Thursday, December 29, 2011

Surgery Has Been Scheduled

When "Doc" (the stomach/liver specialist) saw that my appointment was so far away (Jan. 25), he put in a different sort of consult. He called it a "fee consult," if I recall correctly. This means the consult went to a nearby civilian hospital, Scott and White, also located in Temple, Texas, but the VA will still pay the costs involved with the appointment(s) and the surgery. So, I got a call from the S&W OB/Gyn clinic and was scheduled for an appointment on Tuesday, December 27. Yes, that's right - the appointment was two days ago.

The doctor did a quick exam and talked to me about what's going on inside my abdomen. He said that it would require surgery (which I already knew), and explained what the surgery would do. He said he would make a vertical slit up my abdomen and remove the "growth" - the cystic mass. (I'll have to give up my beauty pageants.) He also said that they would definitely take out the one ovary that it's attached to, and most likely the other one as well, to avoid the same thing happening again. There's also a chance he could remove my uterus, but he won't know that until he actually gets inside to see what's going on in there.

The surgery will be on January 16th, and will require that I stay in the hospital for "four days." I put that in quotes because that's what the doctor said, but I'm not exactly sure what it means. Does it mean four days and three nights, or four days and four nights, or what? At this point I'm not sure. But whatever it means, I've already got everything covered. I have someone to take me there and stay for the surgery, and I have someone to pick me up and bring me home. I also have someone to take care of my pets while I'm gone, and someone to take care of me when I get back.

I'm not worried. Honest. I can't explain why. I guess deep down I know that it's in God's hands and whatever happens, happens. I do know that I'm going to lose a LOT of weight and that I'll be skinnier than I've been for a long time once this is over. Not the best weight-loss program, but I'll take it!! It's no more dangerous than, say, liposuction!

I'll take whatever electronics I can to the hospital with me - my cell phone and my Kindle, for sure. And with those I'll be able to communicate. So stay tuned. I'll keep you all updated. (All three of you.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Women's Clinic

I have an appointment for Jan. 25th. I think it should be sooner, but what do I know?!! More waiting. I ordered maternity underwear. I'm hoping it fits better than regular underwear! Too much information? Sorry. It's an issue.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Update on CT Scan

I just got a call from the specialist I saw on November 22. He said the CT scan shows that I have a cystic mass. He said it looks like it's on (or near) an ovary, so the next step is getting into the Women's Clinic (OB/Gyn) to have them get involved. There's no telling, yet, if this is benign or, gulp, not. I'm not worried! Honest! I've just never been a worrier.

Actually, the specialist said it looks like I have several of these cystic masses. I guess that means that I'm not just carrying one alien baby -- I'm having a litter!!

Of course I looked up "cystic mass" on the Internet and here's the one thing I found that sounds most like what the specialist explained to me:

"A cystic mass basically means there is a lump or swelling there with cysts (fluid-filled areas) in it. Pelvic cystic masses usually come from an ovary, but can grow in other parts of the pelvis. It might or might not be cancer - small ones are quite common and can be harmless."

He said that, if he's right, the mass(es) will have to be removed surgically and I'll lose a lot of weight all at once. YIPPEE!!! (For the weight loss -- not for the surgery!!)

CT Scan This Morning

My morning at the VA Hospital was fun, as always. The notice I received in the mail said I had a lab appointment at 8:30 a.m., but when I got there, there was no record of a lab appointment. So I went on over to the CT Scan area - one hour early - and told them what was going on. They didn't make me sit there too long.

First, I went in and enjoyed a lovely mocha/chocolate barium smoothie. Yum. What a great way to start your morning. Then I had to sit for an hour, to let the barium move around, I guess. I was then called back in to drink a second barium smoothie - banana flavored this time. (I strongly recommend you have the mocha/chocolate if you get a choice.) (I once got to have the barium inserted into my body a different way, and I have to say that I'd rather drink it. Also, I don't know if this other barium came in different flavors.)

After I drank the second smoothie, I had an IV needle stuck into my arm. Pain was no worse than when you donate blood, and once it was in I forgot about it.

Then the fun began. I went into the room with the CT scanner and laid down on the thing you lay down on. (Table?) They didn't ask me to take my clothes off, which surprised me. Instead, they just put a sheet over my bottom half and told me to push my jeans down to my knees. This should be easy to do, right? It's not so easy when you're laying down. Try it. All the way down to your knees. They then hooked up an iodine IV to my IV needle.

The procedure didn't take very long. It was just a matter of laying there and holding my breath a few times for about 10 seconds at a time. We did it once without the iodine IV and then again with the iodine IV.

When the scanner got going real fast, the sound played right into my alien baby story. I could imagine being in the alien's spaceship and having them examining me to gauge the progress of the fetus. Yes, I know I'm weird, or odd, or whatever you want to call me. (I prefer eccentric.) I don't care what you think! I'm going to have fun.

The procedure was finished and I came home. For a procedure that took only about 15 minutes, I was at the hospital for three hours! I'll have to wait for doctors to review the results before I hear any news. I've already sent an email to the liver specialist to give him a heads-up that the test was done today. I'll share whatever news I get, good or bad.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Big Belly - No Fat

I've come to realize that there's actually very little fat on my body anymore. There used to be a lot, granted, but probably, because of the ascites, I've been losing fat. I'm thinking it's because the pressure on my stomach made me eat less. Even so, because my abdomen is so large I'm forced to wear larger clothes, and the larger clothes make me look fat.

I was thinking that it would be nice if people knew that I wasn't fat - that, instead, I have a medical condition that only makes me look fat. One that is out of my control.

You know those shirts that pregnant women wear that say "baby" on front with the arrow pointing to her bump?

I thought about how nice it would be if I had one explaining my "condition."