Life's Path

Monday, February 28, 2011

November 21 - November 30, 2008

It is Friday after work and a co-worker is having a Christmas party (yeah!) that includes toe nail painting.  I wouldn't miss this for the world!  Luckily I am one of the first guests there and I get some cute toes with snowmen on favorite!  Shortly after that I have to leave the party.  I can't carry on a conversation and I only know 1 other person in the room so this is not the time for me to be striking up new conversations and friends.  I hang in until I feel that I have been there an appropriate amount of time before leaving a party.  I have to get home.  I am exhausted, frozen, dazed, tingling throughout my body and a headache that just will not leave me alone.

Sunday is Grey Cup.  This is a highlight of the year for me as I LOVE football and we planned our wedding around Grey Cup so it is almost our 7th anniversary.  I don't remember a thing about the Grey Cup or that day.

Monday the 24th is our anniversary!  7 years I have been married to my best friend, the love of my life and my rock, especially now.  I have to go back to my doctor that morning and Glenn drives me to the appointment before he has to go to work, I will catch a bus from the appointment to my work.  The reason for the appointment is to go over some results from some recent tests.  I fell like rubbish once again today.

The doctor finally comes into the room and we start to go over everything.  Things are still not looking good on paper and I tell him how I have been doing and feeling.  The bone scan came back negative for arthritis, no surprise. 

Now if you know me, I am a doer.  I get things done and I do it now.  I don't wait around.  The only thing I procrastinate on is home work and those days are behind me. 

So I ask the doctor what the next step is, where do we go from here.  We have no answers for why I am feeling this way, I am not getting any better, only worse so what is the next step in the plan for figuring this out.  The doctor sits back in his chair, looks at me for a moment and then asks me, "Why are you so intent on getting this solved?"

For real, did he really just ask me that question?  Yes, he in fact did just ask me that question.  Let me see, I don't know, I don't like feeling sick, I don't like knowing that the life that I once lived has now escaped me.  I don't like having to know where every bathroom is because the diarrhea will not go away, the my head throbs all the time when it never used to, that I barely have the energy to get through a few hours let alone a full goes on and on.  I thought it was fair of me to ask what the next step was.

The doctor then looks at me and says that I am depressed.  I need to go on anti-depressants and then I will feel better.  I start to cry.  He is not listening to me.  I am not depressed, I WANT to get better.  I don't know why I am sick and I am tired of it.  He takes my crying as a sign that he is right.  He doesn't understand that he just took the last bit of wind that I had left in my sails, out of my sails.  He writes me a prescription and also orders some more blood work.  I am trying to keep myself together...will anybody listen to me, will anybody help me and give me some answers that I am looking for?

I walk out of the doctor's office with papers in hand and tears in my eyes.  I can barely see and am trying not to let myself fall apart.  I look up and Glenn is walking towards me across the parking lot.  He had a feeling driving to work that I would need him and he took the day off and came back to get me.  I have never been so grateful for him as in that moment.  I fall into his arms and just let it all out.  He gets me into the car and tells me that I am not going to work.  We are going to go home and figure this out.  I call work and tell them that I won't be in, I am taking a sick day.

We go home and Glenn became my super hero.  He calls his doctor to book an "appointment" for himself.  He is going to go to his doctor and see if he will take me on as a patient.  I am done with that other doctor.  Glenn will be seeing his doctor in the next few days.  I love my husband.  Remember, it is our anniversary and this is the best gift that he could have gotten me, a possible new doctor.

We spend the rest of the day resting, watching a movie at home and then we go out for dinner.  We make the best of our anniversary under the circumstances.  I am so thankful for my husband.

The rest of the week I do make it into work, I get the blood work done, we get massages and just try to live our lives as normal as we can.  December is just around the corner and better things are going to come my way, right?  Come on, it's December, Christmas is in the air, things have got to get better!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

November 20, 2008

Bone scan day.  If you have never had a bone scan, I will be the first to tell you it is a long process.  My appointment is for 10AM but I won't be done until about 1PM.  When you first get to the appointment you get an injection of die put into you.  Then you have to wait at least 2 hours for the die to go through your body.  So be prepared to bring a book or something to do while you are waiting. 

