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Archive for the ‘Medical Disclosures’ Category

Actually, FUCK YOU, that’s not just uncomfortable… that HURTS.

The morning after my birthday. I was laying in bed, feeling a little randy, and so I started to take advantage of myself. Actually, I didn’t get far with it because suddenly I realized that I wasn’t alone in the bed. While grabbing my breast in a way that should have been naughty, I instead realized I was achy and something was amiss. I called it a lump, but it wasn’t round. It wasn’t a mass either. I wasn’t sure WHAT it was, but it wasn’t there before. It had never been there before. Suddenly it WAS there and all I knew was that I didn’t have insurance.

I had applied for insurance a month earlier and so the day after my house guest moved in, I called for an update on my application.

“Backed up”, they told me.

“A couple more weeks”, they said

So, I waited, and I said nothing. To almost anyone. I didn’t want to worry people needlessly. I didn’t want people fussing if there wasn’t a reason. I didn’t want to TALK about it. I was trying with all my might to just get by until I could get insurance and get tested. Then, last Monday, I called again, assuming that calling three weeks from when I was told that 2 weeks would be a fair estimate for processing…well, that would get me good news, right?

“4 more weeks, ” she said, ” we are short-staffed and backed up over here with processing.”

I couldn’t handle the stress and the silence anymore. I wasn’t sleeping well those previous weeks and now I was crying myself to sleep some nights. I was beyond frustrated. I wanted to tell Type Geek, but I didn’t want to worry him. He just lost his brother last Spring. Cancer. Without some sort of diagnosis, I didn’t even know what to say. Why make people worry and feel helpless? So, I kept quiet and I researched.  By midweek I had located the Women’s Health Network and the lovely woman there put me in contact with Lisa at Cambridge Health Alliance. Lisa hooked me up with Julianna & Coreen who were able to act as my advocates and fast track my insurance application. There was still chaos in that process though, as the insurance company lost the letter they faxed over last week, forcing us to re-fax it this week. Then the insurance agency decided that they would no longer deal with my advocates and I had to go back to calling them. Back and forth, back and forth. They leave me a message Monday late afternoon, only to tell me that, “Oops, you can’t call me back because the offices are now closed.” Making me wait until the morning. By mid Tuesday I finally have insurance. By end of day Tuesday I have an appointment at the Breast Care Center and a new primary care. Exhale.

Wednesday is a lot of waiting. I woke up late. Not concentrating. Appointment regarding my benefits in Downtown Boston, stroll through TJ Maxx for spices (a hidden gem for spices, btw), through Whole Foods for meat, and get home in time to do a bit of research before meeting a friend and her business partner for dinner about a potential business arrangement. Home and exhausted.

I woke this morning with an hour before I needed to be at the hospital. I showered the night before. No deodorant or powder. They can cause false positives on the films is my understanding or at least make reading the films difficult. No jewelry on the neck. Wear separates, so the top can be easily removed. Check Check Check. Got it.

Walking to the train… red line is down. Of course.

Cab stand. Nothing there. Guy hails one as I am trying to. I’m sure he has to go to the hospital to get his balls fondled, fine.

FINALLY I hail a cab…and he turns out to be agro overly caffeinated impatient driver from some townie North Shore part of Boston. Yay! Dude, that’s cool, yell at people for stopping at yellow lights. That’s cool. I might have cancer, but sure, it’s fine to let traffic lights totally ruin your day. He drops me off, finally. Free at last from his clutches!

As I am doing my check in… “But ma’am, your appointment is TOMORROW, the 30th.”

Ha Ha Ha Ha, “Umm, no, it’s THURSDAY, Today. Today is THURSDAY and my appointment is on THURSDAY.”

“But ma’am, it say’s here….”

“I DON’T CARE what THAT says. I made the appointment for THURSDAY”. Did I mention that I cut sugar and coffee weeks ago. Damn, if there was ever a time I could use a triple tall nonfat vanilla latte… it’s fucking right at that moment. BREATHE

They shuffle me off to the Breast Care Center to see if they can do anything. Thank you Lisa at BCC registration for fitting me in with Denise, the NP. Now for the fun part:

An hour undressed with a ridiculously designed gown (thankfully it was cotton, not paper) with arm holes larger than my skull, and lots of where is the lump, which breast, describe how it feels, describe the pain, on a scale from 1-10, where is the pain… ok, arm up.  Thank you Denise for making the clinical exam not too torturous, and having a charming breast side manner. Having not found anything, she offered two options.

