April 12, 2015

Hello Again/Health Update

I see it all the time.  And I'm guilty too.  Posts about a neglected blog.  Ugh.  Yes, that is what this is.  Kinda.

My health is.....getting better.  I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome in my 20's, but was ignorant to exactly what that meant to my endocrine system until last year.  The drs in my 20's said a lot about helping me through my infertility, but not much about anything else.  I was given metformin at the time, but not told why, only that it would help with the cysts.  It didn't agree with me, so I quit taking it.  I was in my twenties and invincible after all!  I could handle it!  I was already on birth control pills, which did actually help, so I thought I didn't really *need* this other diarrhea-inducing horse pill, did I?  Yeah, I know now I did.  Because of PCOS, I've gained a significant amount of weight and have become insulin resistant.  I've also suffered from depression, anxiety and isolated because of it.  That means, when I had a lot of physical pain, I blamed myself and hid its severity.  It is a shameful feeling like I've "allowed" myself to become so "fat" and inactive, and figured the pain was ALL my fault.  At it's worst, I found a spark of light somehow though.  I decided to take charge and really try to get help.  It started with telling my regular doctor about the pain.  All of my joints cause me pain, but my knees and low back most of all.  Terrible pain.  Like, scared I'm losing my mobility type of pain.  He ran a battery of blood tests and ruled out lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme's and a few other things, but noticed an abnormal protein in my blood and a high SED rate.  With that info, he referred me to a rheumatologist.  There I was diagnosed with moderately severe osteoarthritis in both knees and moderate arthritis in my hips and back.  He also told me I have fibromyalgia, which I'd suspected for several years actually.  He also ran more blood work.  Looking further into this abnormal protein.  With those test results I was referred to a hematologist.  I was so scared when I made the appointment for that....the phone was answered by the "oncology department".  What?!  So of course, I had to wait a month to see this hematologist (whom is also an oncologist!).... During that time, google was my worst enemy.  Cancer.  That's what those abnormal proteins mean.  And ultimately, the answer is yes and no.  I have been diagnosed with MGUS, or monoclonal gammopathy of unidentified significance.  And not a lot is known about it's significance, just as the name implies!  Mostly because the age of people usually diagnosed with this are at least 20 years older than I am.  And they die from other causes before the MGUS turns into multiple myeloma.  Tests have shown over 90% of persons developing multiple myeloma have MGUS, so it's considered pre-myeloma.  But there's no known timeframe for the transformation.... It may or may not rear its ugly head.  So, for the rest of my life I will need to be monitored by an oncologist and have blood work done every 6 months to see if there are changes in the condition.  I've had a full body scan, and have no lesions on my bones at this time.  Good news on a bad condition.  So, I'm learning to cope with my physical pain.  It has improved about 30% with mobic and muscle relaxers at night.  Better sleep has also been helpful.  A glimpse into feeling better helps my faith in.....just about everything.  I pray it continues!  I've also lost about 50 pounds in the last 9 months.  I hope to lose enough to have it make sense to have my knees replaced.  I would love to have that freedom back, even if all I can do is stand to finish a sink's worth of dishes.  Something I think most people take for granted.

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