fajrdrako: ([Pirate])


I went to the doctor today - not my regular doctor, but the specialist she referred me to, who is looking into whether I really have Sjogren's Syndrome.

First I had to fill out a form with many questions on it; whether I'd ever had a stroke or liver disease, whether I smoked, that sort of thing. Then when I was in the office with this doctor, first consultation, she's asking me for the details regarding my answers. And she looks at my joints. She noticed that my right hand is bigger than my left - and in all of my life, I don't think anyone has ever mentioned that before. Often people notice how much smaller my left wrist is, but not the hand itself.

I explained that my left side in general is smaller than my right, from having had scleroderma as a kid. Scleroderma hadn't been on the 'tick-off' list. And she was right onto it, asking questions about when the onset had been and who my doctors back then had been, and what treatment they'd given me, and I was trying to remember, as best I can, because 'onset' occurred when I was four years old. A bit hard to remember, and at the time, I don't think the grown-ups told me everything. I remembered some of my doctors' names. I knew what the treatment was, no problem remembering that: none, because there is no treatment. They rubbed my skin with vitamin E. Maybe that did the trick.

She looked at my scars and said I had 'coup de sabra' scleroderma. She'd read about it in the case studies, but she'd never seen anyone who had it.

"That means sabre-cut," I said, and she agreed. That hit every romantic notion in my body. Swords! Pirates! Swashbuckling! Okay, okay, that's only a personal quirk and it's just a name for a disease, but hey... if I have to have a weird disease, I like having one named after slashing swordplay. It's so colourful it's poetic.

She asked me if I missed a lot of school as a kid because of being sick, and I confessed I did. And she described my symptoms, and asked if she was right, and she was. She asked me also if I'd had rashes, and I had to think a bit, but yes, I remember having horrible hives sometimes - not a memory I really want to dredge up. I never associated it with the scleroderma. I suspect it was before I got diagnosed.

This is the first time any doctor has paid any attention to the scleroderma since my scars stopped spreading, when I was about eight. I think it's because they don't know what to do about it, and so don't know what to say; and because they think it was a misdiagnosis, because I survived. I have the scars to prove I had it, scars aplenty, and no one has ever come up with a better suggestion as to the cause.

So now I have to get blood-work done (what else is new?) and I have another appointment next month.

Coup de sabra. Hot damn.

Teeth...

Aug. 9th, 2012 10:06 pm
fajrdrako: (Default)


I went to the dentist today. I'd been fearing and dreading and needing this ever since I'd been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome; and the last time I saw my dentist, he mentioned my dry mouth, and gave me advice about it.

That was a year ago.

Now my condition is worse and my teeth are worse, and my anxiety about both was bothering me. Which meant it was necessary to face the problem and deal with it, sooner rather than later. ("Deal with it" includes somehow paying the dental bills.)

In an hour of treatment, and Dr. Barnes fixed the teeth that were actually bothering me, and his sympathetic Oh, no! when I told him about the Sjogren's was balm to my worried soul. He said he thinks autoimmune diseases are on the rise because of all the chemicals we ingest and interact with. I could only agree, as well as one can agree with a mouth full of someone else's fingers and instruments and tooth-fixing compounds.

His advice: sip water as often as possible, don't rinse the toothpaste out after brushing, and use dental tape instead of dental floss.

Right.

I have a follow-up appointment on Monday, and knowing it's there does a lot for my peace of mind.

Monday...

Jul. 30th, 2012 10:01 pm
fajrdrako: (Default)


A satisfying day - a really satisfying day, the first in a long time. I seem to be calming down with the Sjogren's Syndrome - maybe because my pills are working, maybe because the symptoms are abating, maybe because I'm just getting used to the idea of this thing. Anyway: good day.

  • Went to the medical lab at 8 a.m. for more blood work - I got a phone call from my doctor on Friday to say something else was wrong with my blood. She didn't say what, but the requisition slip that I picked up on Saturday said to check TSH (thryroid, right?) and vitamin B12, and CBC -
    "complete blood count", with [livejournal.com profile] maaseru tells me they always ask for.

