Thursday, July 11, 2013

Doors and windows

A ton has been going on in the past couple months for our family. Around the beginning of May, I had a cold. But right around the time I was supposed to be feeling better, I noticed some symptoms I haven't had the other bazillion times I've had colds in the past 12 months. I was worried I might have pneumonia or bronchitis, so I went to the doctor's office on Friday before Mother's Day. She assured me I had neither and sent me off with a prescription for antibiotics "just in case."

Because I'm not one to go to the doctor demanding drugs, nor am I one to take antibiotics "just in case", I hung on to them. But the day after Mother's Day when things weren't getting better, I decided to go ahead and take them. I just had a feeling my doctor was wrong and it wasn't something that would just go away on its own.

Fast forward almost a month (yes, I'm serious) and several phone calls and doctor appointment, and I wasn't any better. In some ways, I was actually worse. At that point in time, I had gone through one round of antibiotics, been given a regular inhaler and a steroid inhaler, put on steroids, put on a cough medicine, told I was having an asthma attack (for days, apparently, if that was what was actually going on), puked countless times from coughing so hard, and lots of other fun stuff. My doctor, who up until that point in time had insisted I didn't have pneumonia, had done no tests whatsoever. She had listened to my lungs and checked my ears and nose and throat, and that was about it. Oh, and written or called in prescriptions (although technically an on-call doctor called in a prescription for an inhaler over the weekend one Sunday because of my difficulty breathing and hopes that something like that would help).

So, my doctor finally ordered a test. But it wasn't a simple chest x-ray or lab work or anything like that. It was a $850 (my portion, anyway) chest CT.

Then she told me I had a "nodule" that was about 8.5 cm in my lungs. Turned out a week later that there had been a typo and it was only 8.5 mm. I thought the crisis was over. But she still wanted me to see a pulmonologist, so I had an appointment scheduled with one for today, not sure if I really needed to see one.

Then Joe got laid off from his job right before July started. We're baffled as to why, but we are looking at it as a blessing in disguise. We have cut expenses and are making ends meet and trying not to dip into our emergency savings, but he also got a severance check from work. Luckily, we still temporarily have insurance coverage, which will cover today's appointment.

So, I went in to see the pulmonologist, hoping and almost sure he'd say the issues I was having were due to pneumonia (yeah, that turned out to be what my doctor diagnosed me with after the chest CT) and that the nodules were nothing to worry about. But he can't say that without further testing. Because of the location of the nodule, a biopsy wouldn't be easy to do. So I had blood drawn to test for Valley Fever and will have a PET scan done sometime next month, and then I'll have a follow-up appointment with him. Fun stuff. Basically, he's looking to see if the nodule in question (and others in my lungs) are due to an active infection or if they are left over from some old infection but are inactive. Once he has that information, he'll know what he wants to do for the next step.

So, for now, as I've been doing since the beginning of May, I wait. I am glad that I was given a second round of antibiotics when the doctor found out it actually WAS pneumonia and started feeling better almost immediately. I haven't puked for probably between 2 and 3 weeks now. I'm breathing better and using my inhaler less frequently.

So some doors are closing and windows are opening and hopefully answers will be found soon. Things may be changing drastically here in the near future. We shall see.


Karena Alyse said...

please keep writing, here or on facebook, or an email. i'd like to know how you are doing when you get some answers. love you!

BeatlesDiva said...

I love you and hope that everything is well with you and your family.