  1. I could go home and “watch it”. That means that I would still have the nagging questions in my mind. What if, Could it, Might it?
  2. She could justify to the insurance, while I have it, the reason for further tests, and schedule me a mammogram and ultrasound.

I opted for peace of mind. She agreed that it peace of mind was a good way to proceed and had me wait (there’s a definite trend here with the waiting) while she checked with Lisa. Ten minutes later I am told to go take a walk for an hour and come back for a 12:30 mammogram and 1 pm ultrasound. That’s a super long hour; if you are wondering. How do you think of anything other than what the tests MIGHT find. Even though Denise didn’t find anything, hell, the films could. So, I wandered around and checked out 2 vintage stores, a bookstore, picked up a white tea and wandered back. Lisa directed me to the mammogram suite, where I checked in, stripped again, and waited. YAWN. Of all days to be off coffee.

A quirky woman named Carol came and rescued me from boredom, only to torture me with an iron apron an inch smaller than my waist and the Tit Terrorizer, aka the mammogram machine. If they threatened criminals with mammograms, you’d get confessions sooner. Maybe it hurt so much because I’m petite and between the contorting and the shoving and the pressing, small breasts just hurt so much more when compressed to the size of a small luncheon sandwich. Once the 6 images were taken, and yes, the small paddle does hurt the worst, it was off to sit…and wait.

Sweet Maggie May, with the spasmy back… she rescued me from my waiting room purgatory. Leading me to the ultrasound room, she was quite funny and down to earth. We complained of getting older, my shoulder pain, her spasmy back. I suggested back stretches and arm stretches, and anti-inflammatory diet, and lots of ibuprofen. She poured warm gelatinous gook on my right breast and scanned it. I joked that I deserved a voucher for a really nice dinner after getting my breasts fondled for so many hours. After the scan, Maggie stepped out, I waited (yup) and once the doctor reviewed it, I was cleared to go.

Results? Nothing. Well, not nothing, but nothing cancerous. Turns out my breasts have decided to develop their own version of internal cellulite. Pockets of fat. Yay! I love old age. Apparently totally normal for women to have, some even develop like that initially.I guess I can find relief in that my bodies sick idea of symmetry. Cellulite on the thighs, cellulite in the breasts. Top to bottom. Grrar.

I headed back down to give Denise the heads up on results, book a follow-up with her in 3 months regarding the “pain’, and then wander over to make an appointment for a physical with my new primary care so that I can also get a referral for a dermatologist. All of this cancer scare has me wanting to get everything checked out while I have the insurance. So, all those moles and skin spots… be sure as hell I am getting those looked at. I’m also going to get to the bottom of my headaches, once and for all.

As I walked out of the hospital I exhaled and felt a definite sense of relief, but I also was oddly bummed out that it meant I couldn’t get La Perla customized breasts after all. That was my one silver lining. If I was going to have cancer, I would come out with implants and perfect La Perla sized breasts. Oh well, guess I will have to be happy with cancer free breasts instead of manufactured cleavage. In all of this, the best lesson I can find is this… if you have insurance, USE it. Get things checked out people. Been how long since a comprehensive exam? Get one. I know they are [fill in blanks], but they are necessary and they could save your life, or at least, your small and perky, yet imperfectly shaped for La Perla (sigh) breasts.

Thanks everyone.

 

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I hit the pause button. I didn’t delete my profile, I just deactivated it. The idea of dating right now is exhausting and NOT in that fun and thrilling kind of way. The slew of douche bags (hello fiscally conservative guy who feels put upon by the poor), Utopian seeking (hola neuro surfing Aussie who wants pretty smiles and hot kisses BUT no real life), frigid/fickle-tons (flirting in the last 5 seconds of the date and kissing me ONLY then and never touching me… if you like me, touch me, if you don’t, stop calling me…PLEASE), with crazy ex’s (turns out Virginia’s ex was the cause of his flake…and I thank him, as she might have boiled all of my neighbors pets in a Glenn Close move, had he and I actually successfully gone out again)…. has broken me. I’m broken.

With my stalled career, lack of true income, unresolved health issue, and general malaise regarding being 37 and farther behind than I feel I should…I just can’t fake the dating right now. All I have the energy for is the comfort of old dances and familiar hands, as much as you may disagree, it’s the one solace I have at the moment, and it’s good that it came around when it did, because this is what I need.

