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Category Archives: panic attacks

No Joy Whatsoever

So Saturday the 4th in the evening, I got hit with a wave of exhaustion and wooziness and then weakness that left me feeling like I wasn’t able to stand long enough to even shower. Sunday morning I thought I was okay, but by 2ish, I was feeling the same again. This was more than just feeling tired, it was long past tired. It was close to how I felt the day after my surgery. Exhaustion, severe and overwhelming. Weakness like I had no muscles left after a 100 mile walk in one day. It was beyond beyond.

Monday morning I called my doctor’s office but no joy for an appointment, so Hub and I went off to a local walk-in/urgent care clinic not far from our local hospital. After 2 1/2 hours of waiting, ekg, bloodwork and pee, the doctor (who was wearing a face mask and coughing phlegmy) told me she found nothing in my tests but couldn’t rule out a stroke so I needed to go to the ER.

At 2pm, we checked into the ER and spent the next 5 1/2 hours being pushed from triage, Ekg (again), bloodwork (again), pee (again), the “main” waiting area, then to a small, isolated, windowless room with several other couples and individuals (some of which were contagious based on the fact that two of them were wearing masks–both of which then took off their masks while they were in there with us). This cramped little space is where we sat for another 90 minutes while they gave me IV fluids, while the others around us also sat getting IV treatments…along with two older people slouched over in wheelchairs (where there was no space for them) and another person slept on a chair. They finally found us a room in the ER, where the PA who saw us did a neurology physical test, said probably no stroke and they don’t want to do a CT without a real reason. So she did thyroid test (again) on the bloodwork which came back normal…as did all my blood work from both walk-in clinic and the ER lab. So she sent us home saying I should see a neurologist as a follow-up.

My doctor’s office called the next day and said, “come in so we can talk about what’s going on”, so I did on Thursday. Part way through the appointment (at 3pm), the doctor said “you’re having shortness of breath and leg pain, you need a lung ct and leg ultrasound to rule out DVT and lung blood clot”. Luckily for us, the nurse was able to hustle us an appointment at a local radiology office instead of sending us back to the ER again. Unfortunately, the nurse at my doctor’s office made an appointment for us at the location that was forty minutes away in the “city” versus the one that was ten minutes away and the same distance from our house. And she actually only made the CT appointment, not the leg ultrasound appointment. We were lucky that the person managing the location we went to fit us in for both tests within an hour…and the techs were both very nice about the situation.

The radiology place won’t tell us anything, they just fit us in for both test and sent us home at 4:30. I called my doctor at her office, who said she would call from home and get test results (bcuz her office closes at 5pm) and call me once she has them. She called at about 5:50 to say both tests were normal, for me to pick up in the inhaler she prescribed because my chest had sounded “tight” and she was thinking I might have asthma…and then I should rest, hydrate, and get back in touch if I get worse.

I’m at home, still feeling crappy and tired and weak. I’ve been eating normally, trying to drink as normal as possible, and trying to rest. Because of how badly I was feeling, I had a shitty panic attack Sunday afternoon (before the walk-in/ER visit) that I kept trying to get out of but it just kept recycling when I thought it was over.

Ten days after my appointment with my primary, I went back for a follow-up because I wasn’t feeling much better and the inhaler was giving me leg cramps. The doctor listened to my lungs and pronounced them clear, said I could stop the inhaler, and that I should go home and hydrate and rest some more. She said there’s a virus going around and that it wasn’t unusual for the main complaint to be exhaustion. And in fact, she was leaving shortly after my appointment because she was having the same symptoms I was (although she was also getting a little cough).

So I’m still home, still hydrating, still trying to eat normally, and I’m resting so much I’m tired of resting. Sadly, I’m still feeling really overtired and I have no energy for anything. It’s been a struggle for me to keep up with taking the dogs out repeatedly during the day (and I can’t leave Butthead outside alone because she eats stuff in the grass and then gets sick), and I’ve hardly been able to do more than one or two loads of laundry in a day. Going to the grocery store or to my therapy appointments leave me exhausted. Tomorrow I go for massage  therapy and I have no idea how I’m going to feel afterwards.

