Friday, January 29, 2010

Yet another challenge

Recently I switched primary care physicians. I liked the original guy as a person, but since I've been banded (and especially during my band slip), he has just not kept up to speed with me medically. He has been listening to my heart at least 2-3 times a year for the past 10 years and never uttered a word about any heart problem. When I asked him if I should have a cardiac evaluation because of the phen-fen I tooki years ago, he said no, my heart is fine.

So it was a surprise when the new doctor said, "Did anyone ever tell you you have a heart murmur?" He added that because it's a loud murmur, he wanted me to have an echocardiogram (sonagram of the heart). I had the echo done last week. I've never been interested in cardiology the way other medical topics interest me, but it was fascinating to see and hear my heart beating. Of course, the technician made no comments about my test other than to point out the different heart chambers. A few days later, the doctor's office called to say that my murmur is from a very strong heartbeat, caused by thickening of my heart wall, and that the doctor would discuss it with me when I see him in 2 weeks.

If it can wait 2 weeks, I guess I'm not at death's door, but about 5 minutes of research revealed that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is often what kills healthy young athletes who drop dead in the middle of a game. It's usually congenital, caused by a defect in the fibers in the heart wall, but can also be caused by cocaine abuse and a few other things that are far outside my realm of experience (I know exactly how to score a candy bar, but have no idea how or where to score cocaine) Treatment is exercise (I think I'm already good in that department), medication, sometimes open heart surgery, sometimes a heart transplant.

The good news is that I don't have any symptoms of heart trouble - no shortness of breath, no exhaustion, no problems when exercising, and so on. But still, this distresses me. I turn my life around, have weight loss surgery, reform my eating, learn to enjoy daily exercise, lose my excess weight, regain my health (normal blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure), and then find myself dealing with chronic, daily pain (fibromyalgia). After a 10-month battle, I get that under control, and now I'm faced with a freaking defective heart. Thanks so much, God. I needed yet another challenge in my life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Port repair approved

I'm happy to report that my port repair surgery has been approved by my insurance company and scheduled for February 15th. I have to go for pre-op tests (basic blood work) next week, and have to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. on the 15th. That means getting up when it's still dark and leaving the house by 4:00 a.m. at the latest. Yikes. But at least I'm the first patient on the surgeon's schedule that day. I'll get her when she's nice and fresh. And hopefully not as sleepy as I will be.

Before I got this news, I felt that I didn't have enough restriction and was longing for a fill. But for the past 2 days, I've had restriction that I hadn't noticed before. I don't know what's changed - the restriction, or my perception of it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jean's Band Rules

Here is a little video introducing me & my (infamous) band rules.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy about a yeast infection?

Say what?

I have chronic yeast infections on the skin of my lower abdomen and pubic area. Summer heat and sweat aggravate this, but I think the overhang of excess tissue there is the worst culprit, no matter what the season. About 10 months ago, my GYN prescribed Diflucan (a one-dose RX pill) and the rash disappeared within 3 days. A few months later, it was back. I've tried OTC creams (Clotrimazole), but they don't seem to help. Although the weather is very cold now (12 degrees, minus something with the wind chill factor - unheard of for this area) and I am never warm, the rash is back, with itching this time. So I went back to the doctor today - saw her partner since she had an emergency. He gave me another RX for Diflucan, with one refill (no more after that because of potential liver damage) and advice about how to manage the condition (use cornstarch on the skin and/or apply a panty liner to the affected area to absorb moisture).

I said, "One day I may want to have plastic surgery to remove the tissue overhanging my pubic area. My insurance might pay for a panniculectomy if I can provide medical documentation, including photos. Would you be willing to do that?"

He said, "Sure, if our camera is working."

Their camera was not working - they lost the USB cable. Replacing it would require a 2-minute drive to Wal-Mart, but they agreed to accept any photos I provide and upload them to my medical record. I was delighted! When I got home, I got out my camera and pulled down my pants and...oh no, the memory card was full. I had taken the Diflucan about 2 minutes after I left the pharmacy, and it was working already, so it was a race to empty the memory card, take some truly disgusting photos of the affected area (while lifting my belly upward) before the rash disappeared, and burn the images to a CD. Luckily, there were 3 usable images, 1 of them very good, the other 2 adequate.

I have to say, after looking at those photos, I just do not understand why that part of me appeals to my husband. I suspect that it isn't the look, but the feel of it, he likes. He's such a good guy - loved me fat, loves me not-so-fat.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Remembering Size 24

Last night at work I went into the stockroom to fetch some slippers (known in these parts as "house shoes") and was stopped dead in my tracks by the sight of some women's spring pants on a rolling rack. They were sized on the rack - largest size on one end of the rack, smallest size on the other end. The largest size was facing me and it looked enormous. Since I was alone, I felt free to quote, out loud, a former coworker who was fond of saying, "Sweet suffering Jesus!" I went closer, exercising caution because those pants looked like they could smother me. They were a size 24. Then it hit me - I used to wear size 24 pants. And when I wore that size, I had no concept of how big I really was.