    Once again, the lab was empty, much to the amazement of both staff and the few other patients who were there - they concluded it was because everyone was on holiday. It took a relay of two different nurses before they got any blood out of me.

  • Then Lynne and I went for a walk along the canal. It was a beautiful morning, but rapidly getting hot. I think all the grass in the city has died.

  • Brunched with [livejournal.com profile] maaseru at Zeller's, and went with her to various places for various tests on her car that have to do with renewing her license. The car is doing fine, which cheered her up no end.

  • Went to my gym for my 60th workout since May 1.

  • Helped [livejournal.com profile] maaseru at her place for a bit, and then did a large decluttering job on my bedroom, including getting rid of some furniture. Found a few old treasures - like my notes on the talk given by Dorothy Dunnett at the gathering in Edinburgh in 2000. While working on the room I listened to the audiobook of A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold.

  • Had supper at Pim's place: sushi. I was a little nervous about trying to eat the rice, and it was mildly difficult, but the supper was good. Her guinea pigs are adorable.

  • Pim sent me the link to this item on hunky Olympic athletes, which also did a lot to cheer me up. Especially the fencers.

  • Finally, got to sit back and read. Aaaah.


fajrdrako: (Default)

I went to see my doctor yesterday. She diagnosed me as having Sjogren's Syndrome.

If I'd ever heard of that, I'd paid no attention.

But something that started to be a nuisance a couple of years ago had become an annoyance, and in the past few weeks had become a real problem. Which is what drove me to the doctor.

Putting a name to it: why should that make a difference? Does that make it any more difficult to deal with? Any more serious? Why does this bother me?

Wikipedia says it's "the second most common autoimmune rheumatic disease" and most people who get it are women in my age group. So I'm hardly the only one. Autoimmune diseases seem to be my specialty. I didn't want to add another one to the list.

But I notice the Wikipedia line: "Sjögren's syndrome can exist as a disorder in its own right (primary Sjögren's syndrome) or may develop years after the onset of an associated rheumatic disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma..." Bingo. Scleroderma. Okay: I beat the scleroderma; this might recede too.

On the other hand, it means I'm probably not really allergic to wheat or fruit; it's just that they trigger problems related to the xerostomia. That's my new word of the week. Dry mouth. What happens when you can't get enough saliva.

So far it's been $200 for pills which may or may not work, and I can't afford that indefinitely.
I either have to find a job, or alternative remedies.

Has anyone here had this problem? How did you deal with it?

fajrdrako: (Default)


The event of the day was going to the General Hospital for my annual encounter with Dr. Pollock, who put my elbow together eighteen months ago. It was x-rayed again today, because, said the nurse, there was a 'fragment' a year ago and they wanted to check it. She was gone before I could ask: a fragment of what? Where?

My elbow looks like this:



The (other) nurse agreed that the scar was a work of art, and the Doctor was totally chuffed at its state. "I never thought you'd have that range of motion," he said. He took photos of me with my arms straight (well, as straight as the left one goes) and bent, and held out, palms up, and palms down, to go with his lectures on this type of arthroplasty. "You heal well," he said.

This made me feel a lot better. I'd had a niggling streak of guilt, thinking that maybe I'd be able to straighten my arm if only I'd put a little more time, effort, pain, whatever, into my physiotherapy. Knowing now that I have exceeded expectations, I think that probably isn't true. I did all I could.

Dr. Pollock says I will probably need surgery to replace the other part of my elbow in ten years. Or maybe not; this is uncharted territory. He said the same thing a year ago, so maybe I get an extension.

I went home. I studied French. I studied a lot of French, and did a lot of homework, and went to my class feeling tired but prepared. Well, sort of prepared. Then I wrote the exam.

Tired now.

Tuesday...

Nov. 1st, 2011 10:33 pm
fajrdrako: (Default)




  1. Fabulous first French class of level B-13 at Alliance Française. The teacher, Yrena, is the same one I had in my first course there - and this made me realize how very much I have progressed since the spring, which is enormously encouraging.

    At first I thought everyone in the class spoke much better French than I do - though two people speak with Spanish accents. Then I realized that wasn't the case; I knew the most expressions and probably had the widest vocabulary. We studied an interesting poem, La Grasse Matinée by Jacques Prévert, and discussed shopping online.

