......makes you stronger, or so Ms. Clarkson sings in her hit "Stronger," a personal favorite of my lovely and talented daughter.
Actually, this has been my creed pretty much all of my life. As the daughter of two people who had to restart their lives twice in two new countries before the age of 40, I've learned that you have to "suck it up and tough it out" throughout life. My parents made sure I learned that lesson early.
Lest I get too complacent about the blessed life I lead, having a devoted and loving husband and two healthy and intelligent children, I had a small setback in my health in late December. Late, as in the day after Christmas. As in I didn't get my hospital discharge until New Year's Eve. Talk about cutting it close; I got home around 3:00 p.m. on NYE, and I had a party to attend at 7:00 p.m.! For the record, I made it. :)
So here I sit on my couch for the past several weeks, trying to recover from a massive hematoma that decided to take up residence in my abdomen, restricting most of my movements. Rest and relax, the doctors have instructed. It will take time for this menace to dissolve and for life to return to normal. Blah, blah, blah....yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm getting pretty sick of looking at these four walls. I never realized how much time I DON'T spend at home until I had to spend the last few weeks at home ALL DAY. Ugh. Still, better to recover at home on my recliner couch than in the hospital with no freedoms, right? And the other upside? Coumadin is no longer part of my medical regimen. Yay for the release from rat poison! Apparently, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Hmmmm.....you think? For the girl who never, ever has had a blood clot (despite having a genetic clotting disorder), ummm....yeah, I think the risk is greater than the benefit. For now.......
As far as the "other" rare medical condition goes, the thing about progressive diseases is you never know what's related and what's not. A simple cold, or is it bronchitis? Do I have pneumonia? Am I imagining things? It was indeed a simple cold and allergies that produced the heavy cough I had, a cough that resulted in a broken blood vessel that resulted in the abdominal hematoma. Huh, go figure...........
The goal of treatment for progressive, incurable diseases is to arrest the progress. Pretty obvious, right? Arresting the progress is the goal, regression is a pipe dream. One can hope, and there is always hope, but realistically it's normally not in the realm of possibilities.
When I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension, my pulmonary artery pressures were in the 100 - 105 range. (I don't understand what the unit of measure is, but know whatever the unit is, normal range for a healthy person is around 25 - 30.) Since being diagnosed in 2005, I have had a yearly echocardiogram and one follow up heart catheterization which have confirmed pulmonary pressures in the 100 - 105 range. In 2011, after my hysterectomy, my echo indicated pressures in the 90 - 95 range. Wait.......what? You mean it showed a regression? How about that? :) I guess that surgery was a good idea.
And now, January 2013. I visited my cardiologist this part Friday to have my annual echocardiogram and my post-hospitalization follow up. I'd already had a follow up with "Dr. Dracula" (my hematologist, who signed off on the release from Coumadin) and with my pulmonologist (who concurred with Drac), and now I was to have my ticker checked.
My echo technician was quite accommodating to my need to lie flat on my back and NOT on my left side (where my hematoma resides). She assured me that she could see my heart from all necessary angles with her ultrasound wand.
She scoped. She probed. She scrunched her brow. She called up my past tests. She studied. She made all sorts of sounds such as "Huh!" and "Hmmm....."
She finally looked at me and said, "You need to see this. I mean.......I'm confident in my numbers, but it's pretty incredible. Of course, we'll have to see what the doctor says, but I'm confident these are right."
She explained what the screen was showing me. Then she called up my test from last year and the previous year. And then she pointed to a number on the screen and said, "And that's your current pulmonary artery pressure."
I stared. And I blinked. And I stared some more. And then I said, "Are you shitting me?!"
She laughed. "No, I'm not." And she grinned.
The screen read 50 - 55.
And now I'm standing a little taller, and my footsteps are a little lighter.
Miracles happen. I am stronger.
Now, if I could only translate that into a winning PowerBall ticket.