Wednesday, April 1, 2009

MRIIIII....Thought I Was Dying

It's a crass title for a post. I know it is. But that doesn't make it any less true and it somewhat explains what put a small stop in my big, flashy blog comeback. No, this is not an April Fool's Day joke.

A week and a half ago, my legs fell asleep under a table in Evanston while I was out to lunch with CVDJ. This had been happening with greater frequency since the new year but this time they never really came back. Pins and needles for the rest of the day. And night. And by Sunday, it was my arms too. My back ached but the feeling was more disconcerting than anything else. By Tuesday I was having a full battery of bloodwork at the doctor's office and the symptoms persisted. Thursday night I was chugging "berry smoothie" flavored barium for a CATscan. And then it was Friday. And I was still feeling the pins and needles along with pain in my neck and back.

Friday night I went in for an MRI of my brain and a CATscan of my "trunk." Looking. Looking for multiple sclerosis. Looking for tumors. Looking for something.

I would not consider myself a type A person. My version of "clean" is stacks. That includes dishes 6 days out of 7. Clean clothes could stay in the laundry basket for a week.

The one area of my life in which I have managed to be completely organized is my health. Vaccines, vitamins, dentists, antioxidants- I'm on it. If I'm in pain or if something is clearly "off" I am at the doctor. And I love my doctor, which helps. She knows I err on the side of hypochondriasis but maintains that "doubt can be as damaging as disease" so she listens. She's also not afraid to prescribe yoga and some Metamucil when she suspects it's stress. You're welcome for that.

Back to Friday. A lot of my symptoms added up to MS- numbness, woman of child-bearing age, limited exposure to sunlight/vitamin D deficient. This isn't a death sentence. In fact there is a pretty incredible stem cell treatment happening in Chicago but it's not a cakewalk and I was scared out of my mind. OUT of my mind. And if it's not MS than it is clearly cancer. A tumor is compressing my spine and I am dying. OUT OF MY MIND.

So I did everything they told me to so that my tests could be as accurate as possible. You have to drink the barium nastiness 24 hours ahead of the catscan which meant bringing it to work. We've had some incidences of lunch thievery at the office and I caught myself fantasizing more than once that a thief would mistake my "berry smoothie"for one of those Naked Juices. Then the whole office could get catscans and whoever had the GI tract that lit up like the Bellagio was our culprit. The 62nd floor would throw me a parade and it would end with cookie cake and chocolate milk (I couldn't eat for several hours in advance of the CT so more daydreams than usual climaxed with food).

Then Friday night arrived, I was ushered in for my MRI, I was on my own. Sweet technicians but I had no idea how LOUD those suckers are! I had to lay completely still for 30 minutes. The only break was for an IV at the 20 minute mark. Anything containing needles should not be considered a break. Unless it's acupuncture but I'll get to that later.

I did manage to keep myself entertained though. For thirty minutes I imagined they were using the radio frequency to actually watch my thoughts so I came up with the most out-there buisiness I could. And when the unicorns and 6th dimensions got old, I reverted back to Dr. Who and making whoopie. Same thing I do on a treadmill actually. I was cracking myself up and more than once had to have the stern version of my headvoice tell me to "Knock it off, kitten, you're gonna get us in trouble."

Catscan was much shorter, still with the IV. Only the IV fluid this time was special. It makes your insides warm. And my very sweet tech. was talking me through this and telling me what would happen first and how long it would last and then omgooooooodniiiight why is everything above my thighs and below my belly button so warm?!

Oh. IV fluid goes where the blood goes. My nose was still cold so I think we know where my body feels attention most appropriate. How embarrassing...blaming the MRI for that one. It did pass about a minute later. The things you learn.

In an effort to resurrect my night and cement her place in my perennial heart of hearts, Molly came to pick me up at the hospital and took me to the best Lebanese place this side of Beirut. Semiramis. BYOB, seated next to "the boys." The boys being the owner and his 3 best friends- all 50-70 year old soccer fanatics changing between English, Arabic and French. The Ethiopian waitress slapped one upside the head at one point because he apparently used a bad word in Arabic. I cannot overemphasize how much I love this place. Falafel and Shawarma Fatima salad and the fries covered in sumac with garlic paste that I would eat spoon-style, even if it meant forgoing a make-out with E. Cullen. Lucky for me, the more garlic I consume, the feistier Jaimeson gets (Greek thing) so that works out.

At the end of the night, I went to bed thinking about French pastries, Turkish coffee and funny old men who sketch restaurant patrons on the tablecloths every Friday. This is just as well because every single one of my tests came back clear as a bell. A loud bell that I am now ringing from the tops of tall buildings, of which we have many here in Chicago. Symptoms persist but potentially a pinched nerve from dancing to too much bad 90's music or a latent injury from silly shoes. I have my first acupuncture appointment on Monday and my mom comes in on Friday. I owe her a drink and we are going to the Violet Hour to get one.

Because I am not dying. I am very very very living.

*Living, but a little sad that my MRI did not apparently show 213% more genius than average. My doctor probably wouldn't tell me if it had though because she knows I'd prefer to go to Sweden and Budapest than sit in a lab explaining my genius to a bunch of scientists. Or talk about pie, whichever came out first.

** Just drop the WebMD and step slowly away from the computer if it is after 8pm.

*** Yes, I'm feeling a little cheeky but I'd like the moral of the story to be that you're your own best health advocate. Pay attention.


Laura Jansen said...

bless the gods of cupcakes, unicorns and all things wished upon all stars....this makes mama a very happy lady.

Love you!

Jonk said...

Well I never would have bugged you about the concert last week if I knew you had all this stuff going on! :-) Glad to hear things are well.

TKTC said...

LJ: Sal-style Hallelujahs all-around and you're the bee's knees- love you too and thanks for checking in...the karma, it sparkles!

Jonk: Concerts are never bad propositions but it's still true that my Momma's coming in! Also, please see above. That's Laura. She has an EP coming out that you're going to like.

kat said...

That's a hell of an ordeal -- I kept waiting for the big reveal at the end where you were BLOGGING FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. Glad everything's ok!

Allie said...

I am glad to know you are ok! I had no idea this was going on for you, I'm sorry lady! Let us know how the acupuncture goes?

TKTC said...

Kat: Right? How creepy would that be to have a blog post for "In the Event of My Death"? Weekend project? Seriously though, scared shitless. I've been celebrating a lack of tumors this week which isn't doing much for my neck pain but I'M ALIVE!!!!

Allie: I don't tend to talk about things until they come to some sort of resolution. Usually trying to distract myself or provoke said resolution. So I don't know what's happening yet but I'm really excited to try some Eastern medicine, thus avoid unnecessary meds etc.I'll report back...and don't you be forgetting to keep us updated from the ROAD!!!

Molly McGuffin said...

even though i knew bits & pieces of this as it was going on, it still made me cringe to read the post. love you!

Gros bisous :)

TKTC said...

Mols: Love you too. And I cannot believe you didn't so much as comment as to how you were linked within this post. Cause I die laughing every time. Kick up yo heels!

stacy di said...

yikes girl. glad you're ok. hope the acupuncture helps, too!

Maris said...

SO glad your tests came back OK! I had a brain MRI done recently as a precaution for something and it turned back irregular but a repeat showed that the first test was wrong, likely because I hadn't been completely still during the first test. Even so, what a scary few weeks.

And yep, those MRI machines are loud MF-ers.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

I'm embarrassingly behind on my Reader, but HOLY CATS I AM SO GLAD YOU'RE OK.

A reminder that I need to get my ass some health insurance.

And your Barium smoothie thief-catching idea made me l-o-l.