The surgeon’s office gave me two options for which day of the week I want the surgery on. Monday or Friday? Why can’t it be Tuesday? or Thursday? Not a day of the week where people feel hurried to get out of work for the weekend or just coming back possibly a little haggled from the weekend’s activities. In the end I picked Monday because from what I had read online about only staying in the hospital for a couple of days post op. I didn’t want to be kept over the weekend where my specific attending surgeon is not there and a bunch of dud residents are on call. In the end, it didn’t matter how I had planned that move meticulously because the office called me and switched my surgery date to a month later than originally planned. To a Friday over the long weekend nonetheless…

Leading up to the initial consult with my neurosurgeon I avoided watching Grey’s Anatomy. I googled my neurosurgeon to see if he looked like McDreamy. Because, you know, looks is very important to me. How trust worthy and competent you feel about someone (initially anyways) is basedon how they look. My dad asked me if I found a wallet on the streets would I chase the person and return it to whomever. My first reaction was “What did the person look like?”

If you google Transsphenoidal Surgery, google advises having an expert neurosurgeon to perform the surgery for obvious reasons. My expert neurosurgeon happens to be the only one that does it in Alberta. So I have to trust this guy with him prodding around a tiny bean-shaped pea sized gland that is basically the master controller in regulating vital body functions…that sits nice and snug against a couple of carotid arteries and the optic nerves…so no big deal.

He explained the procedure, the risks and benefits (all of which I already familiarized myself with by hours of articles on success rate etc.) On my consultation notes, he dictated that I was “keen” on having the surgery and proceeding with it after his due diligent in explaining what I already know. Josh was there to ask the more important questions that I never thought of. Like can I see how steady your hands are? Or how difficult is the surgery if you were to compare it to servicing a vehicle? For example, is it more or less difficult than an oil change? The surgeon assured us that it is easier than an oil change. It was like McDreamy being slightly arrogant about it and how a transsphenoidal surgery is a yawn fest of a 2 hour OR time.

Before I was wheeled in to the OR, Josh made a joke to McDreamy referencing the oil change. McDreamy didn’t laugh or acknowledge Josh’s anxieties. Josh told me he felt reassured after that exchange because he saw that the surgeon was focused and ready to work (even though it was 1 pm on a friday afternoon before the July long weekend).

To be Continued…

#medicalstories #memoir #nonfiction

Cushing’s Disease

According to WebMD, if you google “Tumor” – it is defined as an abnormal growth of cells that serves no purpose.

In the summer of 2018, we decided one last attempt at another cycle of Clomid trial.  After all, it was something tried and conceived.  It was my decision to not pursue alternative options that are more invasive at this time.  It was difficult to try and maintain a positive attitude at first but what life experience taught me as an immigrant child being raised by a single mother was that nothing worth having comes easy.  Josh had to remind me of my own mantra when I had moments of “I see the glass half full…but of poison” attitude.  (Gold star for whoever can figure out where that reference came from)

This time it was different. My dosage had to be increased and I was still not ovulating after the first two cycles. The last cycle I felt so sick that I was seen at Urgent Care twice in a month for hypertension. This led to my endocrinology referral and subsequent diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease. My endocrinologist said I did not look “Floridly Cushing’s” Oh but I do… Clinically, I had all the signs and symptoms of Cushing’s Disease for about 5 years. The symptoms got worse in the last two years which coincided with taking Clomid for fertility. I had abnormal weight gain, terrible skin, my hair keeps falling out and growing in places that I do not particular want it to and my energy levels best described as an iPhone 5 with a shitty battery. The diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease lifted a lot of unwarranted guilt around not being able to exercise and eat a proper diet. I was always craving terrible foods. My bone density scan revealed that I was pre-osteroprorosis at 32 years old and at a higher risk of fractures (I guess I do not regret my decision to stop snowboarding a couple years ago) I creaked and struggle to get out of bed every morning like a senior and could not understand why other than blaming myself for not putting more effort into exercising instead of lying around like Darwin. Although, owning a French Bulldog do naturally make you less incline to leave the couch, just ask any Frenchie owners.

The physical symptoms gave me more appreciation for missing my work with seniors at the hospital. You can see them struggle but to be relatable usually takes time…like you have to be old to appreciate being old. And I was told 32 is not old.

The psychiatric and psychological disturbances caused by my Cushing’s Disease was perhaps the worst of the illness. As I got closer to a confirmed diagnosis of having a corticotroph pituitary adenoma (waiting for test results, trying to get an MRI in a timely manner so I actually paid for a private one…) increased my already high cortisol levels – while continuing work at the clinic where I only get to listen to other people’s problems all day. I was increasingly depressed and anxious. I basically looked at myself in the mirror and saw myself as a patient on unit 48 except with a 32 year old face.

To be Continued…

#memoir #stories #medicalstories #nonfiction #lifestories