My Blood Just Might Be Slightly More Interesting Than Yours

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Vast knowledge makes you strong.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  My dad used to say that last bit.  And it follows that if you believe something, it is very real in its consequences.  So if I believe my left foot is possessed by satan I might be inclined to cut it off.  Even though my original notion was probably wrong, I still end up hopping about on one foot.

I’m sure there’s a miraculous point in there somewhere, although it could be simply a tangent my brain took off on when I remembered my great love of medical dictionaries and encyclopedias in my youth.  Those books have been replaced by Google.  I had a mothers medical book when my kids were small and was able to diagnose them with every childhood affliction going.  Now there are millions of new conditions so I have great empathy for todays parents and their boggled minds.

I still research diseases and random symptoms and come to wild conclusions.  Then I go to a real doctor to be assured that I am not in immediate danger of dropping dead.  So far they have all been very accommodating.

The condensed version of my medical history is just as likely to lull you in to a coma as the detailed one, so I will skip over both of them and jump right to the diagnosis.  IgG4.

Yes, of course, I could not have something mundane and ordinary.  IgG4 is a rare systemic fibro-inflammatory disorder.  Here is what I know about it, even though I have googled these facts and realize you are not supposed to blindly believe everything you google.  Hasn’t stopped me yet.

Immunoglobulin G is an antibody found in blood and extracellular fluid which controls infection of body tissues.

By binding many kinds of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi, IgG protects the body from infection, neutralizes toxins and helps maintain food tolerance by the immune system.

Inflammation is a result of infection.  

Okay.  The original specialist I saw no doubt said all this to me because he wrote it all in a report which I didn’t see until very recently.  Two years later.  All I heard was NOT CANCER blah blah blah.  He said he didn’t know the cause of the infection or the inflammation, gave me heavy-duty antibiotics and then a course of prednisone, and since neither made any difference suggested we forget about it.

The inflammation never went away so my doctor and I thought a follow-up visit in a little over a year would be a good idea.  Same clinic, different doctor, and it’s like he never read my file and started over again with all the same tests.  Eventually he didn’t know what to do with me next and referred me to a lung specialist.  I learned more in that one visit to them than I figured out from him in six months.  They are the ones who showed me the original doctors report.  They sent me for blood tests and then referred me to a hematologist.  I saw her on the 3rd of August and she was wonderful, even though she sent me to a lab to have seven more vials of blood taken so they can analyze the hell out of it.

Her diagnosis, unless she finds anything new, IgG4.  Treatment for now – none.  Steroids could cause more problems than they solve so no point in going that route yet.

The inflammation hasn’t spread much except to a lymph node behind my esophagus and a couple in my lungs.  Any organ in the body could be affected.  It seems to be a little unpredictable.  Fibrosis is a possibility.  Not a lot of studies have been done on this yet and there are differing opinions. But really, I am done losing sleep over it.  Skin rashes and thyroid problems and type 2 diabetes are all related and I remember saying once I thought whatever was going on was a systemic thing and holy crap, I was right.  Maybe everything is systemic, I don’t care, I still think I’m smart.

On Wednesday I’m going to see a dermatologist on the hematologists recommendation.  Then I would like to do what the original specialist suggested and forget about it.

How’s that for a plan.

 

The Great Declutter Plan

shoprto.com

shoprto.com

Operation De-Clutter has officially begun here in Casa Mia.

I am writing this little declaration, not because I believe anyone will find it fascinating, (and if you do, holy cow, I hope your day improves), but because having it in writing is likely to motivate me to carry this through to a satisfactory conclusion.  In other words, embarrass and guilt me in to keeping my word about it and finishing what I’ve started.

It wasn’t rocket science to figure out that the thought of actually getting rid of stuff permanently was what was holding me back.  So now I have a giant purple plastic bin into which I will be lovingly placing precious articles with which I cannot possibly part.  (Unless they’re confiscated behind my back and I don’t notice they’re gone, but no one has volunteered to do this for me.)  So I’m on my own.

Yesterday I donated three bags of miscellaneous toys and puzzles to our local County Clothesline.  And hardly made a dent in the “toy room”.  But it’s a start. I have donated three big green garbage bags full of clothing to another charity.  My bedroom/office is next.  Walls and shelf surfaces will soon be bare while I sort out only the necessary from the purely frivolous.  There are things in here I don’t even like, but they were given to me or have some sort of sentimental value or have been around so long I don’t really see them anymore.  They are on their way out.

There will be many steps to this process – I expect it will keep me busy for days and days. Maybe the whole summer.  More purple bins are a very real possibility.  At the end of it all, everything will be put in the storage room with the door closed where I can’t see it.  Then we wait.  If in, say, six months, I haven’t missed or longed to see whatever is in there, out it goes.  I will be ruthless.

We never used to be such crazy hoarders because we moved around so much and learned to give it away or toss it out before the move, rather than pack it up, only to pitch it out at the new location.  Living in the same house for almost thirty years means we haven’t done a big purge for a very long time, and we are currently running the risk of being buried in the collected rubble.  I’m just a little overwhelmed by it all.  Time for a change.

So Good Luck Me!  Get this done, and then we’ll work on the behavioural collecting problem that started all this in the first place.

Life is Not a Sack of Shit

My Shit

My Shit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Prompt:  Escape!  Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from).

Warning – this post contains the word shit, a whole lot of times.

People have shit on my life, and shit has happened to me in my lifetime.  I have gathered up a lot of shit and have been dragging it around with me for way too long.  I would like to escape all this shit I’m carrying, so I’m going to tie up the big sack it’s in, drop it right here, right now, and turn around and just walk away and leave it behind.

I’m tired of looking in the bag and feeling sad and angry about all the shit that’s happened.   I’m tired of occasionally wallowing in it.  Frankly, it really stinks.  And I don’t want to have to deal with anyone elses shit, either.  Maybe I can help someone put theirs down for a bit and forget about it for awhile, but ultimately that someone has to deal with his or her own shit.  I’ll try not to add to theirs, but I won’t take any off their hands either.  So do not hand me any shit.  I’ve been one of those people who has always felt responsible for the happiness of others.  I seem to have passed that trait on to at least one of my children (maybe both) and at least one of my grandchildren (maybe more).  It’s a terrible shitty burden to carry.  I don’t want to do it anymore.

When we go off on a vacation we never take loads of shit with us.  That’s the whole point of going somewhere wonderful and different, to get away from it all.  So I think I’d like to go on a sort of permanent vacation from life’s shit.

I’m going to meditate more, breathe more deeply, eat better, get seriously back into yoga.  I’m going to make every shit-less moment I have left in my life count.  I am going to be happy and at peace with today and all the wonders and surprises it has in store for me.  I know shit will still happen, and I will still have to deal with it, but I vow to do it only once.  I will not cart it around with me and let it make me feel bad over and over and over.  I will let it go.  I think a lot of the stress and worry and fear that gets stuck to all the shit will disappear with it.

Sounds like a great escape plan to me.  And now here’s a nice picture to take your mind off all the preceding shit.

Meditation

Meditation (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)