CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,

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Monday's Appointment at the Gastroenterology Clinic...

Before I start this entry, I suspect it's going to be very TMI (too much information) -- and potentially gross (discussion about health issues). You've been WARNED if such stuff is disgusting or yucky for you...

I can't recall what got me to checking (???), but suddenly yesterday I wanted to know WHEN I had my appointment to go to the Gastroenterology Clinic -- and discovered it was this coming MONDAY (!!!). Surprise! Hahahahahaha. For whatever reason (???), I had it in my mind that this was happening at the end of the month, not the first part... (yikes)

I have paperwork I need to do (!!!) that they mailed to me, so I need to quit putting that off. (sigh) Here's the thing with that: I just looked it over, and there doesn't begin to be enough ROOM to write it all down on their form! So I guess I need to create my own form to fill out that gives me far more room for everything... Then we do NOT have a working printer here at home (!!!), so I'll need to print it out at the office. Happily we need to go in there tomorrow, anyway, so...

I first saw Dr. Barry T. DeGregorio back in January of 2007. I'd had what for me was long-term 'internal' pain at that time (approximately 14-16 months of pain), so the doctor had referred me to him -- plus my GP at the time had taken labs (blood and urine) and I had an 'abnormal' reading with my liver, so that was supposed to be checked out, too.

(To be clear, this time I'm being referred to him because they found blood in my stool -- and there's a history of rectal cancer in the family.)

Marilyn and I were just chatting about this and how my gastro-related issues go back to 2002, when I would frequently vomit after dinner for no good reason. That year I had a LOT of issues with extreme bleeding (prior to my hysterectomy in January of 2003), so the focus tended to be on vaginal issues, rather than actual gastro-related stuff.

But you know what? I first had gastro-related things back in the late 1980's -- that's when I had what my doctor called a pre-ulcer condition, and went on prescription Tagamet for years. I'd get such internal pain I'd think I was dying (or having a heart attack) -- but it was ALL gastro-related! Actually, if we want to get very nit-picking, I had appendix surgery at age six -- and during that surgery organs ended up out of place (healing in an odd way). We found that out when I had my hysterectomy in 2003. (My doctor came in and basically said she couldn't figure out how I'd ever had a normal bowel movement, considering my bowel was upside down.) So my lifelong history of bowel issues goes back to that, no doubt! (Anyway, I do want the doctor to discuss more than just the recent test result -- and I'm hopeful he will.)

So, isn't this sort of like a really LONG mystery story??? (One that started very near the beginning of my life.)

Frankly, I've never had so-called 'normal' bowel patterns, even in childhood. I used to deal with constipation pretty much all the time, even as a kid. I never had a daily bowel movement. My personal pattern has generally been to go every three days (sometimes more often and sometimes less). Yeah, doctors find it odd and disturbing, but what can I say? (I guess this is probably tied to that first surgery in my life and my 'twisted' bowel...)

I didn't really develop a 'weight problem' until I was around 30. I assume being over-weight impacts all of this, as well.

Plus I've rarely been good about regular exercise and am really not good about it in recent years. Don't get me wrong. Yes, I like to walk. I like to ride my bike. I use to fast walk and run (loved both!) and I love to play tennis. But in recent years I don't really do any of those things. Happily we do live in a house with stairs and I work in a building with a LOT of stairs (and my desk is up those stairs) -- so I get that minimal exercise you hear about. Except for a short time in my life, I've always been pretty strong and can lift and pack stuff (necessary for my IT work, let me tell you!). But I need to get more exercise!!! I know it and I want to start. It seems like something always stands in my way... (sigh) Generally it's dealing with some health issue that makes exercise difficult (like my recent cold).

Since 2002, I've dealt with vertigo and diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I had a hysterectomy (in 2003) that finally took care of my super-heavy bleeding problems (and related issues like anemia, weakness and dizziness). I've dealt with nausea constantly, on and off (and have even been on medication for it). I have constant issues with indigestion (plus gas, diarrhea and constipation) -- which include internal pains (a burning sensation in the chest, stomach pains, backache and so on). I may also have developed a sensitivity to some milk products (not uncommon as people age, I know). I'm glad it's not all dairy -- and not all the time. I had tests for both my liver and kidney, too. The liver in January 2007 and the kidney after my surgery in 2003.

Whoops! I almost forgot to mention: I've had issues with arthritis since before I turned 30 -- hard to believe I didn't mention that! I have almost constant pain in various joints (mostly my fingers, wrists, elbows and my right hip -- which is currently severe). I guess I'm so used to the arthritis (I've had it more than half my life) that I don't tend to focus on it much. Hahahahaha.

I know I'm often sleep-deprived, which probably impacts my overall health, as well. This has been especially bad since around 2005 through now. I used to be a person who needed a LOT of sleep to function (a minimum of eight hours a night), but that hasn't been true for nearly a decade now...

The good side? Currently my diabetes is pretty well under control, as is my vertigo. Bur my allergies (which bother me during autumn, September through November, as a rule) are BAD this year. (Allergy issues seem to make me more susceptible to colds and even the flu -- and to bouts of vertigo.)

Anyway, I feel if I could get my gastro issues under control (at least a little) and my allergies under control, too, I'd be able to focus more on exercise and weight loss -- both of which would help the rest of my issues!

Gosh, when I write it out like this it appears like I'm dealing with nothing but medical problems all the time. That's really NOT true! I believe everybody has their own set of medical/health concerns, and mine is probably average.

The goal here will be to have a Colonoscopy. It's been suggested to me before, but unless it's covered by insurance, this is a very EXPENSIVE test (!!!). We're talking a cost that can range from $2,000 - $3,000, just to be clear. So hopefully it's going to be COVERED (fingers crossed). Otherwise I'm not sure it's going to happen...

I'm nervous about it because of my unusual bowel configuration -- I'm NOT normal there, so it's not your average test, I'm guessing. I suppose that could potentially mean it would be more expensive, too... (sigh)

Well, I started to enter info via their website -- but it kept dumping me out (!!!). I'm off to try again. It would make the paperwork much easier if I could do that.

In other health-related news, I also need to get in and have a fasting blood test -- and see my Nurse Practitioner, Leslie. It's time to evaluate how my meds are working -- and see how things are going with my diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The last two are keeping me from going back on Estrogen -- which I really want to do (!!!) -- so I'm hopeful things will show improvement.

(Yes. I also still need to get a mammogram and to see the foot doctor. It's always something! Hahahahaha.)

My personal goal? Improved overall health, that allows me NOT to dwell on my problems. I don't expect my issues to disappear or my pain to go entirely away -- I know that's ridiculous to even consider. I just want to be able to work and play hard, eat without constant discomfort, exercise and have a certain amount of energy. And it would be nice to have my hormones controlled enough that I don't burst into tears for no good reason (!!!), which makes me nuts. I guess I can live with hot flashes, because estrogen doesn't really seem to help with it much (grin)...

What a HUGE entry!!! (yikes)

Tags: 2013, allergies, arthritis, bowel-movement, dairy, diabetes, diet, exercise, gastroenterology-clinic, health-report, high-blood-pressure, high-cholesterol, hormones, hysterectomy, kidney, liver, medicine, nausea, october-2013, psoriasis, sleep, surgery, vertigo, weight, weight-loss

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