And through all of February, my pain has been ramped up. I can’t seem to get around it. My muscles all hurt. My stomach hurts. I’m having lots of trouble sleeping. I haven’t crocheted since January. I haven’t done much of anything since this all started…

Tonight…well, tonight Hub goes for his sleep study to see if he has sleep apnea. That means I get to go out into the dark and the cold tonight to let the dogs out before bedtime. It also means I will be sleeping alone tonight. Not a happy me!

Did I mention that Hub’s job is transitioning now that a bigger corporation bought his smaller employer? Did I also mention (can’t remember if I have) that they’re screwing around and even though we technically have health insurance with the new company we won’t actually have cards until some unknown time in mid-to-late-to-end-of March? So if we get sick or need the ER or to see a doctor or to GET OUR MAMMOGRAM we can’t. Or we pay on our own and maybe the insurance company might reimburse us later for some small portion of the amounts we paid? (*sob*) Talk about anxiety…

 

 

 

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Don’t pigeon-hole me

I had a very very bad night last night. Even before I was ready to go to sleep, I was feeling uncomfortable. My hands and arms were tingling, or feeling like they were going to be tingling, and no amount of moving them or rubbing them or moving around made it better. Hub went off to sleep, with an early morning alarm to go to an on-site meeting that required a two hour commute (each way). I sat up for a while because my right elbow started hurting. Then my left inner arm starting hurting. The tingling was still going on in both hands. I was so unhappy. I couldn’t lie down and get comfortable, so I kept sitting up in the dark (I had turned the TV off by about midnight in the hopes that I could go to sleep). I was rubbing my hands and bending my elbow repeatedly.

And I did the worst thing I could do. I thought I remembered that pain in your elbow was a symptom of a heart attack, so I looked it up. And it was…and I knew immediately I’d made a mistake by confirming that, and I turned my phone off immediately. I tried again to go to sleep but now both arms were hurting, the elbow, all the tingling, and my body was getting weary from sitting up for so long. I hadn’t slept a wink.

At one-thirty a.m., I had a panic attack in my pitch black bedroom, with my husband snoring beside me. This panic attack in particular consisted of violent trembling of all my limbs. I knew what it was and I let it come because I had hoped it would tire me out and let me give in to sleep. Instead, all the symptoms I’d had before the attack were still there…and I still couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep. So I sat up for another hour or so and ended up with a second panic attack. Same violent trembling and fear, with all my pain symptoms still hanging on afterward.

So I woke Hub up and told him I needed to call an ambulance, because I was feeling really poorly, I felt short of breath at that point, and all my other symptoms remained. While he got dressed and went to the bathroom, I pulled on some clothes and tried to get downstairs to wait for him. He called 911, requested the ambulance, then called my father so he could take care of our dogs. It was about three thirty in the morning.

I wish I could say the EMTs were kind and compassionate when they arrived, but they weren’t. The lead guy started asking me what was going on, and I told him. He immediately asked me if I had any history of anxiety…which I said I did, but that it was well-controlled most of the time. And that my symptoms had all come about prior to any feelings of anxiety. He told me to follow him to the ambulance–Hub helped me out through the garage while the EMT just walked off–and told me to get in through the side door (again, Hub helped me up the steep steps). Inside the ambulance, the EMT hooked me up to the blood pressure cuff and oxygen finger thingy, then started asking me questions again. He kept telling me that my tingling and pain could be from anxiety, and I kept telling him the tingling and pain were PRIOR to me feeling anxiety. My vitals were pretty high, so he directed me to work on my labored breathing while he filled out some chart and told me he and his partner didn’t usually work our local area. As my vitals came down a little, he announced that maybe I wanted to just go back in the house and let them go back to the station. “We’re not in the habit of kidnapping people and taking them to the hospital if they don’t want to go…”

I just stared at him. I was giving him information on “bilateral” arm pain, shortness of breath, tingling in both arms and hands…and he was telling me to go back to my house. I told him in no uncertain terms that I was very familiar with my anxiety and that this wasn’t anxiety…and that I wanted to go to the ER to find out what was going on. He kind of sighed and said, “okay, but you need to keep working on your breathing and anxiety so once the doctor sees you, they can evaluate you without the anxiety in the way.” Then during the ride to the ER, he asked me, “how many times have you done this? gone to the ER in the ambulance?” I said, “this is the first time.” All he said was, “Oh.”

