Got a busy day today finishing up the cleaning, doing some online work, and exercising. I may skip the exercise because my hip still hurts. It’s the same pain that Tom had for a while right above the left hip that sort of heads toward the back. His got so bad it even woke him up. Mine doesn’t hurt when I’m sitting or lying down. It only hurts when I stand on my left leg. It’s hard to believe we’d both happen to be arthritic in that area, and since it doesn’t seem to be exactly in the joint, maybe it’s the sciatic nerve. I’m just not sure what makes mine flare-up. I’m guessing it’s the running. I still swear something doesn’t want me to enjoy running through the park. Tough shit, though, because I’m not going to stop. I am going to take a day off, though.
This is not a good park to live in if you’re a writer with all the landscaping and traffic noise, but it hasn’t been too bad yet today, so I guess I’ll get into my GYN appointment that I had yesterday. I have a lot to write, so hopefully I’ll remember everything. I took some notes last night.
The exam itself was quick and easy. In fact it was probably the quickest, easiest female exam I ever had. Just mild discomfort for just a few seconds.
When the nurse took me into the exam room I thought she was going to tell me to get undressed, but she told me to remain dressed until I spoke to the doctor. My initial thought was that maybe I would pass on the exam since my main reason for seeing the doctor was to get more information on the perimenopause.
My blood pressure was a little high at 138/90 because I was a little nervous. My pulse was a little low for me, though, at 87. I’m usually in the 90s. My BMI is still five points too high, and I’m still 59” tall. Well, I’m sure my sneakers gave me a half-inch boost, LOL.
I started playing mah-jongg on my phone because I thought it would be a long wait, as is usually the case with specialists. I used to have to wait forever for my endo. But before I had matched more than a few pairs of tiles, in came the doctor. The first thing that struck me about her was how tall she was. She was easily 6 feet or taller. She was an average looking blue-eyed blonde (30s?) and surprisingly heavy for a doctor. I liked her. She was very knowledgeable, patient, understanding and took the time to explain things in away I could comprehend. Like me, she spoke loud, so there were no issues straining to hear her like I would sometimes do with S. Her accent was wonderfully American too, LOL, so that was helpful as well. Most accents from Spanish-speaking countries I can understand, but the Indian accent is a killer.
We talked for quite a while and I gave her as much of my medical history and my family’s history that I knew of. Cervical cancer isn’t hereditary, but breast cancer is. I didn’t know this. My mother and paternal grandmother had breast cancer. Tammy had cervical cancer and a full hysterectomy despite the fact that I’m the one that’s more at risk for that and uterine cancer because I was DES exposed as a fetus, never had kids, and even my thyroid could be an issue, according to this doctor.
I told her of the various perimenopausal symptoms I’ve experienced on and off over the last three years, and then she explain something to me that makes total sense when you think about it. Periods tend to be heavy and erratic when they start and when they stop because the brain has to get used to sending the proper message to the body when it comes to starting and stopping periods. In other words, my brain doesn’t quite yet get the meaning of the words, “Stop telling my fucking ovaries to ovulate!”
As I told her, I can sometimes go months without symptoms. Right now you would never know I’ve had problems with hot flashes, anxiety, palpitations, etc.
Another thing that can create extra estrogen, as she told me, is being overweight. I’ve been 20-30 pounds overweight for nearly a decade and I still don’t feel any real motivation to lose the weight because I simply don’t like how diets make me feel. I don’t want to be hungry, tired and irritable, and I don’t care what others think. I would only gain the weight back and have already regained half of the weight I recently lost. I also still fear my thyroid meds becoming an issue again. I told her about that and she said that she’s not only struggled with her own weight all her life (she was probably 70-80 pounds overweight), but that she was well aware of the fact that levothyroxine can have some very scary consequences. I’ve always been sensitive to stimulants, probably because I have a high HR and I’m naturally energetic. So much so that fatigue is the only symptom I didn’t get much of before I began treatment.
I declined the mammogram and the colonoscopy for now, but because I’m older and because of the risks, she wants to have me prescreened for uterine cancer. The thought of it terrified me at first, and I told her that I had started fertility testing in 1999 and had that procedure done where they insert dye in your fallopian tubes, and how that hurt like hell before I realized I no longer wanted kids anyway. Nor did I feel I should have to “work” for something that’s supposed to come naturally. I felt I had struggled enough for things no one should need to struggle for as it was.
She thinks that if the DES didn’t prevent me from conceiving, my thyroid might have. Pretty sure I’ve had thyroid issues a lot longer than I realized. Only the gland was hyper when I was younger as opposed to hypo. We’ll never know for sure, not that it matters. I do have a horned uterus because of the DES and I guess my cervix is at a weird angle or something like that.
Anyway, she understood that the hysterosalpingogram would have been painful because of the way they have to expand the cervix, but I would be knocked out for this (endometrial biopsy?). While she still believes the heavy periods are caused by the perimenopause as I do, heavy periods are also a symptom of uterine cancer, and therefore my insurance will cover the procedure. I would be put to sleep, she would remove a piece of the uterus lining, and she would put a block on the uterus to help with the pain when I woke up. Then I would be given pain medication.
After I had a night to sleep on it, however, I’m thinking I’m probably going to pass on this one, too. Even though I would be knocked out, it just seems like an awful lot to put myself through when I have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting cancer there despite being at risk. In my family we’re more at risk of heart attacks and strokes than cancer. So… is it really worth it? The stress test was one thing since all I did was walk on a treadmill. But this is literally like surgery. So… is it really, really necessary?
Then she asked about religion, which I thought was weird at first. I told her I didn’t believe in religion and was leaning toward atheist, although I’m of Jewish descent. Well, apparently, if you’re Ashkenazi you have a higher risk of breast cancer. So much for thinking Jewish was just Jewish, LOL. All I knew was that I had one grandfather born in Austria and one in Russia, although Norma, who I questioned on Facebook when I got home, said she was pretty sure Nana Bella was also born in Russia.
I asked Norma if she knew anything about it and she said that Ashkenazi usually has darker eyes and skin, so she didn’t think so. Some of my grandparents and great aunts and uncle where Litvaks, she told me, pointing out my family’s fair skin and tendency for blue eyes. Well, I’ve got green eyes instead of blue, but I am definitely fair skinned and very sun sensitive. In Arizona I got sun poisoning instead of the tan I wanted. Here, I stand in the direct sunlight even when it’s barely 50° and I feel like I’m melting. So it’s more the sun I’m sensitive to as opposed to the heat, cuz I’m fine in the sun if I’m wet or swimming. I actually loved the dry heat of the desert. Then again, I was still young and thin at the time. I think a lot of us become more heat intolerance with age and when we put on our fat coat, not that I won’t always prefer warm climates to cold ones. Hell, we’re getting down to 35° tonight! :-(
Still nothing from Tammy, but she has checked in on Facebook and I think she's checked my blog, though I can always trust Google Analytics. At least she's alive. Alive but obviously very busy. That's okay... She can message me when she has more time.
Last night I dreamed that she, Lisa and my parents all went out to dinner, only Lisa was a kid again. I don't remember what we ate or talked about or anything like that. The dream only lasted a few seconds.
This entry has gotten insanely long, so I’m going to pick up with the rest of the appointment in another entry.