Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ketchup Anyone???

Ah, last semester was probably the most fun I have had in terms of playing "catch-up". By that I mean I am still trying to finish assignments to absolve my incompletes. With that said you may now understand my severe dismay at the discovery that I will have to miss more classes due to future doctors appointments and tests. Unfortunately, these appointments HAVE to be with my doctors back home (which is in Austin-2
hours away from my dear Trinity University campus for those that do not know). This means not only do I miss classes for the times I am physically in the appointments, but the travel time to get there and back as well. I really have not many words to describe how completely overwhelmed and worried for my success this makes me feel except: SERIOUSLY?!?!? I mean missing a few weeks for swine flu and a kidney infection last semester were understandable, but this is just ridiculous. The worst part is that the reason I will keep having so many appointments is that they have yet to figure out what is wrong with me. Remember those pesky little nodules they found on my Thyroid? Well, I went to the Endocrinologist over spring break and she did a physical exam and said that she felt a growth much bigger than the 1cm one the last ultrasound I had on my Thyroid back in January found. Oh, Joy ;).

This makes about the 100Th doctor/specialist I have seen in the past few years. You see because this is not the first year of my academic career I have had to play the oh so fun game of catch-up. Just to give you some background as to why I am ever so exhausted with always having to do make-up work: December 7Th of my junior year in high school I and four of my friends were in a roll over car accident. Thankfully we were all relatively okay considering. Unfortunately, I had the worst of injuries between the five of us. I missed about 2-3 months of the spring semester of that year to deal with diagnosis/recovery from a mysterious back injury. I say mysterious because like this silly little Thyroid issue, it took them many months and multiple doctors to try and find out what exactly I had injured and how to help recuperate from it. To this day they still have only assumptions (probably I twisted and stretched my spinal cord and irritated the nerves to a severe extent- along with squishing a disk in my middle back and sever concussion) and I have accepted the fact that I will just have to live with some degree of this injury for the rest of my life. Long story short, it took lots of hard work and outside of school time to complete my junior year of high school, but I finally did. It was such a good feeling to have it out of the way and I was so thankful to not be behind anymore.

Unfortunately, last fall I was crushed to have to accept the fact of falling behind again. Furthermore, all of the recent issues I have been having just make me want to scream out of exhaustion( not that I am dramatic at all ;)).

So, if anyone out there has tips or words of encouragement on how to deal with this seemingly never ending cycle, I could really use them right now. Usually, I am the one who has it all together, but I feel that certain circumstances-especially ones that include the possibility of many different diseases such as cancer( yes, I have tried to ignore this possibility, but what with the appearance of growth in my nodules I can't help but to worry)-call for a little lack of control on my part.

But alas, I feel it is time to end this marathon of a blog post. The following are the upcoming events regarding my masochistic immune system (It really never can seem to stop attacking itself, can it?):
This Friday ( marking the 235452Nd day of classes I will have missed this semester) I have an appointment to get another ultrasound of what my best friend affectionately calls "little thyroid" ( a pun on the fact that it is an ultrasound which are, as I am sure you know, usually associated with babies ). This is so that they can tell if it has indeed grown enough for them to be able to do a biopsy of it. Personally I am tired of waiting. I just wish they knew what it was now, so that I could start to fix it :(. Along with this I still have been having my persistent sore throat, which is such a joy. Also, a fun new symptom seems to have appeared (I am beginning to think either I am going crazy or becoming a frustration-induced hypochondriac) which has to do with my breathing. It feels like a less extreme version of the feeling of trying to breath through a straw. You know, still getting air into your lungs, but you can just feel it is not enough.

Ah, fun times. Until next time, Oh Healthy Ones!

p.s. Just a disclaimer: I realize that things could be worse- I just feel the need to express how completely and utterly exhausted I am from being sick so often as a way to vent, so I can deal more effectively with life. So, I am most certainly not trying to disregard the suffering of people worse off than me. This is simply an account of one masochistic immune system and how it causes its owner to interact with the world :).

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oh Thyroid, Why Do You Continue to Vex Me So???

So, unfortunately our countdown has ended and I am once again sick. I have had a pretty bad soar throat since about last Wednesday. The most fun part is that there are little white pockets on my this was alarming to my doctor as well.

~And to the right is my interpretation of what my Thyroid gland looks like
(and I just thought the thermometer added to the picture)~
As a side note, I have since told a few new people of my multiplying maladies and their reactions were pretty much as follows: " Wow, I am so sorry.. but wait what???"- "You had ALL of those?!?!"and my personal favorite " Hahahahahahahahahahaha... that is pretty much ridiculous. I mean-I am sorry, but woo..."
So, you are not the only one alarmed by my knack for getting every illness known to man I assure you. Personally I see a bit of smallpox and yellow fever in my future... I never did get all of those silly vaccines they tell us we need.

And now for the update(drum roll, please!!): I went to the doctor and found that one of the 3 nodules on my Thyroid ( the white dot on the far right on the red Thyroid interpretation above) is solid and that is apparently troublesome. And this means??? I have to go to yet again another doctor(!!!!). This time it will be an Endocrinologist, who specializes in things such as thyroid/hormonal imbalance issues. He/she will be able to tell me if I'll need to go in for a biopsy( scary :/) or just keep the nodules closely monitored.

Lastly, I go back to my above mentioned sore throat. My primary doctor was, as I said, alarmed by the appearance of my throat and thus ordered tests to check to see if I have strep. Yay!! That sounds fun ;).

Ah, the list just goes on and on...Well, I shall keep you updated in the misadventures of my nodules and their unfortunate..."solidarity". Haha, I am tired and I hope that pun makes sense to someone else besides just myself.
Until we meet again, Oh Healthy Ones!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Welcome to the Club!!!