WTF.

At the ER triage, he told the nurse FIRST that I had a history of anxiety. During his recitation of my history and presenting pain, he told her at least two more times that I had a “previous history of anxiety”. They took me to a room and told me to scoot from their gurney to the hospital room bed, then said, “the nurse will see you at some point.” and they left.

Hub FINALLY found me a few minutes later, without any assistance from any of the nurses or the EMTs, who were all standing around chatting at the nurses’ desk. We sat in the room and waited for about half an hour (or 45 minutes?) before the nurse and PA came in to see me at the same time. The PA started asking me questions about how I was feeling, then looked at the computer and said, “You have anxiety issues?” I said yes, but that this was not the anxiety, that I have been managing my anxiety extremely well for quite some time–the PA looked at Hub as if she was expecting him to argue with me, but he confirmed what I was saying. So the PA said, “why don’t you let us get you started on some fluids and some anxiety medication?” I said, “no, I don’t take medication for my anxiety. I manage it without medication.” The PA looked dumbfounded, and wanted to know what she was supposed to do. I told her that I was afraid the pain was symptomatic of a heart attack, and I wanted her to check to see if that’s what was going on…or if it was something else and WHAT the something else might be. The PA asked again about giving me anxiety meds, or something for the pain in my arms. I said I didn’t want pain meds (which she told me would be anxiety medication anyway), that I had anxiety medication at home but that I didn’t take it. Again, I got a look from the PA that said she was sure I had lost my mind.

At this point, the nurse stepped in and said, “oh, I do the same thing. I carry my klonipin with me all the time, but I haven’t used it in years.” The PA looked both confused and annoyed at that point.

The PA said, “I can do a whole work-up, but your history says you had an EKG in June with a stress test and that’s the GOLD STANDARD. So if it was clean, you really don’t need to do anything here.”

I told her I wanted to know what was going on, what the pain was and why was I feeling really poorly. So she said she’d order the EKG, bloodwork, heart enzymes, and a chest and neck xray to see if there was anything going on there. She left the room, and seriously? That was the last time I saw her. We were there for another two and a half hours and she never came back into the room. Neither did a doctor. The nurse took care of us, did the EKG and told Hub about thirty minutes later that an attending said it was normal. She did the blood draw and then told us about an hour later that the results were all clean. She took me to get the xray (because their orderly was MIA) and she was the one who came back to say the xray was fine and I could go home. In the time we were there, she was in and out of our room a lot, talking with us about her history of anxiety, and how people who had never dealt with it didn’t understand. That she knew what I was saying, and how I was feeling about the meds, and how she understood that I was identifying pain not associated with my anxiety.

I felt so demoralized by the EMTs, the PA, and the other staff there (not including the good nurse). I am very open and honest about my anxiety. I feel it’s important for medical personnel to know my history in full, which includes my anxiety. I’m so disappointed that doing so in this instance gave the EMTs and the PA the reasoning (in their minds) to shove me aside, to not take me seriously, and to abandon my care.

We were released from the hospital and got home around six forty-five in the morning. Hub had to bow out of his meetings, he retrieved the dogs from my father’s house, and we both went back to bed. I slept for about two hours, then dozed fitfully for a little while after that. When I woke up and went downstairs to have some lunch, I found that I still had all the same symptoms as the night before. The tingling comes and goes–and is in my legs and feet and sometimes in my face–my back is hurting, I’ve had a headache on and off. I don’t know what’s going on.

Hub reminded me today that fall is usually when I get a pretty bad flare of my myofascial pain syndrome. So is that what this is? The pain is in different places and the tingling is new. Of course I know that my MPS symptoms have changed over the 15 years I’ve had it, but this all feels different. I don’t know why I feel that way, but I do.

