Friday, December 24, 2010

Stuffed and Content

Yesterday I tried dim sum for the first time. Here is a wikipedia article about it. It was quite interesting. I'm not sure how much I actually liked, but I am willing to give it another chance. It certainly helped that I was with someone who spoke fluent Cantonese so that I could have some idea about what it was eating. There were a lot of mushrooms involved, which I do not like (it's a fungus!!!!) and I think that contributed to why I did not enjoy it that much. It also could be just the restaurant because I have nothing else to compare it to.

Later, I went out to eat with my dad and some of his friends. We went to a really nice Italian restaurant and the food was really good. I got a dish called chicken Mediterranean which was chicken, pasta, feta cheese, tomatoes and spinach in a lemon sauce. It was so good. The only thing I did not like was that there was no sangria on the menu ;-).

All this eating out stands pretty much against the way I am trying to change my eating habits. I'm all about the home cooked meals, especially as I wage war against prednisone and it's weight-gaining ways. It is so much easier to control what you are eating when you know you prepared it yourself. For example, there is an Au Bon Pain at the hospital that I use. I spent most of the morning and afternoon there on Tuesday and did not feel like paying for parking so my dad went with me to the first appointment and then came back to pick me up after the second. While I was waiting I got some lunch at Au Bon Pain and decided to get their southwestern cornbread for me and my dad. When I got home I looked up the nutritional information of the cornbread and found that it contains 560 calories and 30 grams of fat (!!!). This is over half, and almost all, of the fat that try to eat in one day.

I'm fairly certain that I can make my own cornbread without all the fat and calories. Since I really, really enjoy cooking, I don't mind trying to remake recipes. I'm very happy that restaurants have started to post the caloric content of their menu items because it makes it so much easier when you are eating out. But it also dissuades me from eating out a lot because I can see exactly what I am eating.

Anyway, Merry Christmas Eve to all those who celebrate it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

No Answers, But What Else Is Knew?

I had my appointment with the endocrinologist today and while something being off was definitely noted, what that something may be was not. As I have said before, my calcium levels are high and I have a problem with kidney stones. I currently have a about 4-6 sitting in each kidney and every once in a while it goes acute and causes me a lot of pain. I have never been able to have one of these stones analyzed to find out what they are made of, but with my calcium issues it has always been assumed they are made out of calcium.

The endocrinologists seemed to want to get a better handle on what the stones are made of. Usually when calcium is high, another hormone called the parathyroid hormone will also be abnormal. In my case, the doctor called it "inappropriately normal". This confused them and opens up other possibilities for why my calcium is high. None of which are that good, and none of which I really want to get into right now mainly because it's kind of scary.

The plan for now is to redo the calcium, parathyroid and all of those tests. I'm getting more kidney function tests and some other hormone tests. Then we can make a decision as to whether imaging needs to be done of the parathyroid gland to check for masses and if the doctors need to actually retrieve the stones from my kidneys to verify the stone's composition. Just hearing how the stones would be retrieved made me cringe.

I also saw my endometriosis specialist today and I am reducing my Aygestin. He basically said anytime my prednisone doses are changed around it will interact with my Aygestin and cause the problems I have been having. But since my lungs like to swell up so much, getting off the prednisone is proving kind of difficult.

I'm pretty discouraged. I just want my body to work. There were other alternatives mentioned that are too hard to really think about right now, and my mind is spinning a little bit. It just seems like every time something starts to do right, I fall back into another medical quagmire. And I am getting very sick of it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Well, That's Done

The semester from HELL is over. I finished my last final at 2:30 Friday and went straight home. It took me three hours to get home because I left just in time for rush hour traffic, but it was good to be home nevertheless.

By my last final, my brain was off. It was for my history of film class and I could barely remember any of the movies we had seen over the semester. Hopefully I did not bomb it too badly.

Now I have a whole month off to do NOTHING and it is so wonderful. I do not really have any plans, but that is fine with me. We got our Christmas tree yesterday so I can finally start getting into the Christmas spirit.

I have a couple of upcoming appointments next week. One with an endocrinologist to see about the issues I have with regulating my calcium and one with my endometriosis specialist for some issues I have been having with it. I also got a call saying that I was scheduled to see surgeon in the endometriosis specialist's office, but no one talked to me about that. I really DO NOT feel like having another surgery for it.

I hope everyone has a good holiday

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Belated Thanks and Another ER Trip

Thanksgiving was pretty awesome in my house this year. It was the first time in many years that a we had more family members show up than not. We had some amazing food (I made mac and cheese) in large quantities. My aunt made this pumpkin spice cake that was absolutely divine. I also got to see one of my aunts for the first time in almost two years.

There was only one little problem. I realized, just after the halfway point between home and school, that I had forgotten all my medicines at school. I was so far into my trip home, and just wanted to go home, that I did not turn around. I just hoped that the people at the pharmacy could help me out since I am quite friendly with them. Unfortunately, due to some insurance crap or whatever, I was only able to get some of my medicine. Only 1/3 of my lupus medicines. But I made it through Thanksgiving pretty well with only a few bouts of pain.

Things changed when I got back to school with a horrendous bout of chest pain. I knew what was going on. Over the summer I had inflammation on my pleural membrane, and this felt the exact same way. I called my rheumatologist, who was not in, and spoke to her assistant. The assistant told me to call my primary care doctor, which I did. They told me to go to the ER. UGH. So my roommate and I went and after spending hours there so they could run all sorts of tests I was put back on 25mg of prednisone.

I hate prednisone, as I am sure you know. I have spent many months trying to come off it and then to get put back on the same dose I was on over the summer was so disheartening. Luckily, I am now only on 20mg and will keep reducing rapidly. My cheeks were swollen by the third day.

I have definitely learned my lesson about taking my medicine.

Also that night, I managed to lock myself out of my apartment at 1am, bleed all over the place from a cut in my arm, have a pukingly bad migraine and get a $1500 medical bill. It was very unpleasant.

Anyway, I am two weeks away from the end of the semester. Only 8 exams, two papers, 1 lab report and several smaller assignments to go before I am on a blissful one month break.