    Funny how the different teachers have different styles. Some of them put the textbook aside as much as they can, and teach by other means. Yrena goes over the textbook very closely, very carefully. It's interesting either way, from the student's point of view.

  2. The servers are down at work, so we can't print, so I couldn't finish the filing job I've been doing - since I still have to label a few hundred files. That's okay. I can do it later.

    Someone else said today how sorry she was I was leaving. Yes. Me too.

    I feel odd there now; I still love it there, but don't feel as if I belong any more. I find myself lurking in my offices, finishing up things I've been working on and interacting less.

  3. Another person at work was worrying about my cough and my still-bad chest, in motherly fashion, which I appreciated. But I think I'm getting better. I certainly feel better today - more energy, barely; more brains. I think there's some improvement. Certainly I feel much better than I did yesterday, but I think the flu shot I got contributed to that.

  4. Enjoyed working on more Dorothy Dunnett notes, on the chapter of The Game of Kings, "Blindfold Play" - the chapter where Lymond meets Christian Stewart. And I love the way that chapter ends, after Lymond has called Christian Shahrazad:

      Halfway back to Boghall, Simon spoke. "Who's Shahrazad?"

      "A farsighted lady who kept the Shah on a leading rein by telling him stories."

      Pause. "I don't see the connection," said Sym.

      "Oh, don't be a fool!" said Christian irrtably. "There isn't any."


fajrdrako: (Default)




I went to my doctor today, to see what she'd have to say about the infected cut on my hand, and to ask her why the incision from my gall bladder surgery suddenly started bleeding on Sunday.

It's like playing Doctor Roulette. My regular doctor, Dr. Griffiths, is on medical leave. Her replacement, Dr. Laughton, is on holiday. So I got Dr. O'Connor this time, whom I'd never met before, but whom I liked very much. She too used to faint a lot as a teenager. We commisserated and swapped "embarrassing times I have fainted in public" stories.

She looked at the mini-wound on my hand and said, "Are you sure that is a paper cut? It's the strangest paper cut I ever saw." I explained how the edge of the poster had scooped out a little half-sphere of skin. he lanced the abscess, said I probably don't need antibiotics - that's a relief, because I can't afford them right now. She examined my no-longer-bleeding incision and said it was fine, it's just that the scar tissue is still tender and I should scrub it gently when I shower. Okay. Fine by me.

Then I left the book I was reading behind in the waiting room. Luckily, it's not out of my way, to go back and get it tomorrow.

fajrdrako: (Default)




A little wobbly and very tired, but home. And no longer tethered to that IV!

fajrdrako: (Default)




What should a person do for a gall bladder attack?

It started about 3 a.m., and it won't go away. I looked online and found a site suggesting drinking apple cider vinegar in apple juice, so I did. It didn't help. Tried acetamnaphen, and the pain's still there.

I was going to work today, and make money. Or, if not that, get things done at home. No dice. I can't bring myself to eat anything, either.

And the pain makes me grumpy.

I'll be goind for medical tests in August, but that doesn't help me now.

Any suggestions?

fajrdrako: (Default)




Since I've had hours cut at my main job, CCA, I've been working elsewhere when I can, and today I was slated to work at Computertamers. Which I like. Where my boss, Sheila, is a friend.

So this morning her masseuse, Megan, came over to give her a massage. While she does such things, or meets clients, I carry on with her office work. Since her husband wasn't having a massage (being on the golf course, despite the heat) I was offered his massage-time for a mere $30. Of course I went for it.

I started out on cushions, like Sheila, but it wasn't very comfortable. For my added comfort, Megan got a special frame for me to lean against, one she had in the car. It was great. But I started sneezing. And my eyes started burning and swelling. I thought at first I was reacting to the sunscreen Ian had used, but no, it was hypoallergenic, and I've never reacted like that to sunscreen before, and my reaction was increasingly severe. "It's as if a cat walked into the room," I said.

"Uh-oh," said Megan. Turns out she stores the massage contraption in the same room where the cat sleeps.