Even so, I have no idea what to do now except push through and try to keep my anxiety in check. I am scheduled to go in to see my massage therapist tomorrow to try to get some trigger point work in, with the hopes that it will relieve some of the pain if it is in fact related to my MPS.

The panic attacks don’t feel like a huge setback (a small one, yes), mostly because I knew what was going on and I actually welcomed them with the hopes that just going through it would give me relief on the other side. Almost like if I gave it permission to happen, then I was okay with it happening.

Now…I’m tired. I hope I will sleep. Hub is working from home tomorrow for most of the day, I have the massage therapist, then I’ll be alone for a bit while Hub is visiting a client. Well, the dogs will be with  me and my father is nearby, but I’ll have to take care of the dogs and feed them and stuff on my own. Hopefully I’ll feel up to it.

 

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1 degree of madness

This recovery has not gone well at all.

The surgeon told my husband and mother in the hospital (while I was in post-op recovery) that the surgery went “perfectly” — it only took 30 minutes versus 90 and I lost no blood.

When I woke in recovery, I felt awful and dizzy and nauseated. They moved me to a cube where my husband and mother were waiting, but I couldn’t open my eyes and there was some kind of goo all over my face (forehead, cheeks, nose–which later I was told was from the tape from the breathing tube, but I didn’t have that issue last time). I was so dizzy that I couldn’t open my eyes. I hurt all over. I stayed in the hospital longer this time than the last time. They took me into surgery early (like 8:30am) but we didn’t leave until 5pm. That was over an hour more in recovery this time.

On the way out, the nurse handed over prescriptions. We were both horrified to see the surgeon was sending me home with injectable blood thinner. I had to inject myself in the stomach once a day subQ for fourteen days. I HATE NEEDLES and Hub is so terrified of needles that when he has to have his blood taken for testing, he has to go to a specific lab that has a gurney because he has to lay down because he has passed out in the past. Hub tried to get the injections from the hospital pharmacy so the nurse could demonstrate the first injection, but when he got there they were closing. FUCK.

So we came home and he went back out to put the prescriptions in. The prescription said to start the shot the next day, so I tried desperately to ignore the thought. First night, Hub helped me clean the area with alcohol and I gave myself a shot while he was looking in the other direction. The shit burns…for like 20 minutes afterward. It’s bad. I hate it. I have four more to go.

Saturday night I went to give myself a second shot, but I was really cold. But my face was so hot. So I gave myself the shot, Hub gave me an ice pack for my face, and then he put a blanket over me because I was shivering uncontrollably. And then I had a full-on anxiety attack. I was lying prone on the bed, head covered with the ice pack and a towel, body covered with a blanket, feet up on a pillow, crying and shivering and it was terrible. TERRIBLE. Overnight that night, I was SO HOT. I was sure it was from the surgical menopause. I didn’t sleep, I sat up all night feeling hot and sweaty and miserable. The next day, Sunday, I was pretty miserable. I was able to do my shot that night without another anxiety attack, but I was so hot all the time. I finally started taking my temperature when I couldn’t sleep again. I have 3 thermometers… two oral and an ear one. Two of them were new because I thought my old thermometer wasn’t working right so before this surgery I ordered a new oral and decided to try the ear one. By 1am, all three were reading 101 or over. The surgeon said if I had fever over 101 to seek attention. I woke Hub and we had a long conversation about what to do…ER, walk-in clinic, wait for the morning. He HATES the ER because no matter when we’ve gone, it’s always been mobbed and we end up having to wait forever to get out of the waiting room. It’s a terrible process there…they always seem overcrowded and understaffed. Our choices were limited and I was so freaked out about the fever, that we headed out, leaving the dogs alone in the house because I didn’t want to wake my parents and scare them if we could get in and out at the walk-in clinic. So at 1am Monday morning we headed out, but the walk-in clinic was locked up and closed down, even though the hours showed them as being open.

