I think I have officially crossed the line from being an aching client to a professional patient. I have files in my cabinet of all my previous and current doctors. Past blood studies, X Rays, MRIs on every part of my body imaginable, and reports from specialist in San Fransisco. My primary doctor is trying to help me as much as she can before she leaves to take on a Hospitalist job at two of the local hospitals. She has changed my pain doctor and my endocrinologist because she has concerns about my current treatments. I will still be in the same clinic, but I will greatly miss her. I hope my new doctor is half as good as the one I have now. I have been blessed.

My current primary doctor was concerned about some vertical color panels on my fingernails. She said sometimes it is an indication of melanoma. The physician’s assistant took a look at it and talked to me at great length and scheduled a biopsy. It was supposed to happen in a week because my grandchildren were coming. The PA wanted me to be seen by the doctor and when I got there and saw that the lobby was full, I looked over at my care provider and said, “I bet this appointment is a bust”. It sure was. The doctor came in the room and after 30 seconds, said nothing is wrong with me, I just have eczema of the nail. I looked it up on my computer and printed out the various nail diseases. I am not hoping for cancer, but I darn sure don’t have crumbling nails that pull away from the skin and have red dots on them. I had none of those symptoms. I just want to know what I do have. Is that too much to ask? I am frustrated at the kind of doctors that don’t listen to you and they dismiss your concerns. I am getting a second opinion on Monday with a doctor’s assistant that I know and trust.

My two grandsons, Colten and Justin, are my heart. The love that I feel for them makes me feel like I will bust. Since I saw them both before school, I bought all kinds of schools supplies in cool colors. I also got them a plastic brain and heart that looked like they came from a meat department and I let the boys pick which one they wanted. We did CPR with the heart when we discovered that it took air well are re-inflated. If you picked the brain, you could decide if it is normal or not….or the lack of a brain can have all kinds of interesting twists. We had great fun. I had also bought the latest Alice in Wonderland and we watched that while we ate pizza. Then, there was the game that I always buy for them to take home. I bought the game “operation”. Is that irony? My illness bleeds into my attempts at fun. But, we had fun playing operation and I didn’t want the day to end. Neither did they.

 I had my care provider, Alicia, there in case I had problems  because I had just finished a rather difficult emptying syndrome. Toward the end of our visit, I got shaky and my blood pressure went up, but the boys never knew, and that is the way I wanted it. I knew things were going well when the youngest asked me to please take out my teeth “one more time”. Of course I did it, but both of the boys regretted it when I went after them with what looks likes fish kisses. They hate the noises I make.

My oldest grandson, Colten, is 11 and got his first electric guitar with amp and ear phones so he won’t disturb the family. I have his autograph in a teddy bear frame. He didn’t have his guitar with him, but I have an electric  harp that comes with rhythms. Both of the boys had a lot of fun with it and Colten sang, timidly at first, but after I heard him and told him he had a good voice and sang out loud. I confess. I am the loud grandma that will play hide and seek with you when she can. Listens to you when you talk about your life and your dreams and you want them to know that all things are possible. You should have seen us play the game of life. We had a pay check, but we also had taxes and student loans. They both learned a lot in a fun way. I want them to remember me that way.

My care provider says that I act a lot better than I feel. I think I do that on purpose. I am fighting against the isolation that I wrote about before. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t think any of us do. But, when I am having explosive diarrhea all day and I am weak and dehydrated, there is no choice except to be isolated. At those times. I take a long showers and use all my fragrant lotions and put on something that makes me feel pretty. Me and me alone. I arrange all my little meals into a chef’s plate, make myself feel special and then find something that I would like to do. My illness limits me, but there are still possibilities. We all have passions inside us and mine seems to be rumblingin my gut and believe me, I listen to it. My surgeon may have shortened my life, but I am going to enjoy every minute I can. Last month I had 19 good days out of 31, that is better than the sixteen I had the month before. Those days are tiny celebrations, even if they are for only one. I am worth it.  Keeping a food journal has been vital for me.When my iron was getting dangerously high and so was my vitamin B6. I found the sources and made adjustments or eliminated them. It also helps when you have to look back, if you put what vitamin is in which food. I learned the hard way. Read those labels, it is so important.

Before I took control of my health, I just went from pill to pill, but now I know I can eliminate some pills by diet, but others, I need help and there is no shame in that. I hated iron IVs that take six hours and now, through eating foods with iron in them, my iron count is good. I wish it worked with potassium and sodium. But, we do the best we can do. No matter if you had a gastrectomy, vagotomy or a gastric bypass, the issues are very similar and I imagine the emotions are too. I figure if I eat right and excersise when I can, I am doing the best I can for my body. My breathing exercises calm me down and help me focus, so I can heal. I listen to jazz to put a twinkle in my soul. We have to do what works for us. I have to remind myself that my beauty is in my heart.

Treasure yourself and your loved ones and I will write soon,

Elaine