Friday, October 26, 2012

Summoned in to see the doctor

I received a call at the office this morning from Kaiser that they want me to come in and see a doctor right away.  Since my doctor wasn't in the office, they scheduled me to meet with someone else in the same building in the afternoon to review my test results and to get a referral to a rheumatologist.  Okay, this means it's something serious if they're not telling me what it is over the phone, at least that's what I thought.  I had a couple of hours to work at the office, my appointment with my acupuncturist and then the doctor's appointment later in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, the medication I have been put on leaves me very tired (even though I had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night) and it makes me feel like I'm having a huge hangover that just isn't going away.  Not great things to experience.  My legs hurt badly, but I'm just not sure if that's because there's new pain there or because I'm now aware something is wrong and I am noticing the pain more when before I just somehow pushed through it.  I know that, in my life, there have been many times that I have pushed through pain.  That's sort of what I learned to do as a kid when I was being abused and so, as an adult, it's been an automatic reaction.  It's only now that I'm seeing I'm not supposed to just push through extreme pain ... I should actually seek help in these situations.  I know that's an elementary thought to many, but not when you've been in negative situations before.  You do the best you can to get through the moment.  I am in the mode of self-care now, though.  So  am going to see doctors for help and not giving up if it's feeling like the answers are not quick or right in front of me.

At my appointment with my acupuncturist, we normally sit down for a few minutes and talk about what's going on with me - body, mind and spirit - before she then starts placing the acupuncture needles in my body.  As I was catching her up on everything that has happened since last Friday, I was talking about how overwhelmed I have been feeling with all of this and then I just burst into tears.  Once the tears came, it was a while before they stopped.  I think it was me being absolutely honest with another human being sitting right in front of me, basically saying I know that I'm a strong person but it's a lot to take right now.  The thing with all of this has been that ever since I made the decision to get healthy and started losing weight, all these other issues have been piled onto me and the pressure of it all feels like it's collapsing me.  She patiently listened and gently guided me into what the issues are that are feeling overwhelming to me right now so that I could really talk about the things I've been holding in.  Today, instead of spending our session working on my back, which is my primary purpose in seeing her, we decided to work on my legs since that is the thing that is causing me the most pain right now.  While my back pain is probably a 5 out of 10 right now, my leg pain is at about a 9.  It gave me amazing relief to just take the edge off the pain in the area where she worked.  Since all areas of my legs are affected right now, there just wasn't time to work on it all this session, but I did feel better walking back out to my car.

Later, when I saw the doctor, he said the lab work is suggesting that I have rheumatoid arthritis in my leg joints.  Actually, he asked me about my hands but since I'm dealing with worker's comp things there, he didn't delve further in that area.  We reviewed every single test and two of them came back abnormally high.  My next step is to see a rheumatologist to confirm the diagnosis and then talk about a treatment plan.  I do fit all of the symptoms of someone suffering from that condition and the lab tests back that up.  When he left me alone in the room after the appointment, there was a part of me that was having a hard time with hearing this news since it's yet another thing to deal with.  But a bigger part of me was relieved that there is a name to explain why I have been feeling so bad.  Here I thought the pain was from a person who was exercising everyday who hadn't previously done that, so I just associated it with soreness from that.  Yet, when the pain was never going away and was increasing with time, it now makes perfect sense. 

When I got home from the appointment, the first thing I wanted to do was go out and exercise.  I was warned with the medication I'm taking now that weight gain is a potential side affect and I did see the number on the scale go up a little from my last weigh-in.  That coupled with the fact that I have been exercising less because of the pain explained the gain.  In my head, though, I just wanted to exercise it away.  But, sanity returned when I thought about how tired and "drunk" I was feeling from the medication, along with the news of my next medical challenge.  Instead, I crawled into bed and decided that rest trumped everything else.  I'm glad I wasn't being stubborn and going out and exercising anyway.  The last thing I need to do is add more problems to the list if I'm already not feeling well.

I really want to thank those that have reached out to me, whether on this blog or through a personal e-mail, even those that have been praying for my healing without saying anything to me.  It has meant a lot to know that I don't walk through these things alone and that I can be as real as I need to be here.  I didn't want to be downer with discussing all of this medical stuff, but then I realized that this is not about being a downer at all ... this is about healing.  There is tremendous strength in that as I face those hills and challenges that stand before me.  Personally, I don't want to run away from them because then I'll run straight to food, which is how I chose to deal with things before (meaning I wasn't dealing with them at all).  Even though I'm dealing with a lot of pain right now, I'm suiting up, showing up and walking through the best way I can.  I'm getting to know all different kinds of doctors in the process, but more importantly, I'm getting to know myself and my strong resolve ... Kick Ass Kathy as some in my Optifast group have affectionately dubbed me.  I like that. 


Deb MRNINIL said...

Sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis. You are a very strong person and I am sure you will find the way to fight this disease.

Personally, I want to thank you. Reading your blog inspired me to start Optifast and though it is early on, I am succeeding so far.

I believe good things will come to people like you that share their struggles and successes to help others.
My thoughts are with you. Feel better soon.


Kathy said...

Debbie, thank you for reaching out and for your well wishes. I'm so thrilled that my story helped you start Optifast ;-) It really is a terrific program and has changed my life in immeasurable ways. Best wishes on your journey!

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