So at 1:50am, I checked in at our local ER. My temperature on their unit was 100.8 and my pulse was high. I felt like I was burning up. The triage nurse offered me ibuprofen or tylenol but I said no because I had just seen the terrible new report on NSAIDs and heart issues (also the reason why I’ve taken NO pain killers after this surgery). So we sat in the ER while I was hot and cold, waiting for someone to call my name. They took me back for blood and urine and an IV, then sent me back to the waiting room. By about 4:30am, when the triage nurse came to take my temp again and it showed 101.3, I took the tylenol. It was another hour plus before they took us back to a cube. The nurse came in about half an hour later and took my vitals again…the fever went down somewhat and my BP was low. About twenty minutes later, the PA came in and said my bloodwork indicated an infection…probably a UTI. She did a physical, then decided to send me for a CT (with IV contrast) to make sure I had no abscesses from the surgery. Went for CT after giving more pee for a culture (which the next day came back inconclusive), then waited around for IV antibiotics. CT was negative, so they gave me the IV antibiotics and by 8:30am they sent us home with a week of oral antibiotics. Hub and I both went home and straight to bed. He slept

For two days I suffered with the fever, taking tylenol every six hours to keep it below 100 degrees. I’ve never had a UTI before, so I had no idea about the symptoms, even though the PA asked me and the surgeon’s office asked me (when I called to report in Monday afternoon). I thought I was just recovering from surgery and the pain was from that. I thought the fever I had was just hot flashes and night sweats. I just had no idea.

Did I mention also that my baby tooth and the surrounding gum has been irritated since surgery? Even though I told them about the tooth, I think he bonked it. And I don’t have the energy (or the immunity & stamina) to go to the dentist and have them rip it out. Plus, I’m on blood thinners, still, so I suspect going in to have the tooth removed right now is probably not a good idea.

I’ve been SO tired during all this. I assume it’s not just the (second) surgery, but also recovering from the infection. And also the antibiotics are making me nauseated 24/7. I get out of bed and within an hour or two, I can barely keep my eyes open. Then the rest of the day I’m struggling between trying to rest and being exhausted. I am not moving around nearly as much as I did after the first surgery, so despite the fact that I DESPISE the injectable blood thinner, at least it has helped my anxiety somewhat about the blood clots.

I’m also struggling from nightmares about the cancer and tomorrow’s follow-up appointment with the surgeon. I know he’ll have the pathology report, which will set me forward to the next step in this journey. At the very least, I made it through yesterday (Sunday) without a telephone call from him (which is how I heard about the cancer initially, with a phone call from him on a Sunday during lunchtime). It was harder than I thought to go through the day yesterday, as every time the phone rang, I was sure it was going to be the surgeon with bad news…

It has amazed me at how I could tell the different between 98.6 on my thermometer and 99.1. I can feel the heat start, I can feel the chills start. It’s not even a full degree difference, and yet I could tell when it was time to check my temp and take more tylenol. It’s the same with the house thermostat…there’s a major difference for me with 1 degree whether it’s the heat or the a/c. Is everyone else so sensitive? (this was the reason behind the title of the blog post, so I figured I’d better explain the non-sequitur.)

 

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For the birds

***Anxiety attack trigger warning***

This is for the birds. FOR THE BIRDS.

My anxiety is ramped up at the moment. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m mega-worried about a blood clot. I’ve got pain in my legs which I’m pretty sure are muscle pains, but still…

I’ve also got pains in my back, up behind the rib area. I’m afraid of what that is. It could be muscular as well…I suck at taking care of my back so I often have back pains and upper back/shoulder pains. I’m trying to keep it in check, but the more I’m sitting here (with these blasted PVCs), the more anxious I’m starting to feel. I’ve got a pain on that same side in my upper arm area (both of these are on the left side). I feel myself falling into the anxiety. The breathing is not easy…it’s tight and anxious. I wanted to shower but I can’t force myself to do it. I’m frozen in place, feeling the distress in my body. I’m rocking my upper body forward and back, which is a definite anxiety posture for me.

My arm hurts. My back hurts. My abdomen hurts. My legs (thighs AND calves) hurt. I can feel myself clenching my jaw so my head hurts. I have a closed feeling in my throat. The light is starting to bother my eyes. My PVCs are making me cough, which hurts my stomach. I feel warm on my face.

I feel like I’m crumbling apart.

