Two weeks of as much rest as I can possibly stand.
The trouble with having a rare disease, as I’ve said so many times before, is that you ALSO have real life. You ALSO have “normal people stuff.”
After that early January fall, I was quite consumed with my shoulder, and pretty bothered by the flippant attitude of my breast surgeon. All of which still stew inside of me as the real possibilities of breast implant associated illnesses are all over the news this week.
Just one of the many stories this week outlining a possibility. That’s where it begins. With someone saying it “could” be.
And then there was the new endocrinologist on March 12th. It was a backwards progression of sorts. A referral from the surgeon who has been following me since my PTEN diagnosis. I never really settled into a new endocrinologist after I disagreed with my long standing one in 1998. He was bothered by my questions. I bounced in and out of a few. I found them mostly arrogant and out of touch. I held with one during my pregnancy in 2003, but ditched him soon after my C-section. I had a primary running bloodwork, and I was guiding treatment based on my labs until the Cowden’s Syndrome surfaced.
At that point I was handed off to an endocrine surgeon. The possibility that the half of my thyroid which remained after a partial thryoidectomy in 1993 could fall into the 35% lifetime risk of thyroid cancer that comes along with a PTEN mutation was real. We agreed on annual follow-ups using the ultrasound in her office. All was smooth until February 26th, when she saw some calcifications on the ultrasound. She got spooked and wanted a “fresh pair of eyes.” She referred me to an endocrinologist in her hospital.
He sent me for a “proper” ultrasound before my appointment. He then, with some promising knowledge of what a “Cowden’s” thyroid looks like, went through the images from the exam. He told me that there were some potentially concerning features, but nothing that appeared urgent. He questioned why I had not been using the formal ultrasound at the hospital, as there was now no baseline to compare it to. In another episode of wondering why I don’t ask enough questions about my own care, I had to let it pass…
He told me the radiologist would read the ultrasound with more concern than he did. He was right. So there will be another ultrasound in August. We’ll talk about the status of that right thyroid lobe then. In the mean time he offered me a change of medication that in 30 years on Synthroid no doctor has ever entertained. Monday I will begin a lower dose of Synthroid combined with a twice a day dose of T3, liothyronine, in hopes that I might get some of my sought after energy back. With a standing order every 3 weeks to monitor blood levels, at this point, I have nothing to lose.
So back in circle to the “normal people stuff” intertwined in this balancing act. April 18th is still the earliest day to contend with the chronic ear pain and fluid I’ve been handling since September. It doesn’t matter that it has headed into my mouth and is bothering my teeth. That it is somehow messing with the nerves so badly that I ended up with a root canal specialist yesterday. Of course, she won’t touch the painful tooth because no one can know exactly what is in my ear. Pain management. Maybe it’s Cowden’s. Maybe it’s allergies. Maybe it’s simple. Maybe it isn’t.
And then there is that foot. Snagged on a kids chair in a third grade classroom in the middle of teaching a lesson. It knocked me on the floor. I was so worried about the shoulder, and the breast implant that I ignored the foot. At least I tried to.
About 2 weeks after the fall I saw my primary and asked for help. She suggested an MRI. GHI promptly denied the MRI and told me to ice and elevate as much as I could, and reevaluate in 6 weeks. I was left with no choice but to continue a job that kept me more hours on my feet than off. By March 6th I couldn’t take the pain anymore and headed to a podiatrist. He evaluated the foot, ordered Xrays, and got them read within hours. By the next day he had the MRI approved and I went in for the exam. About 72 hours later I got a call asking me to come in to discuss the results.
That’s never an actual good sign.
So when I walked into the office in two sneakers, I kind of suspected that I wasn’t going to leave in both of them. And I was right.
MRI revealed a partial tear of the lisfranc ligament in the left foot. Apparently this is an incredibly rare injury, (insert shock and surprise here) that the podiatrist anticipated before the MRI. Apparently you can only get this injury through a twist and fall, you know, like catching it on a student’s chair mid-step.
I got a soft cast, and a giant walking book. I got pulled out of work for at least two weeks, with no idea when the good people who review these cases will approve this as the clear work-related injury it is.
I have another appointment with the podiatrist tomorrow.
There is State testing at work this week. I’m always there for testing.
But right now I’m actually testing my inner strength. Resting my foot.
I’m preparing for my clearance to return to work. I’m preparing for my ENT appointment. I am preparing to get my ear fixed. I am preparing to get ready to lose the other half of my thryoid. I am preparing for another plastics consult…
And all the preparing in the world won’t matter. Because life will come in the order it wants. That is the lesson for Cowden’s Syndrome and real life…
The dog hair and I will be here until then….
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