Stunted Growth

August 26, 2010

Well the results from my hell-test are in. I am indeed growth-horome deficient. You wouldn’t guess it looking at me, I am 6’4″. But it only causes growth issues if it starts when your a child. To quote our ever present scholar wikipedia:

Adults with GHD present with non-specific problems including truncal obesity with a relative decrease in muscle mass and, in many instances, decreased energy and quality of life.

Hmm.

I got my second testosterone shot on tuesday, I even was able to man up and do it myself. So from now on I’ll be doing my injections at home. I figure I’ll get used to it pretty quickly if i start having to do the daily injections.

The Horror

August 16, 2010

Today I went down to the Unemployment office and finished all of my paperwork and interviews. NOthing difficult. They gave me a series of tests consisting of different levels. On reading I made it to and passed level seven, which is the last. And I made it to level five on the math portion.

I also got ahold of Vocational Rehabilitation, but unfortunately while they would like to help me, the earliest orientation they have open is in October. Bah.

I was called today by the Bend Memorial Clinic, it seems that I will have my growth hormone testing done tomorrow morning. I am not looking forward to this, as it involves three solid hours of blood draws. Nothing to be done about it though. Bah again.

Now its story time.

I recently remembered an incident that occurred during my last brain surgery. Dr.Hadden screwed with me. In a kind of jerky way no less.

I recall hanging out in the pre-surgery prep room with my family, and the anesthesiologist came in and started in IV. The drugs started to take effect as they wheeled me to the back, but rather than do the “Count backwards from ten” bit, Dr.Hadden looked at me and said “Chris, we need you to get in this other bed. Go on, get up.”

Being in my drug addled state I tried to sit up and stand. I think I made it about 3 inches off the mattress before I passed out. All I can really recall was a giant shit-eating grin on Hadden’s face.

Thanks Doc.

Meet and greet

August 12, 2010

Alright everyone, today I’d like to introduce you to someone who is very close to me. He has been with me for quite some time now and is really a part of me. He’s my little buddy, he goes wherever I go and he does whatever I do.

I’d like you to meet Phil. My tumor.

Don’t see him? Thats OK neither do I. He’s kinda shy being only 2mm big and all. But my doctor assures me he’s there. You could say he’s really gotten inside me.

Lame tumor puns aside I’m doing well. As I said before the confirmation wasn’t a big surprise so I’ve taken the news quite well.I don’t feel any different right now after the testosterone shots (and if I did it would be psychosomatic) but they should start perking me up in a few weeks. I have no doubt that soon I will reach a level of manliness that I will be able to spontaneously grow body hair by flexing.

This

Well this post isn’t going to go exactly as I wanted. What I wanted to do was link the scene from Kindergarten Cop where Arnie… you know what? Screw it.

Now promptly disregard the theme of that message. I do have a tumor. It is a very small and 99% likely to be benign, but a tumor none-the-less. The tumor is about 2mm and is on my pituitary gland, it is excreting prolactin which is what screwing up my testosterone. It is not what caused my hydrocephalus.

Today I got manly-juice injected into my butt.

In other words I am now getting bi-weekly testosterone injections and am taking Cabergoline to reduce the levels of prolactin in my system. I may eventually stop getting the testosterone if my system figures out that its supposed to be making it on its own. But I should expect to take the pills for a long period of time.

I am also going to be tested to see if I need to have growth hormone injections as well. Normally we would wait a few months to see how I feel with the testosterone injections, but seeing as I may be losing my health insurance and the test is around $1000 I’ve decided to get it out-of-the-way.

If I do require the growth hormone it will result in me taking a daily injection. I’m hoping I don’t need this, as it is very very expensive. The injections cost anywhere from $500-$750 dollars a month. That and I hate needles. A lot.

All in all, none of this is really a surprise. And it could have been a lot worse.

Sleepy

August 9, 2010

Didn’t get any sleep last night, just tossed turned. MRI is today, one more can’t hurt right? From what I understand MRI’s are quite safe, the only real side effect to speak of is the radiation dose, which is equivalent to the amount of radiation you’d get over the course of a year. Still… this will be dose number ten today? I hope it doesn’t give me cancer… oh wait.