There is no happy ending to this post. I’m not writing it to show how well I was able to handle this. I’m writing it because I’m hurting and I have nowhere else to turn. And it sucks.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in anxiety, panic attacks, PVCs

 

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Um, ow.

Okay, so I made it through all the medications and such. And I got to the gyno office, where I waited. And waited. And got moved to another waiting room to wait. And went into an exam room to get vitals, then back to the waiting. Then FINALLY into the procedure room, where I got to wait some more.

But the nurse was nice, and after being told what would happen, I told HER what might happen. About my anxiety and my potential for panic attack and/or bursting into tears. AND that my leg muscles aren’t great, so as such…the candy cane stirrups. I didn’t realize the actual position it would put me in, and that hurt my hips A LOT.

Also, apparently warm speculums are not a happy thing for me. That actually hurt like a burn.

I’m really tired and sore and achy. I am going to shower and get into bed. I’m moderately hopeful I’ll be okay tomorrow, because my mother goes for a 2nd opinion and I want to go with her.

More in another post when I’m feeling better. But I wanted people to know that I made it through, no panic attack. Moderate pain during the procedure, but it could have been worse. Thanks to those were thinking of me.

 

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Decide to stop

I wish I could. I wish I could just decide to stop worrying. If I could even just decide to stop worrying about ONE THING. I wish I could.

I’m nauseous a lot these days. I thought it was the hormones that did it, but the pills are over with and so is my cycle. Why am I still nauseous? My stomach is less than happy, but that’s not terribly new for me. Today I’m sitting here waiting for Hub to come downstairs to lunch and I get jaw pain. I feel nauseous and I get jaw pain. Past couple of days my arm has been bothering me. My left arm. So we all know what those things mean, right? My heart. There’s got to be something wrong with my heart. I’ve been to the cardiologist, and he’s told me he sees nothing wrong (other than these fucking PVCs). It’s a recent visit, so what could have changed between then and now. Not much, I suspect. But still, my health anxiety ramped right up like it was never gone. Not that it was GONE, just that I’ve worked really hard to try to deal with it. I haven’t yet worked myself into full panic mode here, but that doesn’t mean feeling the way I’m feeling now is easy. It sucks.

I have this imbalance issue. If anyone has ever been on a boat and then when you get back onto land, you feel like you’re still on the boat. The ground under you feels like it’s moving and uneven. You walk like you’re drunk sometimes. For most people, their balance system readjusts soon after being on land (soon ranges in length of time, but for most people their system DOES readjust). For me, I had no boat ride, I just got the imbalance. It never really goes away, but sometimes it’s less noticeable than others. And sometimes it’s way more noticeable. Since the hormone jump, I’ve been dealing with it daily, walking down hallways and holding onto the walls. Always touching something nearby to ground myself from falling over. I don’t usually fall, but it often feels like I’m going to. It also makes me feel weak and out of control of my body. It’s not fun. This isn’t a health anxiety thing…I know what this is (or at least what the doctors tell me it is) and I’ve lived with it for 15 years. But like I said, sometimes it’s way less noticeable. Right now, very noticeable. It affects a lot of what I do and how I do it. This is really part of the reason I stopped driving, for fear that this imbalance turns into vertigo (which it has a couple of times) and for fear that the imbalance will affect my ability to react while I’m behind the wheel. I have driven the past couple of weeks, but not much. I would really hate to lose that accomplishment.

I feel like I’ve fallen backwards, both in how I feel physically as well as mentally. I know how clearly one is connected to the other. It’s easier to feel good mentally when you feel good physically. My challenge is how to disconnect the two and learn to feel good mentally even when my body doesn’t play along.

Does anyone else rock forward and back when they feel anxious? Or jitter their leg(s)? I have always rocked to try to distract myself from the anxiety. The leg jitter? That’s more to get the excess energy out, I think. I’ve been doing both more often, which is another sign that my health anxiety is getting the best of me.

