Back in November I went to the doctor for some kidney pain. I hadn’t had kidney pain quite that bad since I had a kidney stone in 2004, so I figure it was probly time to get things looked at. As this was not my normal doctor, he decided to run some tests to just cover some basis. He found blood in my urine, and therefore scheduled me for a renal ultrasound. And then he got nosy and asked about my menstrual cycle. Since there had been some disruptions to its regularity, and my tubes are tied therefore ruling out pregnancy, he decided to do a blood workup there too. The blood results showed that my hormones were out of whack. The hormone that produces breast milk, prolactin, was elevated. I was showing no other signs but menstrual disruption, but he said the most common cause of this hormone being over-produced outside of pregnancy was a pituitary tumor. He immediately followed that up with that it would NOT be cancer, if that is what it was. But that if left untreated could cause vision disturbances (due to pressure on the optic nerve), headaches, and possible lactation. So he ordered an MRI on my brain just to see what was going on.
I had the renal ultrasound, and stones were found, so they ordered a CT scan of my kidneys to look even closer. Stones and cysts were found, and they diagnosed it as Medullary Sponge Kidney in both of my kidneys. It is a birth defect, and there’s not too much that can be done for it. I have been referred to a nephrologist to find out what he wants me to do. Chances are, there will be nothing besides just keeping an eye on it, drinking lots of water, and changing my diet to prevent more stones. But I will update more when I know more after my appointment in February.
Once that was done, it was time for the MRI. I tried once, but my claustrophobia got the best of me and I panicked. I tried to get an appointment for an open MRI, but since I needed contrast and the place with the open MRI machine didn’t have the equipment to use contrast, I was stuck with the closed MRI. My doctor gave me medication to ease my anxiety and made me another appointment. The day of the MRI I was so nervous, and I really felt like the anxiety meds weren’t working at all. But apparently they did the trick, because I felt relaxed and comfortable in the machine. The tech that was doing the test was wonderful! He walked me through the whole process, explained everything and answered all of my questions. He talked to me through the process, and even let me have loud music of my choosing to mask the sounds of the machine. The lights in the room were blue, so it sort of made what I could see look like a sky. The test only took about 45 minutes, but I was loopy the rest of the day.
Anyway, the test results: I have a 4 mm tumor on my pituitary gland. My doctor doesn’t specialize in that sort of issue, so she referred me to an endocrinologist. I have that appointment in February for that as well. From what I understand, it will likely be treated with medication. Meds will alleviate the symptoms and shrink the tumor in most cases. I will need to be retested every year or two, and this will likely be a lifelong issue for me. The good news is that it is not fatal. The bad news is that the meds could cause some undesirable side effects. Hopefully the endocrinologist will be able to work with me to find meds that will work for the issue and with minimal side effects. *crossing fingers*
The idea of some of the alternatives scare me. The slight possibility of brain surgery in the future if nothing else works, terrifies me. But the possibility of blindness is even scarier. I can’t imagine a life without sight. And the possibility of some of the side effects I may experience with medication being permanent isn’t a very pleasant thought either. But I’m trying my best not to be a worry wart. I’m refusing to read testimonials from people on forums because people generally don’t share their stories on such things if they were good experiences, and I don’t want to scare myself even more. And I want to have faith that the specialist will be able to find the right med for me that will do its job and let me continue to live my life the way I want.
And one more healthy update, before I end this post….
I also went for my initial consultation with a Bariatric surgeon and his team. My insurance requires a minimum 7 month wait for surgery, and in the meantime I have to try to change my diet and lifestyle to be more health-conscious. I need to cut out soda entirely, which I’m willing to work on. I need to eat less carbs like bread, pasta and rice, which is very difficult. I need to eat smaller portion sizes. And I need to get more exercise, even if it means walking around Wal-Mart a couple extra times or parking on the far edge of parking lots for shopping. These lifestyle changes are meant to be permanent, whether or not I go through with surgery. I also have to have a psych evaluation to make sure I’m stable enough to go through with such a big change. I’m sure that will be fine, but in the meantime I will be talking with my therapist about how I can change my thinking and attitude toward food, as well. I know I have a dysfunctional relationship with food, and that’s what I want to fix. Ultimately from this visit and experience, I really want to be able to get these tips and this guidance and lose the weight on my own. I really don’t want surgery. So I plan to follow their guidance, work hard, and see what happens. If for some reason I’m still not seeing results after this 7 months, I will likely resort to surgery. We chose the gastric sleeve surgery for me, if it comes to that. There are fewer side effects in the long term that way.
So that’s all the new stuff that’s been going on in my life in the last 6 weeks or so! Crazy how it all piled on at once. But I must say, Sean, my mom and my boys have all been very supportive and understanding through it all. I don’t know what I’d do without them! Thank you all, I love you. ❤ 🙂