Once you are declared good to go, you are then placed on a bed and this machine will go over you from head to toe scanning every part of your body.  It takes some time so I manage to get in a little nap!  The only uncomfortable part of the procedure is that they tape your feet together and after a while, it gets uncomfy to say the least as you have to lie perfectly still the whole time.

After about an hour or so of scanning, checking the scan and doing more scanning, I was then free to go.  Crazy thing is, I am so exhausted after this exam.  I head back to work and struggle to make it through the rest of the work day.  But at least this test is over with and the results will let us know if I have arthritis or not...but I think I already know the answer to this one.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

November 19, 2008

Colposcopy appointment:  Colposcopy is a medical diagnostic procedure to examine an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva.[1] Many premalignant lesions and malignant lesions in these areas have discernible characteristics which can be detected through the examination. It is done using a colposcope, which provides an enlarged view of the areas, allowing the colposcopist to visually distinguish normal from abnormal appearing tissue and take directed biopsies for further pathological examination. The main goal of colposcopy is to prevent cervical cancer by detecting precancerous lesions early and treating them.

Truly, the only thing really terrifying about this appointment is that it is at the Alberta Cross Cancer Institute.  No matter what, you just don't want to be at this place for any reason.  When I first get there, I have to get registered.  I now own a health card from the Alberta Cross Cancer Institute.  I don't like it.  But I need it as I will be here from time to time over the next 2-3 years, depending on how the treatment goes.

When I get to the actual room, I relax a little more.  The staff there are incredible.  They are so kind and caring and put you at ease.  After watching a video with Glenn, as to what I should expect, I then go off by myself to the examining room.  I meet my colposcopist Dr. Black and he is someone that I know I can trust my life with.  He explains everything that he will be doing and even points out that I can watch it on a screen as well.  I choose to watch it on the screen.  Knowledge is the best thing and I think that if I can actually see the abnormal cells, I will understand more of what is going on.  So I do watch.  And guess what, I could see those abnormal cells.  So they take a biopsy of the abnormal cells and say that they will see me in 6 months unless the biopsy comes back showing the cells progressing too fast in which I would have to come back for another procedure.

It is over and done with.  Check that off of my things to do.  I can do this.  It was relatively painless during the procedure and afterwards it just felt like some mild cramping.  Again, I am mentioning this part of my health journey as it was an important step.  You need to have your annual physical so that if abnormal things do come up, they can get dealt with before they become something that you can't deal with.  I am so glad that I am getting this taken care of and monitored.  I hope you are doing the same thing for your body, you are worth it!

Friday, February 25, 2011

November 13, 2008

The day has finally arrived, I am about to meet my Rheumatologist.  The specialist that may be able to give me some answers.  I am very much anticipating my appointment and look forward to walking up the stairs to the second floor of the University of Alberta Hospital.  I am about to meet Dr. Davis.

I should know by now to never get my hopes up.  I don't meet Dr. Davis right away.  I am greeted by 2 overly eager and yet timid interns.  Okay, I have dealt with interns before with other doctors throughout my life.  I believe they have a place and they need to learn hands on.  What I don't appreciate is that you ONLY see the interns.  I'm getting ahead of myself.

So the interns take a look at the letter from my Doctor, review all the blood work that has been done on me since September.  They ask me questions pertaining to my health history etc.  I don't mind all this, in fact, it is necessary.  They then ask me to change into a gown as they want to check out my body, my mobility etc.  After a series of poking and prodding and moving my joints around, they write a bunch of stuff down and say they have to talk it over with Dr. Davis.  After a few minutes Dr. Davis finally comes into the room.  He barely looks at me.  He is muttering about needing to get to some lunch meeting.  Do I care?  No, I am a scheduled patient and he should be giving me the time that is needed.  Anyways.

