Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ultrasound: November 2nd

I finally got something in the mail notifying me of an ultrasound appointment. It will be on the morning of November 2nd. Hopefully this will give some insight into whatever is making my abdomen grow. I wish it could be sooner, but I guess this is soon enough.

The shingles are going away. The rash is clearing up. The pain is still with me, but as long as I keep taking the pain pills, it's not bad.

The constipation has cleared up thanks to a dose of fiber!

Thanks to everyone who is concerned.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Medical Update

The pain medicine is helping a lot, thank God. Unfortunately, I often experience some severe pain before I realize that I need to take another pill. And one pill only seems to last for a few hours. I don't know much about shingles, so I don't know how long the pain will last - how long I will need to take the pain pills (I mean days, weeks, etc.). I only hope it goes away soon because, damn it hurts!

I need to find an alarm that will go off every three or four hours so I'll know before the pain starts when it's time to take another pill.

I know I have another appointment on November 2nd, and it's probably for my ultrasound, but I haven't received notice in the mail yet. I called the hospital's automated phone system which will tell me when I have an appointment, but it won't tell me what the appointment is for. So the appointment on the 2nd could be for the ultrasound, or it could be for a different unrelated routine exam.

My brother warned me that the pain pills can cause constipation, and that may be happening. An explanation would probably be more than anyone wants to hear, so I won't explain!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One Diagnosis Down, One To Go

I went in to see the doctor today. I found out that the rash and severe pain are indeed Shingles. Someone commented as much on my last post, and he/she was right. Thanks, Anonymous. The doctor prescribed a pain pill and an anti-viral pill which I'm taking now.

The other problem - the distended abdomen - is still a mystery. The doctor did that thing where he tapped on my abdomen with his fingers and all he could say was that it didn't sound like it was gas. He didn't say "sound like." He used some more technical, medical term. He sent me for an X-ray, which I got today, and he's scheduling me for an ultrasound, to be done as soon as they can fit me in. Hopefully one or the other, or both, will let them know why I look like the octomom when she was pregnant. There are apparently several things that could be causing this. The doctor didn't like my suggestion that I've been knocked up by an alien (the space kind, not the immigrant kind). (I've decided to name it "Dave.")

I guess the pain pills are working, because I haven't felt any of the shingles-related burning pain. But other pain is present, like the pain I've recently started having in my lower back, right side. Wouldn't the pain pill work for that pain, too? The pain medication is Tramadol, in case you're reading this and think it might make a difference.

I will update the blog as information becomes available.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I'm Sick

I don't know what I have, yet, but I know I'm sick. I'm trying to get in ASAP to see a doctor, but right now I'm stuck with a November 9 appointment. I'd have gone in before now, but frankly, I just thought I was getting fat. My stomach/abdomen keeps getting bigger and bigger, and it's very hard to the touch. Anyone have any horror stories about a "hard, distended abdomen"? I'm starting to look very much like the "octomom," and I've referred to my extra girth as my alien baby. To my recollection I haven't had sex in many years, so if I am pregnant it's got to be an alien because I don't remember the conception. (Could it be immaculate? I don't really think I'm God's type.) It isn't causing any pain - just discomfort and tiredness, of course. And I can barely button the one pair of pants that still fit. (I am also experiencing some occasional severe - five out of five - pain, which I will also bring to the doctor's attention, but I don't think it's related.) This all started several months ago. As I said, I just thought I was getting fat. I frequently weighed myself but my cheap scale didn't show any weight gain. It seemed like all the fat in my body was migrating to my abdomen. Not long ago someone told me about a relative who had this same problem who turned out to have cirrhosis of the liver. That's when I got online and looked up "hard, distended abdomen." And that's when I decided I need to get in to see the doctor before whatever this is gets worse. No, I don't think I have cirrhosis of the liver, but I think I've got some medical condition that's causing my abdomen to grow.

Go ahead. Make your fat jokes. "What would cause my abdomen to get extremely big?" "Eating the Combo number 2 at Sonic." Ha ha. I don't think whatever this is will kill me, so you won't have to worry about burning in hell!

The other things that are probably not related: Around the beginning of October I was sitting here at my computer and I coughed, as I often do. But this time it felt like someone had taken a white-hot poker and stuck it in the fold between the bottom of my stomach and the top of my right thigh (the five out of five pain I mentioned). Now, this has been happening off and on since then, with varying degrees of pain from 1 to 5, on a scale of 1-5 (which is what the VA hospital likes to use). I also noticed a very serious rash near that area - on the lower part of my stomach a couple of inches above where the pain is centered. All I've been able to do about that is apply over-the-counter cortisone cream. I'm not feeling any pain or itching from the rash.

So, I don't think I'm going to die, but if I do this blog entry may provide some insight into what happened. Meanwhile, if anyone has any ideas, do let me know.

Oh, and if it turns out to be a basketball-size tumor and it gets covered by the press, I'll share that with you.