Saturday, March 9, 2013

Travel Woes Part II and the Big Appointment

Okay, I realize that I may be bombarding you with posts this weekend but I have a lot to write about! Sorry I'm the center of the universe!

So as I mentioned last night, I had my three-month follow-up with Dr. A yesterday morning. It was a small miracle that I even got there at all, logistically speaking. Dr. A's office is in Big City, which about an hour train-ride away from Home City. After all the flight/driving delays the night before, my mom and I left the house for my 10am appointment at 7:30 as there was still a lot of snow on the roads and we wanted to play it safe. We caught an 8:00 train and everything was going swimmingly until the train BROKE DOWN and we sat on the tracks for almost an hour awaiting rescue. But then, inexplicably, the train got started again and we were on our way. Lest you think I was calm throughout all this, do not be fooled; I was a nervous wreck. Good thing Mama was there to roll her eyes at me and keep a little perspective. Once in Big City, we went down the wrong block and ended up walking in circles in the snow/rain until we finally found our way to the doctor's office, stepping out of the elevator at exactly 9:59.

Before I get into the details of the appointment, I should probably give a more comprehensive recap of my progress since then. If you recall, Dr. A diagnosed a pretty severe hormone imbalance, muscle wasting, and tissue and nerve damage as a result of longterm amenorrhea and low body fat (whaddup, anorexia). The symptoms, which had been progressively worsening since December 2011, were pelvic, hip, and lower back pain along with occasionally persistent infections. Dr. A's prescribed treatment was an estrogen/testosterone compound (, I didn't grow a beard or anything), physical therapy, weight gain, no overexercise, and absolutely no losing my periods. So I followed all his instructions and my spirits were dramatically lifted...except that I never noticed much improvement in pain.

Onto the actual appointment: first, we went over the results of my blood work from last time. Turns out my estrogen and free testosterone were at less than HALF the levels of an average healthy 22-year-old. We talked about my weight, eating, exercise habits, and pain levels before moving onto the exam. He tested my muscle strength, tightness, nerve trigger points, etc. and the pain from that was actually all much improved. BUT the nerves were super irritated—we're not sure if this has always been the case or has developed more recently in conjunction with the other issues. He actually said, "Well we've fixed one problem but haven't been addressing the other! Is this new or did I miss it last time?" I don't think I've ever heard a doctor admit that before; admit that No I don't know everything, and it's my responsibility to get this right. Let's fix you. It takes real balls to leave your ego at the door and put the patient first.

Back when I was first doing research about Dr. A, I had read somewhere online that he was an arrogant prick. I almost didn't schedule that initial appointment, but luckily my desperation prevailed. I made my mom come with me because I was nervous to see him alone. And in the end, I am so lucky to have found him. He's one of the most highly regarded physicians in the country—nay, in the world—and has been nothing but compassionate, sweet, and funny to me. Oh, and a badass mofo medical genius. Yesterday I asked if I could clone him, but he politely declined. Jerk.

Anyway, the solution: I'm on a super potent steroid for the next 2-3 weeks to treat the inflammation that is irritating the nerves and still causing pain. During the exam when Dr. A started talking about this "new issue," I started to freak out a little, but he quickly added, "No, no, this is easy to fix." So that's it. I'm supposed to continue with the hormones and PT for another few months, as well as maintain my weight and periods of course—but according to Dr. A, the steroids should have me feeling dramatically better by the end of the month. Long-term, he's pretty adamant that hardcore exercise can't be in the picture for me until I've been having regular periods for a solid year or two. But my body should recover.

Anyway, I was obviously thrilled out of my socks to hear that. The pain is still making my everyday quality of life pretty darn crummy, but I just gotta hang in there a few more weeks. Last night I had a minor meltdown (WHY DO GOOD THINGS ALWAYS MAKE ME UPSET??) about what happens if this doesn't work? If my body keeps failing me? If I end up attending graduate school in a place without the doctors I need? My anxiety has been kind of bad lately, which is weird because it's been a nonissue for months. I am planning to see my psychiatrist when I get back to College City, so hopefully she'll have some suggestions.

Everyone please, please, I'm begging you like crazy, cross your fingers and your toes and say a little prayer to God or whatever you believe in that this is the thing that finally works. I'm so ready.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, stressful travels! I'm sorry to hear that you've still had so much pain, but it's wonderful that Dr. A was able to pinpoint what's going on and take steps to address it! What a wonderful quality in a doctor to re-evaluate and admit that something more needs to be done! I'm sorry that your anxiety has been bad and that you've had a lot of worries about the pain, but hopefully the new meds will start working soon! Crossing fingers, toes, everything else that can be crossed, that you're back to 100% soon!