Dr. Davis barely looks me in the eye.  He reads over everything and says that I need to go for a bone scan to rule out arthritis even though he is positive that I don't have it.  He sends me for some more blood work and says to book a follow-up appointment, oh yeah, it will be awhile as the great doctor is going back to his homeland (England) for a few months.  In the meantime he thinks that it is just stress related to my upcoming Colposcopy appointment.  He couldn't be farther from the truth.  These symptoms started before I even knew about my abnormal pap smears and I wasn't worried as I knew it was being taken care of.

And with that, less than 5 minutes with the great doctor, without him barely looking me in the eyes, let alone touching me he was gone and I was no better off. Oh yeah, I am booked for a bone scan the following week...which he thought was going to be a waste of time anyways.

I leave the appointment a little frustrated.  I understand that I might not have answers right away.  It was the way in which I was treated and the bed side manners that this doctor had.  If he is more concerned about a lunch meeting and getting to England, I don't have much faith in him to take care of me as a patient.  So there we are...November 13th...none the wiser and a heck of a lot more confused and uncertain. 

Next week I have my Colposcopy appointment and my Bone Scan.  Let's get through that and see what happens from there.  In the meantime I am not getting any better; probably a little worse as each day goes by.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

October 2008 favorite time of the year.  It is what I keep trying to tell myself.  I just turned 33.  I am getting worse.  Nausea has set in.  My sleep is getting worse.  I am getting more and more fatigued.  I am starting to lose my appetite.  I go back to my doctor on October 6th as things are not good.  He tells me I need to take 2 weeks off work to see if that will help me.  He runs some more blood work.  I am off work from October 6th-October 17th.

Life doesn't take a break though, even though you are sick.  Our grandson is going to have his 2nd birthday party and we know that Jared is going to propose to Glenn's daughter Nicole at the party.  I HAVE to be there, I can't miss out on it.  It takes every ounce of me to get me to the party, and to act as normal as I possibly can.  This moment is not about me, it is about birthdays and engagements.  So I force on my smile, take lots of pain med's and hope that I don't draw too much attention to myself.  I make it through the afternoon and go home and collapse.  Was it worth it...yes.  Can I do it again?  Only time will tell.

I head back to work on the 20th.  Time off was good, it has helped a little bit to have time to rest.  But being back at work is hard.  I seem to be in a fog.  I just don't feel like I am in my own body.  My heels now have a burning sensation in them and it hurts.  Come lunch time, I am so exhausted that I don't know how I am going to get through the day.  I am spending more time in the bathroom.  Diarrhea is normal to me now.  I can no longer work out.  I cancel my gym membership.  Glenn picks me up from work to take me home.  Walking home at the end of the day is just something that I can no longer do or even fathom.

I just keep thinking, a few more weeks until I see the specialists and then we will know what is going on, get a treatment plan and be back to myself.  This is what keeps me going.  I have a glimmer of hope out there.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

September 10-30, 2008

Well, we got home from our vacation safe and sound and as life does, you get thrown back into your routines and schedules.  Work was busy when I came back as my supervisor was on vacation and I was stepping in to replace her.  So needless to say, I was busy and trying to figure out the last couple of weeks and get caught up. 

I was also trying to get back into my workout routine.  We live 19 blocks from my work and I walk to and from work everyday.  Also at lunch time, weather permitting, I would do an incredible walk outside in the river valley or do a workout class in the gym at the building I work at.  I considered myself somewhat in shape and watched what I ate so as to take care of my body.

But things still weren't feeling right.  I remember being in the gym one lunch hour trying to do a workout and turning to my friend and saying "I am struggling, something is just not right with me.  I need to see my doctor."

So I proceeded to call my doctor to go in for a check up.  Funny thing, when I called the doctor's office, they were going to call me.  When I went for my annual physical back in the spring, they lost some test results and just found them and needed me to come in as one of my results was off and needed further investigating.  Great.  You know how the doctor's office says don't call us, we'll call you...I have rethought that over and over since that phone call.  So off to the doctor's I go.

