Monday, January 25, 2010

Update

Tomorrow's my mini-appointment with the hematologist. I'm getting a blood count done so he can see what my numbers look like. The next day, I have my appointment with the GI doc. The GI appointment should have been last Thursday, but on Thursday morning, his office called me to reschedule.

Geesh. I feel like I did a year and a half ago, with multiple appointments with different specialists due to the knee injury. Phooey. But as soon as we can get the source of the symptoms pinpointed, we can get rid of the problem once and for all.

Everybody's money is on the likelihood that my having taken OTC naproxin for 18 months caused a problem in my stomach. All the symptoms point in that direction. But until some tests are done to confirm that, I haven't got an official diagnosis. Hence, my crack-of-dawn appointment tomorrow AM with the GI doctor. I hope that concrete answers are forthcoming ASAP, because the agita and the extreme fatigue are both for the freaking birds.

But on to more fun stuff. I believe I posted last December that I designed a Muppet Whatnot on the FAO Schwarz site. I dubbed him Phil E. Phan and I have been gradually getting him Flyers gear to wear, along with one Phantoms hat and a Phillies hat so far. My ultimate goal is to get Phil and me some matching jerseys to wear. He was a HUGE hit at the Flyers Wives Carnival a couple weeks ago, so next year, I plan to do an even better job of entertaining my fellow fans. :-) Hence, the matching jerseys. Next time around, puppet and puppeteer are going to be an even more obvious team. Stay tuned; I'll post pictures when the items I've ordered arrive.

Oh, and I opened the box of Chocolate Cheerios today. They're great. :-) If chocolate cereal floats your boat, do try them.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chocolate Cheerios

OMG! A giant box of these from BJ's! I didn't even know chocolate Cheerios *existed*. I told Mark he just made my whole day! :-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Easter already?

Cadbury Eggs and Marshmallow Peeps... In January.

Easter's in April.

You do the math.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Boy, what a difference a few weeks makes! I don't know what my current iron levels are, but being on the iron pills for three weeks has made a huge improvement in how I feel. I still get worn out at times -- case in point, after being out all day at the Flyers Wives carnival on Sunday, I needed to rest a lot on Monday. But I feel a lot more like a human being now than I have since I-can't-tell-you-when. Wow.

Having said that, I still have to see the GI doc. The likely source of the iron depletion is a GI bleed from taking NSAIDS for 18+ months. But tests still need to be done to actually prove that. However, I no longer blame a failure of my acid reflux pills for the symptoms I'm feeling. Meanwhile, staying on the iron pills is a must, because the actual source of the problem has neither been IDed for certain nor has it been resolved.

One thing's sure, though. I nap less now. Which Captain and Stanley have translated into "Mom's awake, so it's time to go get some attention." Pair of pampered critters. :-)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Yay! Good things have started rolling my way this week. The blood count numbers were improved significantly when the doc did an in-office test on Tuesday, so the iron pills are doing their job. I still do have some deficit to make up on that score, but I trust that as long as I keep following physicians' directions and eating as I should, I'll keep gaining ground.

Also, the new pain med finally got into my bloodstream enough to catch up to, and surpass, the various knee and hand pains that I've had since stopping the NSAID. It took a couple days' worth of taking the new med in order to accomplish that feat, but the end result is an improved Quality of Life.

My energy level has improved, too. I'm not exactly bouncing-off-the-walls energetic by any stretch, but I'm not wilting-on-the-floor wiped out after reasonable amounts of activity, either.

It might be as big of a cliche as there is, but I'm taking this new year and treating it like a clean slate and an adventure. I'd have had to hit the "reset" button and start fresh health-wise no matter what time of year that blood test result came through, but it just so happens to have taken place around the New Year, so that adds a bit of potency to my determination to start fresh.

So I'm starting over health-wise, not just as a New Year's Resolution, but out of necessity. And as I feel the physical improvements from the health-related changes, I am going to do my darnedest to use that newfound energy to brighten my life mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Consider it my way of making lemonade out of that giant-sized lemon that unexpectedly came my way right before Christmas. I mean to come out of this as a better and healthier person, for the benefit of both me and everyone around me.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

GP Visit

Today's GP visit went well. He gave me a prescription that *isn't* an NSAID for the various aches and pains that have appeared in the wake of my stopping the naproxen. I'd kind of hoped for an OTC recommendation, rather than a prescription. On the other hand, we see what 18 months of taking OTC meds on autopilot has led to: specialist visits and iron pills. So maybe a script isn't a bad idea, all things considered.

Right now, what I REALLY want are some prescription-strength M&Ms. ;-) I'm hungry, but I have to wait a bit longer, after having taken one of the above-mentioned iron pills, before I can eat.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Ow. Part 3.