A few hours later my eyes were still swollen and hurting, I was still sneezing, my nose was running.... "You need an antihistamine," said Sheila. So we went quickly over to Shoppers Drug Mart where I bought some Benadryl. I thought getting something different would be a good idea, under the circumstances. I usuallly use Claritin.

Like many good ideas, it was wrong, wrong, wrong. Because I didn't make a point of getting the non-drowsy formula, and I'd forgotten how hard antihistamines can hit. This was the extra-strength variety.

The good news was, my allergy symptoms quickly went away.

The bad news was, I was drugged to the gills, and kept dozing off while working with Sheila. I did my best to stay awake, but the eyelids drooped, the head dropped... Finally Sheila said, "Go lie down on the sofa ans sleep. Go!"

And I did. I really hadn't much choice. Thank God I wasn't working for some stranger.

After I slept it off somewhat, we had Pho for supper at Pho Tai Noodle Soup on Merivale, That, an a quantity of iced tea, perked me up enough to pretend to be alert in my French class, which was about the passé composé, imparfait, and plus-que-parfait.

I said I'd do a talk tomorrow. I was going to talk about Tarot cards, but the teacher said that since we don't have much time, it should be a short, funny story. I don't know any short, funny stories. Help!

fajrdrako: (Default)




I had to go to the dentist today; broke a tooth last week, and I'd been procrastinating on going back even though I knew he wanted me to see him in the fall. He teased me for spending money on going to France rather than going to see him - but I think he understood why! We talked about France and Greece. He's been to Greece; I am envious. He said he never saw the men in Greece working, only the women.

After getting my teeth checked (I have an appointment to fix the broken one later on), I walked home, not sure how long it would take. It took about an hour - turns out to be just short of 5 km. I bought some groceries, betaed a story, and had a good visit with Lisa and Lynne. And my shin muscles felt tired and tingly. Still do.

Since I was printing my apazine on my beautiful new printer - so fast! so beautiful! - I quickly used up the starter cartridge they give you to start. The new toner cartridge was impressively quick and easy to install. I am very happy with this beautiful beast.



fajrdrako: (Default)


I'm in the waiting room of Module X, which is where you get x-rays. Too bad it doesn't look more like an X-Men locale... Except for the big black X on a yellow circle that designates the Module.

Thirty minute wait for an x-ray. The waiting area is half full. Lucky it's just a check-up and I'm not in pain. Lucky I have my Blackberry to amuse me, and a good book, and a French-Canadian magazine called 'Lundi' which I pinched from Module P, which is where my surgeon resides. His name is Doctor Pollock, but I don't think the module is named for him.

The magazine is fun. It's about Quebecois stars I've never heard of. The language is easy enough, but idiomatic. I'm writing down the words and phrases I don't know.

The nurse just called for "Irene, the woman with a last name that's difficult to pronounce.". Irene recognized it as her name, and laughed.

Bored now.

- - - - -


Since I came back to edit in my paragraph breaks, I'm going to add the x-ray of my arm. Because I can. There - isn't it purty?



fajrdrako: (Default)




Had a terrifically busy day at work - I knew I would - with many emergencies. My stomach didn't stop hurting, and I simply did my best to ignore it, and not feel sorry for myself. After work, I had a brief visit with [livejournal.com profile] redmtl, then went home and slept.

And now I feel better. Better enough to have some mushroom soup for supper. Seems to be all right.

Now, off to French class.

fajrdrako: (Default)




Yesterday was a good day, a very full day, and then I spent more than half the night up with indigestion, for the fourth time in about four months.

I think I figured out the cause this time: bread. I had a bunch of sandwiches at the Royal Wedding Tea at St. John's Anglican Church, and I bought a loaf of bread a few days ago, and have had about four slices.

That's way too much. I keep thinking wheat - bread in particular - doesn't really do me any harm. Then it does.

Today is another busy, physically taxing day, and my stomach still hurts. There: now I've said that, I'll try to stop complaining.

Courage, mon brave!

fajrdrako: (Default)




My friend Lynne brought me this list of ways to live well and healthily, from a book called Younger Next Year for Women by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge. A better list than most, and doable:

Harry's Rules

1
Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.

2
Do serious aerobic exercises four days a week for the rest of your life.

3
Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.

