative juices flowing lately.  I found this post from The Cacophonic Blog and decided to give it a whirl.  It’s just kind of a recap – current update – on my medical status:

  1. What illnesses do you have?  I am living with 2 Rare Diseases; Cowden Syndrome and Lhermitte-duclos Disease.  I also had thyroid cancer in 2003 and a prophylactic hysterectomy.  I have suffered with depression and anxiety for the last 20+ years.
  2. When were you diagnosed?  The Rare Disease diagnosis came in 2011.
  3. Have you ever been hospitalized?  Oy vey.  So many hospital stays.  The major ones are for the brain surgeries in summer 2011.
  4. Have you ever had surgery?  See above.
  5. Do you take any medication?  Presently, I take an anti-depressant and something to help me sleep.  I don’t know if it’s a symptom of menopause (probably) but I have insane insomnia and do not sleep without Trazodone. I take vitamins and herbs (anti-virals) also.
  6. What do you wish people knew about Chronic Illness?  That is sucks.  And, if I’m quiet – please check on me.  You’d be amazed at what a quick text can do!
  7. How can awareness be raised? I think talking about it can do a lot.  Many times I find myself “playing the brain tumor card”.  It actually helps me cope and accept my medical status if I talk about it!  I’m sorry if it comes off rough or if you feel I’m too blunt, but let’s talk about it!  I’m not afraid (welp, kinda) and want to talk about the brain tumors and hereditary cancer syndrome. Oh, and follow me on Social Media!  Twitter and here for Instagram.  🙂
  8. Who knows about your illnesses?  I actually don’t know.  Sometimes, I feel that my friends may forget what I live with daily.  However, we all have our crosses to bear, of this I know!
  9. How do your illnesses affect your life?  Oh, this is a doozy of a question.  Today, it affects me differently than years ago.  I have learned to pace myself, to stay hydrated BEYOND belief, to bring a sun hat if I’m going to be out in the sun (my head HATES the sun now), bring ear plugs with me everywhere I go (my hearing is so sensitive now), and to TAKE A BREAK if I need one.  I find that after a long day, it’s best if I go into a dark, quiet room and turn off my brain for about 45 minutes.
  10. If you could tell the medical community one thing about your illnesses, what would you tell them? Since Cowden Syndrome and Lhermitte-duclos Disease are rare, we need to walk this road together.  Most of my doctors support me on this, that we are a TEAM, and what I say GOES.  I’m very thankful for them!