Got my first un-employment check in the mail. As much as I’d like to go off on on some big tirade about how this crushes the last of my dignity, I really don’t care. Here in Bend Oregon we have the highest unemployment rate in the state, sitting somewhere around 17%. Besides, I feel like I’ve been hemorrhaging money lately, so many bills to pay and little things here and there to pick up. A bit of cash will help.

Thanks Uncle Sam! Thanks tax-payers!

A Cautionary Tale

August 5, 2010

I am a child of the information age. I’ve grown up knowing that if I have a question, my dear friend the internet is there to give me answers (and sometimes other things). Where some children on the playground argued about what superheros could win in a fight, my friends and I argued about what search engine rocked the hardest.

Webcrawler represent!

Things haven’t changed much. I’m still the kind of guy where if there is a fact that comes into question during an argument, BAM out comes the cell phone to ask Saint Google. So as per my modus operandi when my doctor said “You may have a pituitary tumor.” I wanted to inform myself on the subject as much as possible.

This was a mistake.

While learning online is awesome for some things, learning about lethal diseases you potentialy have is not. The sheer amount of terrible things that can result of having a pituitary tumor sent me into a  out of control fear-spiral that ended with me rolling up into a little ball on the couch and incessantly blubbering.

While I’ve since regained my composure, it is far too easy to see the worst possible outcome. This is why I think things like WebMD are evil. It can turn a cough and bellyache into something terrible like Diverticulitis. I’m not saying that some light googleing on your condition is ill-advised, just that you should remember to take everything with a grain of salt.

Positively Positive

August 1, 2010

I received some test results in the mail today, seems that I don’t have mono. This is a good thing, I don’t think i could handle one more thing that’s primary goal is to make me feel tired and ultra-poopy.  Wheather this means I have strep or a staph infection or something else remains to be seen. Maybe it was just some kind of cold or mild flu bug, wouldn’t tat be cool?

This whole “You don’t have another terrible sickness” thing has got me feeling all sun-shiney and hopeful, so I’ve decided to try and put a positive spin on the whole “You may have a brain tumor.” (Holy crap, way too many quotation marks in that sentence.)

So without further ado,  in no particular order here is a list  of a few good things about potentially having a tumor/cancer:

I won’t have to worry about global warming.

I won’t feel compelled to recycle. (You may be saying, “But its for the children!” Sorry, at this moment I am unable to have any so I’m playing the selfish card.)

I’ll have something to say to the old-ladies who give me dirty looks when I park in a handicapped space.

If I ever visit a theme park I’ll get to go in the short lines.

I wont have to stress that apparently everything is carcinogenic.

Best of all?

Not having to deal with stupid people anymore.

:|

July 28, 2010

Doctors appointments all day yesterday and one today. Woo.

I saw the rheumatologist, he says that I have a “Connective tissue auto-immune disease”, when I asked what this meant he said “Its like Lupus, but not as bad”. He’s ordered more tests and I have future apps, as is par for the course.

The endocrinology visit was a bit more eventful, Dr.Goldstein didn’t start treatment as he wants to know more about what is causing the issues I’m having. He said he thinks I have a tumor on my pituitary gland, so I have another round of MRI’s to do. He said because my prolactin levels were so high last year when I first saw him he was concerned, so we did more lab work to see where they were at.

Basicly there are two courses of action to be taken. If the Prolactin levels are still high it means that my hippocampus isn’t talking to my pituitary gland,which means my pituitary gland isn’t telling my manly bits to do their job. I will have to take a pill every day and have testosterone shots. He said sometimes with this pill people get better and don’t have to get treatments anymore, but that I should expect to have to take it for several years at least.

The other option is that my prolactin levels have come down, which means I will just have to have the hormone replacement therapy, which means just the shots, but definitely for the rest of my life. We talked about different treatment options and the shots seem to be the best course, they are far cheaper than the patches. And while I have no fondness of needles and the thought of 27 shots a year makes me squeamish with the potential loss of health insurance money matters more than ever.