When I get to the doctor's I find out that my last pap test was abnormal, I was needing to go to a specialist to get my cervix checked out further.  Not to worry, the big "C" word was not in the mix at this point but I had to get it checked out right away or the "C" word could become a factor.  I get book into the Colposcopy Clinic for November 19th.  Okay, I can deal with this.  I don't like that the appointment is in the Alberta Cross Cancer building, not exactly the place you want to be going for tests.  But I am glad that my doctor's office "found" my test results and that we are getting this taken care of.  I also mention this to stress the importance of getting your annual physicals.  It is so important to have things checked out regularly so that bigger problems don't potentially develop in the future.  If you do not book annual physicals, please don't wait any longer.

So, I tell my doctor what has been going on lately.  Lack of energy, sore and achy all over, cold all the time, headaches which I don't normally get, tingling in my face and hands, diarrhea that is almost daily now.  Doctor agrees to run some blood work on me.  This is September 24th.

I am also going back to my eye doctor as my left eye since the beginning of the year has been extremely itchy and dry.  They checked it out in January and couldn't find anything but I felt that I should have a follow-up appointment.  They still can't find anything wrong but I literally want to rip my left eyeball out of it's socket.  Drops don't help, they don't know what is wrong.

September 26th I get a phone call from my doctor, they need to see me to go over my test results.  This didn't suprise me, I haven't been feeling good so hopefully they will have some answers for me.  I will go see him on Monday September 29th.

September are the results that we have.  I am severely anemic.  I am going to have to go on some iron.  But the results that have my doctor concerned are three tests that are showing abnormally high.

They ran a test called ESR-WESTERGREN which records the inflammation levels in your body.  Normal tests should be in the 0-20 range.  I scored a 111.  A little off the charts and a concern for sure.  They have to figure out what is causing the inflammation in my body.

Another test called Rheumatoid Factor should have levels less than 20, I scored a 54.  Something else is going on in my body.

The last test is called ANA Anti-Nuclear which records if there is an auto-immune problem, you guessed it, I scored a positive.

So the ball gets rolling, doctor figures I need to see a Rheumatologist.  Unfortunately, we know that seeing specialists never happens overnight, I am booked for November 13th.  Until then, I am to go on the iron, try and take it easy and just have to wait.  Doctor figures at best guess, I probably have arthritis.  We will wait and see.  Why does November have to be so far away??

Monday, February 21, 2011


I need to give some health history for me at this point.  When I was in high school I experienced some health problems as well.  Luckily those were quickly diagnosed and I learned how to deal with them in my life. 

I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Endometriosis.  Luckily I had a great doctor at the time and he had me into specialists that I needed to see right away and get these issues dealt with.

In the spring of 1995, I went to Japan on a mission trip with my bible school team.  We were in the area of Nagoya, Japan for approximately 1 month.  While there we ate an assortment of new foods to me...mostly sushi and so much raw meat.  It was very hard for this Alberta beef loving girl to eat but, to my credit, I did at least try everything that was presented in front of me. 

Somewhere along the line, while in Japan, I picked up a lovely little parasite named Shigella.  I started to experience symptoms towards the end of the trip and just hoped that it wasn't anything serious and hoped I could deal with it once I got back home to Canada.

Once back home in Canada, the little parasite continued to do much havoc to my intestines and stomach.  By the time I got diagnosed, much damage had been done and the doctor said that it would take about 5-10 years before I would feel like I had my stomach and intestines back to normal.  He wasn't kidding.  Even though the parasite was taken care of and no longer in my system the damage was never ending.  Many "sudden" trips to the bathroom for intense cramping, extreme sweating (my shirts would be soaked through, you could hear the sweat pour off my body and hit the bathroom floor) and then followed by diarrhea.  These episodes would come and go as they pleased...sometimes they would be frequent and other times I would go months before another attack.  Slowly over time the attacks became less and less frequent.

Other than that, I did experience some TMJ difficulties and whiplash after a car accident but nothing too serious or life threatening.  I have been lucky to have escaped broken bones and stitches in my life.