 

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That’s my new life hashtag. I’ve spent COUNTLESS (okay, roughly 22 so far) hours on the phone with a representative or on hold or being transferred between departments while trying to secure health insurance. I have now brought in public health advocates and at first they seemed helpful, until the insurance representatives decided they no longer would release information to them as my advocates. Then I needed to call them back and sit on the phone and re-explain everything, because I LOVE doing that and it is SUCH a productive use of my time. Now, I get a call at 4:45 from one of the insurance reps, while I am in the “powder room”, only to come out to a message that asks me to call them back but… a) doesn’t leave a direct line to return the call (meaning I need to WAIT ON HOLD for another 45 minutes to get through to a person) and b) the kind gentleman (I can hear him smiling as he says this) states that,” but, sorry, the office is now closed, so, you’ll have to call back tomorrow.

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.  Any hot Dutch, German, or even Canadian gay men out there that want a hot “beard” for a green card? Quid pro quo baby… I want your healthcare. Please.

On a side note, remember how I tried to diet last year and it went no where? Well, one good thing that has come out of my unspoken sexual misadventures as of late… inspiration, motivation and a sense of competitiveness. A certain gentleman lost 12 pounds by working out and changing his diet, so that made me harrumphf and state loudly to the universe, if HE can lose 12 pounds in 2 months, I can lose ten in less! Damn it. {foot stomp} Well, week 2 finds me down almost 3 pounds! I starting running several times a week. Cut out all sugar (except fruit), reduced coffee intake to 2 a week (!!), reduced dairy intake (cheese addict here, ahem), and stepped away from the charcuterie. So far, so good. The weather is going to kick my ass this week though, as the temps dropped and I just can’t run in weather below 50. I get too cold. I know, I’m a pussy. I do have a 5k in sight though. Fingers crossed.

Hope everyone is well.

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Sometimes we all need perspective. We complain about our bad day, the traffic, the wait at the Starbucks… we curse our life. Our luck. Tonight they pulled Type Geek’s brother off of the machines. The constant transfusions that were keeping him alive, stopped. An IV drip kept him sedated and pain-free.

Meanwhile, I waited on impatient people. A Saturday night of delays, refires, wait times, and people who cursed their luck to get the table below the speaker or the beer 8 tickets deep behind 16 multi ingredient cocktails. They should thank the universe that they had the chance to wait for a table, to drink a beer or have their food refired. Someone somewhere isn’t so lucky. Someone is having their hand held as they slowly pass. Some painfully, some quietly, some alone, with no one to hold their hand and say good-bye, thank them for their friendship, their love, their existence.

We are all guilty of the complaints. Maybe for a few days, a week or even a month, we can consider that we have so much more than someone else and that getting the wrong drink from Starbucks is a small miniscule thing.

Hug the people you love. Tell them that they matter. Live your days because someone else can’t.

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His brother is dying. Maybe not today, but soon. He allowed a problem, an illness, to fester without care for so long, that now even organ transplantation may not be enough. Bleeding doesn’t stop, body doesn’t heal, mothers become histrionic and require tranquilizers and brothers try to stay strong for everyone.  All I can offer Type Geek is an ear, shoulder or embrace. No words help.

Type Geek and I were on a super pleasant dinner date, halfway into a bottle of wine, when mom kept calling. I told him to call her while I ran off and used the restroom. I came back to find him rather ashen. I waited a moment and asked what was wrong. Apparently his brother was rushed to the emergency room after being found in his room vomiting blood and bleeding from an ulcerated skin wound that wasn’t healing. Sigh. He opted to finish dinner and have me sleep over still; there wasn’t anything he could do. Surgery was scheduled for the morning. Until post surgery, he was useless to the mix. 

Saturday morning we lazed on his couch after breakfast, I rubbed his feet as he looked at mid-century furniture on-line and we both drank coffee. He told me that he didn’t think his brother was going to pull through this, and I tried to reassure him that he would, of course he would. Only, Sunday evening I received a text that said the family was  “saying goodbye”. Bleeding wasn’t stopping. The doctors had little hope and suggested the family rally and make their peace. Monday was spent bedside, mother heavily tranquilized, with Type Geek keeping everyone calm. The bleeding had slowed, but it hadn’t stopped. The doctors said that it is now up to the brother as to whether he survives this week. It was a miracle he made it until Monday. I spent the entire day yesterday at work trying to figure out what to write, what to say. I’m left without many words here. All I can do is be present and receptive and supportive, nothing else I could say, or do, will make a difference here. So, I find myself unable to write anything clever and witty for you today. I am not a religious person, but I ask that everyone keep good energy in their hearts for Type Geek and his family.

Thank you everyone for all of your support of my journey and the tales along the way. I really do appreciate every one of you readers.