As far as the whole “He thinks I have a brain tumor” thing goes, I’m honestly not surprised or worried. This would explain why I have hydrocephalus and all my other varying problems. And as terrible as it sounds, with something like a brain tumor I can go to SSD and be all “This isn’t going away. Pay me!”

Chris Died

July 27, 2010

No not really.

Allot has happened, unfortunately none of it has been good so I have been moping and not wanting to talk about it.

To give you the short version I saw Dr.Hadden and he said all the symptoms I have are normal and that they will last up to a year, perhaps even permanently. So I may have to deal with being sick/migraines the rest of my life. Honestly, I’m ok with this.

I can actually think now, which is awesome. I don’t feel like im wandering around in fog anymore and can do things like count and drive again.

I have heard back from disability, they denied me. They say that my illness does indeed disable me but that they don’t think that I will be sick enough in a years time to still be unable to work. This is a disaster on many levels. The most obvious is that my job is ending, the store’s last day is this Friday.

My boss has been extremely understanding and has allowed my extremely flexible shifts, the fact of the matter is that in a super competitive economy I don’t think I will be able to find a new job. Bend has the highest unemployment rate in the state, sitting somewhere around 18%. I can go on unemployment, but because I was so sick last year my weekly benefits will only be about $90. Better than nothing I know, but not nearly enough to live off of.

The other bad side to being denied is that I now no longer qualify for the health insurance plan I’m currently on, I simply cannot afford to go to all of the doctors I am seeing now on my own. I have no idea what I’m going to do on this front. I’m appealing the decision about SSD, not because I think that I will be approved, but because while the claim is in process I will still have OHP, a temporary solution at best.

I am now seeing a new general doctor, her name is Dr.Busby. I met with her once and she had a full blood panel run, the long and short of it is that my testosterone and white count are still abysmally low. I’m seeing an endocrinologist and a rheumatologist  today, im expecting to have to do testosterone replacement therapy for the rest of my life.

I was going to see a hemotologist to figure out the white count thing, but apparently my doctor talked to the local guy and he said I didn’t need to be seen. I have no idea what this means or why, and the clinic Dr.B works for is a low-income clinic, meaning they are always extremely busy and understaffed, so my phone calls have not been returned.

I’ve been looking for jobs online, and have applied to a few. But I don’t have much hope. I don’t have a car, so anything that isn’t telecommuting has to be within walking distance, which for me is two blocks or less. Really limits my options. I did apply for a telecommuting job as an appointment setter for a music firm here in town, but haven’t heard back yet.

I can’t really think of anything else to update you on at the moment, though I’m sure I’m forgetting something. I am putting a lot of my hopes into my appointment with the endocrinologist today, im hoping that getting the proper levels of manly-juice in my system will help me feel better. I’m also hoping it will help me stave off depression, it’s getting to crippling levels.

Whats this?

June 14, 2010

I know what your thinking. “Is Chris dead?”

I promise, I’m not.

I haven’t been posting lately for a few reasons, and for that I apologise.

One of them is that things at work have gone from bad to worse. The company which bought us out to liquidate has decided they don’t need as much staffing as we can provide and has decreed that there shall be no more then 40 hours spent on all non-manager labor. Meaning, I’ve gone from having 40 hours a week to an average of 12. I was trying to squeeze in as much time while I could and was exhausted by the process.

Another reason I haven’t been posting is that I haven’t been feeling well. I’ve been getting progressively dizzier and not having to write about it means that i don’t have to acknowledge it. I’ve thrown up a few times and i fear the worst. I’m hesitant to call Dr.Hadden as I’ve come to realize that he is a neurosurgeon not a neurologist. So while I think he’s great I don’t know if he is the one I should be talking to.

Speaking of doctors, I’ve started seeing a general practitioner at Mosaic Medical, she cool. They drew a bunch of blood and it looks like almost everything looks good, with the exception of some hormone levels (but I expected that).

I honestly don’t know if i can say that I’ll be updating more frequently, though I do promise to try.