I thought I should mention these health matters now in this part of my story so that you can put the self-diagnosis' out of the way when you continue to read the rest of my story.  My thyroid is continually monitored, my endometriosis is under control and is continually monitored etc.  But they are important to the whole health picture and I thought they should be mentioned.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

August 29 - September 9, 2008

Our vacation!!  We are ready for our big road trip, but it wasn't easy.  I didn't feel "right" all week leading up to us leaving but we are ready and on our way.  I slept lots on the drive.  I guess I needed a break, right? 

We made all our destinations safe and sound and had a wonderful time catching up with our friends, first in Minneapolis, Minnesota and then back to Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Although we were relaxed and having fun, I was struggling.  I always needed breaks to go lay down and rest and just feel like I had to recharge again before doing the next thing.  I was freezing cold all the time.  I ached, mostly in my back but it started to move to other parts of my body.

One night, Glenn and I went out to the movies.  I didn't feel good at all.  I made it through the movie but on the drive back to our friends I just broke down into tears.  Something was really wrong, I did not feel myself at all.  I didn't even feel like I was in my own body anymore.  I remember turning to Glenn and saying "If I have something serious, I want it to take me fast because I don't want to suffer and feel like this for very long". 

I had no idea what was going on with me but I knew that something wasn't right.  We made it through the vacation though despite what was going on.  I will deal with it when I get home.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Year was 2008...

2008 was a good year.  In March we went dog-sledding, one of the many highlights that I had on my "bucket list".  In May I became an aunt again.  The summer was action packed as they always are for us, usually filled with sporting events.  August brought about another "bucket list" item as we cruised down the river in Edmonton on a supper/evening cruise on a glouriosly hot summer night.  Life was good.  Work was enjoyable and I was given more responsibilites as a result of my work ethic and performance. There were many reasons to smile, laugh and breathe in all life had to offer.  

At the end of August beginning of September we were going on a road trip to visit good friends of ours.  We were getting ready to drive to Winnipeg, then continue on down to Minneapolis, MN.  Two long days of driving but with lots of music, good company (my hubby) and the open road, we were looking forward to visiting and having a vacation.

August 24th I dropped Glenn (my husband) off at his son's house so that they could spend the day golfing while I did some last minute shopping to prepare for our trip later in the week.  It was a beautiful sunny, summer day and I was looking forward to getting my errands done.

The errands did not get done that day.

About three blocks after I dropped Glenn off at his son's house, I got INTENSE cramping in my stomach.  I thought I was going to die.  I knew that I was in trouble.  I needed a bathroom FAST.  I quickly pulled into the nearby McDonald's and had to use a public washroom to deal with whatever was going on with my stomach.  After sometime in that bathroom, I thought that I was good to go and I could venture off to my first stop...something must not have agreed with me but I feel okay now so here we go...

I got to the store and proceeded to have another "attack" immediately.  Luckily the store had a public washroom and I spent some more time in there.  This time, I didn't feel so good after using the bathroom.  I was weak with exhaustion, shiviring cold and felt a headache the size of Manhattan coming on.  A spot in the right, middle of my back starts to become really sore.  I immediately left the store, drove home and threw myself on the couch where I feel into a long, deep sleep.  When I woke up I felt a little better but was more ticked off that I didn't get my errands done and I certainly didn't want to be catching a "bug" right before our trip.  

I spent the rest of the day on the couch, too exhausted to do anything else.

Who knew that I would come to never forget this day...


I enjoying reading blogs...did I ever think I would start my own blog...never in a million years!  But life does funny things to you and well here I am, about to start "blogging".

What got me here??  A journey that I thought had started August 24, 2008.  But in reality, it started sometime in April or May of 1995.  Confusing I know but hang with me and it will all make sense eventually.  The title of my blog will make sense as well.  But let's not get too far ahead of myself.

So this is going to be an outlet for me to write my story.  Get my thoughts out there instead of just rambling around in that brain of mine.  I hope it will be an outlet for people to understand what I have been through.  Heaven knows that I have been misunderstood so many times.

So here it goes...