The above may look like a seemingly normal neck, with no abnormalities. Aha! But looks can be deceiving. You see, yes it has been now about 3 weeks ( YAY!!!) since my last obvious illness, but I have a new medical discovery to report on:

Remember that thyroid ultrasound I went to about a week ago? Well, unfortunately they found something. It appears my thyroid glands are not normal and in fact look more like the picture below on the inside. There are several of those little white growths on my thyroids called "nodules'.

So, it appears that I have now joined what my friends and I more affectionately call these types of issues- "The Screwed Up Thyroid Club". Yay, I love clubs ;).
As it turns out that can mean a myriad of things, ranging in severity. *MEDICAL LESSON ALERT!!* So, to begin thyroid nodules can cause, but are not limited to: hyperthyroidism( where my body produces too much of the thyroid hormone), hypothyroidism( my body produces too little of the thyroid hormone), a combination of the two, Thyroiditis, or in about 5% of the cases Thyroid Cancer. It scares me to even put that there. I am trying to go with the " that is such a small possibility that it is probably not true" angle. :). But, it is helpful to have an answer for all of my previously seen as random symptoms: weird weight fluctuations, intolerance to heat, digestive issues, constant soar throat, very dry skin.. etc. So, I am trying to remain calm and collective about this news, but I will not really know anything until next month when I go back for a second ultrasound. I assume it is because they want to check on the growth of the nodules. As, WebMD tells me, growing is a BAD sign.

On the bright side, I have been so busy with school lately that I haven't had much time to freak out-though I am normally a pretty collected person anyways. Who would have thought I would be thankful for the distraction of homework? ;) Plus, Trinity campus life is so full of things to do to distract yourself. I have never been more thankful for the close proximity of my friends here and all of the random fun and adventures we can go on around campus to pass the time . Monopoly until 4 in the morning, dance nights that start in disaster but end in great amusement, and of course the chocolate festival. Oh and work :). Basically I am glad to have distractions for once in my life!
I shall keep you posted on the adventures of my screwed up Thyroid. Until we meet again, Oh Healthy Ones!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Updates for all!!!

-I feel as if my immune system is saying
a similar thing to me every time I get sick...

Countdown begins: it has been approximately two weeks since my last cold/known illness!!!! Yay! Now, let's go for 3 weeks!
Unfortunately, I do have an update on the health situation as whole. First, to recap: I have an impeccable ability to get sick way more times than the average bear. Up until recently my mother (who has stuck with me through every cold, flu, and infection as only a mom can) and I have just been blaming my constant fatigue and weakened immune system on my anemia. Which for those of you who do not know is in my case a significant iron deficiency in my blood. Anyways, anemia can often cause some of the other more bizarre symptoms that have been impacting my ability to live a normal college life as well. However, in December I went to my doctor to check up on my iron levels and to get a series of blood tests done when she suggested they test for possible thyroid issues after discovering (on top of my other complaints) I had inflamed lymph nodes. While the blood tests came back normal, my doctor was still concerned. So, to conclude on this little information session: this Monday I am going home for the morning to get an ultrasound to check on my thyroid. Wish me luck!
On the one hand I would really not like to have another issue to deal with on top of classes, work-study, financial strain, and just college life in general but it would be nice to have an explanation for my persistent health issues. So, I am anxious, yet trying not to get my hopes up that they will find an explanation for my Masochistic Immune System ( see the title reference I made there :)).
Ah, but for now I continue on my quest to stay healthy and be a studious college student here at Trinity by trying not to stay up past 1 tonight- meaning I need to get back to my homework. Until next time, Oh Healthy Ones!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Masochism at Play

At the start each of our college careers we are warned excessively about the importance of protecting ourselves from the germs in our new environment. As always, signs are posted around campus warning us to wash our hands, cover our coughs, and-most importantly this year it seems-to see a doctor at the first sign of flu-like symptoms. Unfortunately, as goodhearted as these warnings are they are not always enough. I must take a moment here to explain that while I try hard to follow these rules, still I am not the most healthy of 19 year olds. I rarely work out, aside from walking up and down the hill to class, I sleep deprive myself like most college students and as a female am ridiculously addicted to chocolate( mainly of the dark variety)and many other sweets.

Now, I know I cannot be the only person in the world who has these and other unhealthy habits. However, I am convinced that I am the only person capable of getting sick every two weeks on the mark. You see, the previous school semester (coincidentally my first college semester) I had the following illnesses: stomach bug, cold (eh, no biggie, right?), flu- which was actually the swine flu (I got you interested with that one,yes?), respiratory infection-a.k.a. a cough that lasted FOREVER, I'm sure there was another cold about this time, and a kidney infection during finals. In a period of about 4 months, that is approximately every two weeks that I was sick. Oh, wait I am not done. Think this sounds ridiculous enough yet? Well, I just recently got some blood work done and found out I have the Epstein-Barr virus. For those of you that don't know, this virus is more affectionately know as Mononucleosis- or Mono. It is inactive at the moment, but the doctor tells me I had it last semester for sure. I found myself laughing at the the absurdity of it all- I mean what are the odds of getting sick that many times and with that many major infections? While the flu, a kidney infection, and Mono are not the worst infections to get, they are all of the variety to greatly fatigue you and thus make college living slightly more complicated (or as I take it at this point: slightly more comical to look back on).

So, for the following semester I have these quandaries: Can I make it a whole two weeks without getting sick? Will I make it the whole semester without any other major infections to add to my repertoire? Or will my seemingly masochistic immune system get the better of me? Regardless, I invite you to enjoy the absurdities of my life as I live among the healthier kind.