The Diagnosis

Yes, it’s been a while.  I’ve been busy with stuff I never wanted to be busy with.  You all recall my expereinces with my (now) prior doctor- how she refused to treat anything I showed up with, and how she never showed me any respect.  It had been nearly 18 months since I had been in to see her, since the last interaction went so badly.  I finally decided to get copies of my medical records so I could find a new doctor.

Imagine my surprise in reading my chart that I have been pre-to-full-on diabetic for the better part of three years, and that my iron levels were dangerously low.  She never related anything about my blood sugar, and only talked about the anemia in passing, as if it wasn’t such a big deal.  Of course according to her, everything would magically resolve itself if only I would magically lose about 150 pounds.  We all know how well that went.

So I manage to find a doctor in town who is supposed to be a good person.  My first visit, she listens, asks a few questions, does some tests and says that we’re going to get to the bottom of this anemia thing because she’s like a dog with a bone.  I leave feeling like I finally have a real partner in fixing my health for a change.  She says they’ll call me next week with my test results.

Only they call me two days later saying I need to make an appointment to come in NOW to see her to discuss the results.  And I need to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist she’s referring me to right away also.  Warning bells are going off in my head- this does not sound good at all.  I ask the nurse to fax me the lab results, and they actually do it.

Now, I’m no doctor, and I don’t know the first thing about these lab numbers or what the acronyms mean.  So, Wikipedia here I come!  My iron is so low, at only 17, that it’s a wonder I’m functional at all.  No wonder I’ve been so exhausted and cloudy-minded lately!  My blood glucose is 128, fasting.  That could be high or high-normal depending on which scale you’re using.  I’m really more worried about the anemia problem at this point, having read about all sorts of disorders like bone marrow defects that can cause this level of anemia.  The rest of the causes point to a gastro-related issue, which I’m sure I don’t have, because everything seems pretty normal to me.

So I spend the weekend scaring myself to death with the lab results and Googling different diseases, waiting for Monday to arrive and my gastro and new doc appointments.

The gastro tells me they want to schedule both a colonoscopy and an upper endoscopy for the same day.   I try everything I can to get out of this, because the last thing I want to do is have scopes in both ends.  Even in one end.  Any end.  It’s all bad, bad, bad.  Yuck.  And the preparation you have to go through is no fun either.   The PA at the gastro clinic just shakes his head at me and acts like he’s seen all this before.  I’m only 39, I think to myself.  I shouldn’t have to do this for another 10 years.

So off to my new doc I go.  I tell her I’ve already seen the test results and that I’m concerned about the anemia.  She says I also have high cholesterol, which we’re going to treat with medication right away.  This was also another issue that the former doctor knew about but never bothered to treat.  Then the new doc says the anemia is treatable, she’s starting me on Slow Fe to get my iron levels up, but the gastro stuff must be checked out to find the root cause of the problem.  And then the bombshell.

I have diabetes, she says.  I’ve been fine up until now, not emotional, pretty clinical, listing other symptoms I’d forgotten to tell her about last week.  Now I start to tear up, and she hands me a tissue.  She says we caught it early.  With my BG over 126, that qualifies as diabetes, and I’ll likely have to deal with it for the rest of my life.  She says no medication for now, but she’s scheduling me with a dietician and they’ll get me started with a blood glucose meter.

Then I’m off to a City Council meeting in a daze.  My life has just changed, and I’m feeling a little numb.

Next time, the seven stages of grief…

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