Why do I worry so much about my heart? My parents and maternal grandparents have (had) no heart issues. My father’s parents both died of heart problems, but it was either when I was very young (too young to understand) or before I was born. I don’t know why the focus is there. I’ve always been overweight and I wonder often if I feel like I’m punishing myself for being overweight by worrying about my heart. Like being fat equals dying of a heart attack. I don’t know. I wish I could figure out how to forgive myself for being fat to see if that would help me let go of the health anxiety. But again, that’s something I am working on…

 

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Boob mapping (ultrasound)

Follow-up to my Boob Squish post.

I had my pelvic ultrasound this morning (which got rescheduled because we had icy weather). The CRNP tried to call me this afternoon, but I was at my breast ultrasound. By the time I got home the office was closed. The tech confirmed the big fibroid (not surprising) and a thickened uterine lining (also not surprising considering my history). She did confirm that no impingement on my kidneys or anything, so that was good. The question is, what does the CRNP want to do next. No clue.

I went out to the Boob Mapping this afternoon. Once again, I had to sit around and wait for my appointment. At least it was only 20 minutes this time, in comparison to almost 45 minutes last time. The tech had me change into the gown and she took me into the ultrasound room. When she was setting me up, I asked her if she had a roadmap for where she wanted to go and she said YEP. But that was pretty much all the small talk I got. And because of the location of the machine and how I was lying on the gurney, I couldn’t see a damn thing on the screen. She concentrated on a couple of places on each side of each breast, goop going everywhere. Then she handed me a small towel, told me I could “clean up” and said, “You can lay there or sit there or whatever. Be back!” and she left the room.

If you are reading this and you are a radiology tech…take the extra minute to explain WTF is going on. I had no idea where she went or why, or how long she’d be gone. I was left sitting in this tiny, stifling, darkened room. Alone. With a blank machine and only my imagination. I finally realized on my own that they must have been having a doctor review the ultrasound. But I had no idea how long that was supposed to take. Why were they taking so long? Why was no one telling me what was happening? Was a doctor going to talk to me? If a doctor came into the room with the tech was that good or bad? Seriously, one extra minute of the tech’s time would have given me 10 minutes of less stress if I had understood what was happening. I tried to do deep breathing but the room was so small and so stuffy that I couldn’t do it.

Finally, the door opened and the tech came in with another person, who introduced himself as a doctor. Was that good or bad that he came in? Routine? Bad news? WHAT?! I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my throat and I wanted to scream. If the tech had told me this was routine, I might have heard everything that was said, you know?

Luckily, the doctor explained that one side of one breast was denser than the other breast, which was the reason for the ultrasound on that side. They found nothing concerning. The reason for the ultrasound on the other side was that the mammo picked up something and they wanted to see it better. He said between the mammo and the ultrasound, they feel strongly that it is a cyst (fluid-filled, he said — I said I seemed prone to cysts, since I have a long history of sebaceous cysts…he seemed uninterested). Benign. Nothing to worry about. Everything looks clear, he said. He asked my age, asked if this was my first mammo, and then told me they’d see me in a year. Nothing to follow-up on before then. He smiled and told me to have a good evening. I thanked him and tried not to be to profuse about it. The tech directed me back to the dressing room and told me to have a good day. I rushed to get dressed and went out to find Hub. I told him all seemed clear.

Then when we got home I had the voice mail from the CRNP at the gyno. Since it was from 3pm, I knew it wasn’t about my breast ultrasound because I hadn’t even been called back at that point. She only told me to call back, no other clue.

In the meantime, last night, I slept NOT AT ALL. I had a small panic attack, mostly because I felt like my heart was going too fast and was too loud. I couldn’t lie down. I couldn’t rest. I tried really hard to meditate with deep breathing, which I feel like I was actually able to do. But as soon as I stopped breathing and tried to lie down to go to sleep, my heart started pounding again. I started worrying that I was having an arrhythmia, because I felt like my heart wouldn’t slow down. So I had to be up at 6:30 this morning to get ready for my first test, and by 5am I was still awake. I dozed off for about an hour, then was awake. At 6:30 the doctor’s office called to reschedule my first test because of the icy roads. I dozed again from about 7-8am, then I was awake. It was a sucky night and I feel exhausted. I hope to make tonight a better night.

Tomorrow it’s my brother’s colonoscopy and my father’s acupuncture appointment.

 

 

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