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kpd nkldvs

At 2 am I was awoken by a text message from Type Geek that said, roughly, what I typed above. Feeling dirty, I texted back, “Did your penis just text me?”. “Pretty much”, was his response. He was restless, couldn’t sleep, and so he rolled over and grabbed the phone and in doing so, accidentally sent me a gibberish message. I told him to take a hot shower to get back to bed, and then I changed my approach and sent him a nude photo, because I was feeling frisky. He responded excitedly that,” masturbation would definitely help.” So, I followed that an idea of what he could think about while doing it. Apparently he woke up a horny girl. He apologized for waking me but I insisted that it was a nice surprise, as now I was able to deal with some business of my own while imagining him dealing with his.  

It definitely is feeling like things are moving in a positive direction with him. I know that he has trust issues, so, baby steps and no expectations, but counting my blessings each step of the way. Especially the late night dirty ones.

While I slept soundly the rest of the evening, I awoke with the flu. Yes, sick again. I was awake long enough to put the laundry is in the washer, consume an orange and take my temperature. Alternating hot and sweaty, then cold and shivery, I spent the remaining part of the day in bed, except for a brief moment when I crawled out of bed to write this post. Ugh. I am not pleased with the germ girl at my new work. Every time I work near her, I get sick. It’s almost reason enough to reconsider this job.

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You might know you are a bit of a Bridezilla when you host a surprise wedding party at your uncles 75th birthday and after watching him have a heart attack, flatline for 4 + minutes and be brought back by a defibrillator, your response to the staff of the place hosting the event is, ” so, salads?!”  Really? I can understand that people deal with shock and grief in different ways, but for me, an appetite and having a wedding are NOT the ways I do so. I mean, do you really want to always have your wedding mentioned in the same breath as the time your uncle had his heart attack and died for several minutes?!

I have never been that goal orientated in regards to social/cultural milestones. Perhaps because my early milestones were shattered and I didn’t do the get your license, go to prom, graduate and go to college like everyone else that I knew. I moved, a pedestrian with a couple suitcases, I moved to Colorado and lived on the couch of someone I didn’t know while I got some bearings and found a job and a place of my own. Then I became a photographer. Then I became a lesbian, or realized I was, that is. And so, life in Denver was what it was. Beautiful and boring. I moved to NYC.. they blew up towers in my Brooklyn back yard while I photographed it with this girl I had just met. That girl would become my fiance shortly after terrorists blew up two other towers in Manhattan later that summer. Fitting that the relationship would eventually implode as well. She is in L.A. now, married to some other girl, the girls she slept with here. Just an affair she called it. Meaningless. She was a relationship jumper though, leaving one by finding another. That’s what she did when she met me, and that’s what she did when she met her. Someday she will leave her and she will do it on the coat tails of another. Looking back, I can’t imagine my life with her. She held me under water because my breathing scared her. Eventually her chronic suffocation would have killed me.

The wedding though? Crimson red raw silk gowns…that is what I pictured for both of us. Everyone else in white and black… us in red. At the Unitarian Church. In the evening. Candles. I guess I kept a little of that past life as a goth. Until Type Geek, I wasn’t sure how to connect that part of my past with my current life. But his love of goth style imagery, skulls, etc. has reawakened a deeper part of me that makes me laugh. My friends are horrified to find out that I am giving him an animal skull for christmas. It’s something he has wanted for years though, so why should it matter if it is for Christmas or Birthday? It’s a well thought out gift with meaning … that just happens to come from a dead animal.

Now, how do I feel about these milestones? As I have grown older? Is marriage something I consider. I’m not sure. Children? I’m almost 36… they haven’t exactly been something I have been jumping through hoops wanting. Aside from my health concerns regarding childbirth,  I’m not sure of the type of parenting I could provide and certainly, at this point, financially I couldn’t provide anything. I love kids, but I have always been of the mindset of loving OTHER people’s kids. I make a great auntie. I would probably make a great step mom. I guess I would have to reconsider all my answers to these questions if someone I loved truly wanted and felt incomplete without one or the other. Are they somewhere I would be comfortable going?

All I can hope is, that if I ever DO get married, no last rites are given at my pre-ceremony reception because of a guests heart attack mid passed hors d’oeuvres. Perhaps I will stick a defibrillator in the trunk of the car, just in case.

p.s. The man lived and was in stable condition, the last everyone heard. The wedding? It went on. Uncomfortably, but it went on. The cake? A few pieces were left and the staff working the party shared the almost dead Uncle’s piece.

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