4
Spend less than you make.

5
Quit eating crap!

6
Care.

7
Connect and commit.


Sunday...

Dec. 19th, 2010 09:47 pm
fajrdrako: (Default)


I'd say things here, but my back is hurting and it's murder to sit at the computer. I'm going to go and curl up with a book.

fajrdrako: (Default)




I had my last physiotherapy appointment today. Good-bye to Leslie the physiotherapist, who gave me a full assessment: I'm getting strength back in my left arm and shoulder faster than she expected, though from my point of view it's still weak as half a kitten. She said that when she first saw how badly damaged my arm was, she pretty much freaked, but I've worked hard and got most of my functionality back. I can't help wondering if I worked hard enough - the occasional day I blew off the exercises, did that make a difference? Well. I'll never know.

So now I still have to do arm exercises, and shoulder exercises, but on my own. She says I may get my arm to strengthen still more: it's at about 20-25 degrees, she considered 10 degrees her goal - might I get it to 15 degrees? Seems worth trying.

fajrdrako: (Default)




At the physiotherapists' today, she measured my hand strength. I had to squeeze a metal handle, first with my right hand, then with my left. With my right hand the meter read 26. (I am mighty! I am Kara Zor-El.) With my left hand, I measured 1.

That isn't even Puny Banner. (Yeah, I've been reading The Incredible Hulks lately.)

That would be sad, except it's funny. Especially when, after I'd been straining to squeeze the thing with my left hand, Leslie said, laughing, "Okay, you can start now."

She said it's more important to use the hand for everyday activities to build strength, than to do special exercises for it. I thought that was what I was already doing.... Yeah, yeah, it'll come in time. Really.

Going to do some yoga now.

fajrdrako: (Default)




Today I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Pollock at the General Hospital. I was a little worried about how to get there, but it turned out to be fairly straightforward (though time-consuming) to take the #101 from O'Connor and Isabella to Hurdman Station, then the #106 to the hospital. I'd left myself time to go to the cafeteria there for breakfast: bacon and eggs and toast and coffee. I even remembered to bring my coffee cup, since I dislike coffee in a paper cup.

Then there was the usual waiting for appointment, and waiting for the X-rays, and then seeing the intern, then seeing the surgeon. What a sweetheart he is. And though I felt nervous about the appointment, he was actually reassuring. I'd been afraid that I'd have distressing restrictions on the use of my arm, especially since I still can't straighten it. But it turned out to be more interesting than that.

Dr. Pollock said that with a normal elbow replacement, the usual restriction on weight to be lifted with that arm is five pounds. He'd told me ten pounds, in the hospital right before the surgery. But this time he explained that the surgery he did on me was quite unusual and fairly rare, so he didn't think the usual restrictions apply. He said that I should be careful with it, and not to lift heavy weights, but to judge by the levels of discomfort and not feel restricted. He warned against repetitive lifting of heavy objects, but otherwise to not worry about it excessively.

I wish I'd said, "What about yoga?", but I think I can figure that out with common sense. If I stay away from exercises where the arm is weight-bearing (like the Plank or the Crow, both of which I used to like) I should be all right. Downward-facing Dog is out too, alas. But no point fretting about there. There are plenty of yoga poses I can still do, and it would be good for me to be doing them.

Saturday...

Nov. 6th, 2010 11:27 pm
fajrdrako: (Default)




Spent the morning at a birthday party for my chiropractor's business and got a sample massage (from a strong-fingered woman named Kristin McCuaig) and a reiki treatment (from a warm-handed woman named Candice McMullen).

It snowed in Kanata.

Then [livejournal.com profile] maaseru and I went to IKEA, where I bought a pillow and a box, and we had lunch - she had their new chili dish, which was delicious, and I had that old standby, IKEA meatballs, with vegetable medallions.

Then I went home, napped, and did some housecleaning.

Lil came from Montreal with her friend Andrea, and we went first to supper at Swiss Chalet, then to a concert called Brigadoons and Friends at the Centrepointe Theatre. A good time was had by all. My favourite part was when a girl named Robin Barillero of the MacLeod Fiddlers sang a song called Fhir a' bhàta in Scots Gaelic.

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