I’ve debated about writing this post for probably close to two weeks now. It’s quite simply been a scary time for me and I didn’t know if I wanted to put that vulnerability out there, but as I was saying my daily prayer, which includes a prayer to expand my opportunities and benefit to others, and it dawned on me that this post might help someone out there who is looking up these tags. Therefore, I’m laying it all out.
I have a new doctor that is systematically trying to go through each medication and condition that I have, and trying to find out if I have other underlying conditions that are being masked by these medications or have gone undiagnosed. After a 20+ year history of taking antacids and preventatives for reflux, which finally got diagnosed as GERD about 5 years ago, she decided to change my preventative, which no other doctor has done since I was diagnosed with an Esophageal Ulcer in my teens (without a GI consult, mind you). I have just taken whatever works until it doesn’t and then switch, and my long list of doctors couldn’t have cared less as long as I kept them informed as to which medication was currently keeping the reflux, vomiting, and nausea at a liveable level. She also took me off of my Marinol (synthetic THC), which brought back a fair portion of the nausea and vomiting. The reflux medication she prescribed didn’t work, just like I told her it wouldn’t, sit I’d tried it 15 years ago, so she changed it to a prescription strength of one that usually works for me and then said there was something else going on that needs to be investigated to be causing this. Keep in mind she believes in Fibro, treats it, and everything, so she knows it can happen it Fibro, but doesn’t believe it should be so uncontrolled that I need Marinol to keep my symptoms at bay. She has scheduled me for an endoscopy of the esophagus and stomach. “We need to figure out what is going on.” So me being the nerd that I am, especially with the medical background, started researching EGD (the procedure) and then found a lot of articles from reputable sites (as in, the ones that the neuro office used when I worked there) about the causes of symptoms that lead to this procedure. It turns out I have a lot of risk factors on board and a lot of my unexplained symptoms that the other doctors never paid attention to when I mentioned them were all red flags saying I needed this scope. Long story short, due to all of my medical history and complications, I have around an 80% chance of having stomach cancer that has gone undiagnosed for at least a little while, if not quite some time. It could actually explain why my Fibro has progressed so intensely while I was still young and why it is so debilitating now. It could explain this continual cycle I’m in right now of getting really sick, then seeming to recover, and then starting back over.
I don’t react to things like a normal person, I’m the first person to admit that. There was a reason that I was awesome as a Risk Analyst for HIPAA at the office. I am that worst scenario kind of girl that usually has pretty bad luck, so I tend to prepare for the worst. It prevents me from shattering in front of others when I don’t want to (what can I say, I’m an introvert, so I’d rather keep that to myself or apparently share it in writing for the world to see *small laugh*). Also, if things turn out to be just a little bad, then it’s a big relief and things will be a lot easier to handle. I HATE being unprepared for anything, but most especially my health, since there are so many parts that, excuse the wording, makes life kind of shitty sometimes, most especially if it’s a new diagnosis that I was blind sided by. So I’m looking at that 80% chance right now and going off of that. I did a cross research of survivability of stomach cancer with all of my health issues, which didn’t come up exactly, but came up with enough that left me without a lot of hope honestly. And before you say it I know there’s at least a 20% chance that it’s something small and fixable, I KNOW, but I’m that other kind of person that prepares for the 80% with 100% failure later. I’ve kind of distanced myself from it and am just analytical about most of it. I have a to do list of things that must be done in case I die and I’m working on it. Some think it’s morbid and it’s hard for others to even imagine doing such a thing, but I’ve had 2 friends die from health issues all ready that were younger than me and let’s face it, my health pretty much sucks. I don’t try to seem morbid; I’m literally just focused on what I need to do, how to handle things, and it’s my way of coping. It’s the only thing I’m actually in control of now, if you really think about it. So I’m working on getting my car title changed to my married name so that my husband won’t have to fight probate for it, I’m working on an instruction manual for the household appliances and cleaning that he has never done, and I’m working on making these the best holidays ever.
I want togetherness and happiness, just in case this is my last one. Hang every ornament while remembering how it came into our family. Have a deliberate reason behind each gift instead of it just being about commercialism. Our Christmas tree stays lit almost around the clock because of my love of Christmas lights and we even got a strobe of snowflakes that should be outside, but he kept it inside so I can sit and watch those lights too, and try not to miss too many chances to bask in the comfort of those lights. This year it’s all about the love of our tiny family. By Christmas Day I should have my results, since my test is just under two weeks away, but until then, I’m going to keep coping. I’m also going to keep cherishing every moment with my family, my loving and insane fur babies, and enjoy every little ounce of Christmas cheer that I can. Maybe we should always act like it’s our last one, since anything can happen. I know that as soon as I started treating it as such my heart seemed to overflow, feeling too big for my body or soul. I count my blessings and stop to see the beauty all around me. And maybe this is the impact that I can share. While a little bit of my heart is tearing itself apart over the thought of losing those I love, my little life, and the moments I might miss, the rest stays focused and works on my end of life goals because of the love in my life. I want to protect them if I’m unable to handle these things later. I love them too much to leave it unresolved and in their lap. So if you’re going through a really tough time too, focus on the love and let it guide you. And cope however you need to no matter what anyone else says! You do YOU and just try to get through this however you can. And if you feel alone, just reach out. It can be a relative, a counselor, or even to me. For me, though, I’m going to do my to do list and then make sure everything is easy peasy for Christmas Day so we can just spend time together and have our grinchy hearts grow two sizes too big from all of the love. 🙂