Today's specialist went over all the tests I've had, including a blood count that was done in his office today, and agrees with me that the most likely source of the skewed numbers is the longterm NSAID use. Which is good news, because the after-effects of that are a lot more easily corrected than some other conditions I can think of.

However, to be sure of this, he's sending me to a GI doctor, plus I have another couple of bloodworks slated for 3 and 6 weeks from now.

Today's numbers showed marked improvements, so the iron pills are doing their job. That's good news, because apparently not everyone metabolizes the iron well. Fortunately, in my case that doesn't appear to be an issue.

On the "improved iron counts through better diet" front, we have fresh spinach (which I love) in the house, and consuming red meat has been translated into "eat cheeseburgers". I even put spinach ON the cheeseburger as a topping. :-)

So now we've managed to work pizza AND burgers into an iron-rich diet. I'm telling you, if I can get someone to create iron-fortified M&Ms, I could make billions selling this as a diet. Really.

Tomorrow's my appointment with the Primary Care Physician, at which time I'm definitely going to ask what else I can take for pain if NSAIDs are off the list. I'm hoping acetaminophen or something else that's easily available will be OK to take.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Ow. Again.

OK, this NSAID-free living is highlighting everything that would have been aching all along, had I not been medicating. And the answer isn't pretty. It's not just my two knees that hurt, primarily on stairs but at other times, too. My RIGHT HAND is so sore I can't move it without pain. Good grief. I had no idea the NSAID was working on significant sore spots besides the left knee.

But I do have good medical news. I passed that, er, take-home test the doctor gave me with flying colors. So unless there are additional, non-take-home tests for the large intestine that I'm not aware of, we can rule that region out as a source of the trouble.

I really do think that what we're going to find is that my longterm use of OTC NSAIDs caused this situation. But we'll be one step closer to some answers as of tomorrow, once I've seen the specialist.

In other news, Karla had some good news for us. She's soon to head to LA to take part in Jeopardy. The shows will air in April. She's not allowed to blog or post about her experience on the internet. On the other hand, if her trip to California turns into an extended stay, I think we'll get the hint that things are going well. So here's hoping she spends the winter in warm weather. :-)

Send some prayers John R's way. Unfortunately, not only did his mom pass away after a protracted bout of illness, but he's in the hospital himself at the moment and will have to miss the funeral. I feel so sad for how things panned out. I would have willingly driven him and Joe to Allentown and paid my respects, except the funeral turned out to be on the same day as my specialist's appointment. And then John got admitted to the hospital himself, which rendered his getting to the funeral impossible even if someone else had been available to drive. What a shame. :-(

I'd like to end this post on an upbeat note, so let me just mention that pizza topped with spinach and broccoli rabe is a great source of iron. Yay for healthy food that's also comfort food. :-) Now all I need is someone to discover that chocolate is a source of iron. I need an excuse to go out and get peanut or almond M&Ms.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Ow.

I stopped the OTC NSAID several days ago, in case it was a contributing factor (or the outright cause) of the anemia. But now my knees are complaining when I use the stairs. My right hand has seen better days, also.

If I have to avoid NSAIDs for the time being, so be it, but then the doc(s) will have to work with me to find other ways to knock out the assorted aches and pains that flare up in my knees and hands. I think that's a reasonable approach to pain (or discomfort) management.

The good news is, neither the knees nor the hand are anywhere near the "so freakin' sore that I can't sleep" level. That's a situation I hope to avoid, with or without NSAIDs.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy, healthy, blessed, and prosperous New Year to all, from Mark and me! From Captain and Stanley, "Happy MEW Year!" :-)

For the first time in my life, I'll be absent from two Mummers Parades in a row. Last year, it was too soon after the knee surgery and I couldn't stand for all those hours without respite. This year, besides the extreme fatigue that I've been battling -- which I now understand the cause of, thanks to the blood test -- I'm also concerned that the off-kilter bloodwork results will mean that my resistance to germs isn't what it should be. The last thing I need is to catch the flu or something equally undesirable from someone else in the crowd, at a time when my blood counts have seen better days.

The Flyers and Bruins are playing outdoors in the Winter Classic, even as I speak. I'd have loved to attend this game, but the tickets were supremely hard to come by and cost a small fortune into the bargain. Not to mention, I'd have needed some more funds for the round-trip to Boston and the hotel stay as well. I don't have that kind of disposable cash lying around. Therefore, I'll be cheering the Flyers on from my warm living room sofa, coffee cup in hand and at least one feline parked nearby for his Daily Doting. GO FLYERS!