Thursday, September 10, 2015

Enter Chaos

You know how you're sailing along through your life, and everything is pretty much the same most every day for the longest time and then all of a sudden the Universe sweep kicks you and you go tumbling down a rabbit hole of batshit crazy?

Welcome to the past three weeks of my life.

It started with me sitting on the porch, drinking a cup of tea and waiting on Sutt's bus to drop him off from school.  It was Thursday and things were feeling pretty settled around here, for the first time in a while after moving and adjusting.  It was hot, but it's always hot, I had been cleaning all day, and it was nice just to sit still.  Then my phone rang and it was a Boston area code (I know this because B used to have one) and since I don't know anyone in Boston (at least, no one I really want to talk to), I ignored it.  They left a voicemail, so I decided to check it, only to hear my doctor say, "Don't freak out, but I'm calling you from my personal cell and I need you to call me back at this number immediately."

WHAT DO YOU MEAN "DON'T FREAK OUT?"  When your doctor gives you their personal cell phone number and calls you on her day off, two days before you're expecting to hear regular old blood results, and says "don't freak out" your first reaction is to FREAK THE HELL OUT.

Side notes:  My doctor had recently moved here from Boston, and she is a badass.  She went to med school at Harvard, did her residency at Beth Israel, and then joined Harvard's faculty where she's won a zillion awards and published a bunch of papers and SHE'S ONLY 40.  (I looked her up-- I always do my research because I have no desire to put my life in the hands of some person who went to med school in the Caribbean because they weren't smart enough to get into a decent one elsewhere, or who has been sued for malpractice thirty-two times already when they have only been practicing for five years.)  Anyway, the other side note is that I have been feeling pretty rough for a LONG time now-- like, several years-- and had seen a slew of doctors about a slew of symptoms only to repeatedly be told that it was all caused by anxiety.  ANXIETY, MY ASS.  My joints hurt, my hands kept going numb for no reason, I had a weird rash appear on my knees, and I felt like I was getting a cold ALL THE TIME and was always exhausted.  THAT'S NOT ANXIETY.  Even I know that.

So I called Rakhi back (by the way, doctors who ask you to call them by their first names are my favorite, because they are usually less likely to be assholes) and she started explaining that my blood panel had come back and that I very likely had Celiac Disease.  A normal person's numbers were supposed to be 0-19, 30 was a strong positive for Celiac, and I was 140.  AWESOME.

So while she's telling me all this (which was complicated because I didn't know ANYTHING about Celiac Disease), call waiting beeps in.  I ask her to hold for a sec because it's B and it was unusual for him to call at that time.  I answer, and before I can say anything but "hello," he says, "Hey!  So, we're gonna go to Alaska next week."  HUH?

Then the landline rings.  Belly brings it to me (while both lines are still occupied on my phone) and it's Sutt's school calling to tell me that he missed the bus and I need to come get him.  NOW.

While the school secretary is talking, the phone beeps again.  It's the hospital OR scheduler calling to set up my endoscopy.  WHAT IS AN ENDOSCOPY?

AT THIS POINT I HAVE FOUR PEOPLE ON TWO PHONES, AND I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA WHAT THE HELL ANY OF THEM ARE TALKING ABOUT.  Not to mention that Belly is hovering over me asking, "who's on the phones?  what's going on?"  Holy shit.

I hung up on everybody except Rakhi.  She kept telling me "honey, you have to feel really bad" to which I politely answered that I'VE BEEN TELLING YOU PEOPLE, AND HALF THE DOCTORS OF HAMPTON ROADS, VIRGINIA, THAT YES, I FEEL LIKE SHIT.  SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH ME.  Luckily, for Rakhi AND for myself, the Celiac thing wasn't that big of a deal to me, but more of a relief.  I've been thinking I had cancer or something and that I was going to keel over before anybody figured out what was wrong.  Plus, I already have diabetes and deal with that crap all the time, so giving up gluten?  Whatever.  She gave me the number to return the call to the OR and told me she wanted to run a tube down my throat and take some samples of my small intestine on Monday, I said cool, and we hung up.  Then I headed to get Sutt and scheduled the endoscopy on my way in the car.

B showed up at home about the same time I got back from picking Sutt up, and by then I had forgotten he wanted to go to Alaska.  (Yeah, ALASKA.  WHO CALLS THEIR WIFE ON THE WAY HOME FROM WORK AND GIVES THEM A WEEK'S NOTICE THAT THEY WANT TO GO TO ALASKA?  B.  THAT'S WHO.  AND THEN WHO FORGETS THAT IT HAPPENED ONLY A HALF HOUR AFTER HE CALLS?  ME.  I DO.)  He immediately launched into how he had found tickets and made a plan and we were going to go to Seattle first and visit old friends, then hop up to Juneau for a few days and he would talk to my Mom to see if she could watch the kids.  Heidi, his ex-girlfriend, who I've known and loved for years (and who came to OUR wedding) was getting married near her Dad's home in Alaska and he had made the decision last minute that we would be able to work it out and attend.  Yay.

Which was awesome except I was already feeling a little overwhelmed from the previous hour of getting diagnosed with a new disease, setting up surgery, and locating my missing child who is too much of a dumbass to listen to the announcements when the buses are called.

That was three weeks ago today.  Since then, I have had the endoscopy.  And a CT scan for a lump in my abdomen (scar tissue).  And an MRI for a mass in my liver (still waiting on the results because it was only done yesterday, and we only found it because it showed up in the CT scan, totally unrelated).  And been to Seattle (where our plane crash landed-- next blog), and Alaska.  I have been to a whale-watching rehearsal dinner on an island, my first Catholic wedding in a shrine to which you had to hike through a forest to reach, and a brunch by a glacier in a skating cabin.  I have befriended a Punk Metal band from New York City, made life-long buddies with an amazing couple who opened their home to us in Juneau, met the lovely wife and kids of a long-time friend who I haven't seen in thirteen years, and traded cell numbers with a lawyer in DC for the sole purpose of being able to randomly text her photos of my dog.  I got to know a neurosurgeon (whom I harassed for a while at first because I thought he was lying about being a neurosurgeon--he wasn't) for whom I am now trying to find a girlfriend. (Any takers out there?  I can set you up.  I think he's hilarious because, like me, he doesn't have much of a filter, but everybody else seems to think he's kind of an asshole.)

And I did all this stuff while becoming Gluten Free, which, as it turns out, is ridiculously more complicated than I thought it would be because gluten isn't just bread, it's in SO MUCH STUFF.  Gum.  Makeup.  Cleaning supplies.  Soy sauce.  Pretty much every sauce you can imagine.  SO MUCH STUFF.  And Georgia is NOT A GLUTEN-FREE FRIENDLY PLACE.  I'm pretty sure I may starve to death here.  But I'm learning and I'm getting there.  I feel so much better already, which makes sense because since my small intestine wasn't absorbing a lot of what I ate, I wasn't getting any of the vitamins and nutrients and whatnot I needed, hence the feeling like I was getting sick all the time.  My joints/legs/etc are much better (JJ, if by some reason you are reading this, file away in your mental medical file that Celiac is something to consider, especially if you see a Type I diabetic with mystery ortho pain), my headaches are gone, my creepy knee rash is gone.  Life just still feels crazy, though.  I gotta readjust.

Next blog I'll tell you about our trip.  It will be funnier, I promise, and highly entertaining.  Just covering my bases here.

Happy Thursday.

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