Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another stepping stone in my journey

I had a physical late last year and the doctor felt my neck and went hmmmm "how long have you had this swollen lymph node?"  beats me didn't even know it was there.  RA meds increase the risk of lymphoma another fun fact about RA :)  So long story short she said I think you should talk to a surgeon to be safe and see what he says. He ordered a CT scan and 3 days later asked me to come back,  he said the CT scan showed numerous swollen nodes and wasn't really sure what to make of it,  I also had to do a gallbladder function test for a separate issue and he said he would review that when I had it done and decide the next step. I never heard back. I didn't have a good feeling about this doctor and I trust my rheumatologist completely so I decided to call him and see his take on it. He called me back immediately and said I want you to see an oncologist I recommend.......don't freak out this is just being cautious and getting a fresh opinion. This is the same oncologist who treats my aunt that had breast cancer, she praised him so I decided to follow his advice and call. He also is a hematologist. I once again had that feeling of he's going to say why are you wasting my time but I knew my rhuemy had called him so he seen the CT Scan which also scared me cause he wanted to see me!
I got in pretty quick and this guy really intimated me. Put me on the spot a few times and I was wondering why my aunt liked him so much lol  So he has his laptop and pulls up my chart and starts talking about my cholesterol and I am thinking ok I know he is hematologist also but he was really going on about my cholesterol. He even said your cholesterol should scare you more then a lymph node cause of your family history of heart disease. My family history is scary. My mom passed away at 49 from a massive heart attack. My grandmother was 55 also a heart attack and I recently found out my great grandmother was 34 which meant my grandma was 2 when her mom died.  This doctor was right I should be scared.  A lot happened at this appointment too much to get all the details straight but he did not sugar coat or pat me on the head and say comforting words he flat out said you will be the next in your family history to die too young if you don't change and if you don't die you will have diabetes. Wow this doctor just put an expiration date on my life. He said "I treat more then just cancer I treat the person. You want my help or want to keep on this path?"
You would think hearing this I would have made some crazy insane changes in my life. As for the lymph node he doesn't think it's anything to worry about but we are monitoring it and he wanted to see me in 2 months.

In this time I signed up for a woman's heart health program geared to prevent heart disease. I tried to eat right and diet. I failed and I failed again. This brings a lot of emotions out in me. I can't figure myself out mentally. In the back of my mind I know I need to do this my life is now depending on it, my son needs me here in 10 years as well as my husband and I still can't get it right. Once again I let RA win.
It kind of reminds me of being in a tornado, my life is spinning out of control and I can't grasp on to anything to make a difference. I get my infusion, I feel great! I eat right and I exercise and I feel good and 2 weeks later my meds wear off and I hurt. It hurts to walk, it hurts to cook it's hard to care. The flare is in control not me. This has been going on so long now that as soon as I have the first sign of the flare I am in shutdown mode, I start to eat bad, I stop exercising and my will to care is gone. There is a voice whispering you can't do it anyway so why care or even try anymore.
I had a follow up appt with the oncologist last week and I tried to explain this to him in a way he understood and in way he kind of went well when you fail we put you on drugs,  we will give you the chance to prove you can't do it. I was thinking at the time would it be so hard to say you can do it you just need to find the strength. But in a way I get why he did cause it really pissed me off lol  so I want to prove to him I can do it so I suspect he played a little mind game with me, but hey whatever works.  On the plus side to this appt he did recommend a workbook for cognitive thinking. He said this could be life changing and get me out of my negative thinking.

I took his advice very seriously and I ordered from Amazon that night and did 2 day shipping so I would have it while motivated.  I'll have to keep you posted since I just started,  but I can say that I already see a change.
A perfect example is when a flare is starting I immediately shut down. Today I started to hurt pretty bad at work and normally I would say no walk and I deserve a cheeseburger lol  Instead I thought what is not going for a walk going to accomplish? I'm going to hurt no matter what so how about a short one and go slow and I bet that accomplishment is going to feel better then a cheeseburger. Guess what? I did my walk, I went slow and took my time and yes I still hurt but RA took the loss this time. So if you have some really negative thinking like me I recommend this book.

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
Friedrich Nietzsche

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