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My Lyme has relapsed.

I’m starting back on antibiotic treatment ASAP. It’s going to be more aggressive, with variants that also address Bartonella (which we can’t rule out – it was a possibility in May, as well) added to the mix. Instead of 2 at a time, I’ll now be on 3.

The mastoid-cell infection was the harbinger. It was either a reaction to my immune system being depressed, or a flare-up of an infection that was already settling there when I got diagnosed the first time around (see: multiple tonsillitis and lymph involvement prior). I figured, because I was under the impression (or at least hoping) that my Lyme was in remission, that it was just my body being stupid and allowing some random part to get infected, but apparently not.

See, the reason I had no idea what the hell those pockets were is because I never had a reason to. I NEVER get any sinus infections without involvement of the sinuses in my face. And those were X-rayed 2 weeks before the CT, and were clean – and the way my face/eyes have felt (as well as the amount of mucous coming out of my nose) hasn’t changed at all. I don’t have the sniffles, though I can tell I’m having allergy issues. It’s just draining straight down, and some of it’s going into my ears and just…gathering.

When I told my LLMD that this whole deal with the vertigo and migraines started a few weeks after I stopped my antibiotics for Lyme, he stopped asking questions and just went, “Oh.”

It’s funny how one word, with the right inflection, can completely pop whatever balloon of hope you’re holding.

 

There are other indications, and he basically clinically diagnosed me all over again, so it’s not just this one thing that we’re going off of. It’s just the most significant, because it’s so weird. I’d have to get the Igenex test, again, to be sure, but that’s $300 that I can’t afford to spend, and which would be put toward more immediate bills were I to have that money.

 

So last year I was all scared because it was being intimated that I might have a cancerous tumor growing outside the usual confines of such a thing, and this year my Lyme’s back in full swing.

And people wonder why I hate my birthday.

 

Woo! Infections! Yay!

So no one called me back about my CT results, and I left a message for my doctor’s office, yesterday, to find out what the heck is going on. I got a call back, today, in which it was assumed I’d already gotten my results, so the nurse was kind of curt with me at first.

I said that the reason I had left the message was because I hadn’t heard anything, and she immediately softened, so that’s good. I think she thought I was asking for more pain meds or something – but no, I’d like to treat the cause, kthx.

So after that, she said, “Oh, you have sinusitis. …we had to use a CT to find it because of where it is.”  So I have a sinus infection in my jaw, essentially.

I feel like yelling ‘CALLED IT!’ would be completely juvenile, and yet…

Anyway, I’m going to be on more antibiotics to treat, because my immune system is apparently still trying to get the hang of things after the Lyme treatment.

I’m irritated, but I knew this was going to happen in some form (the body going AGH WHAT’S THAT to invaders because it hasn’t worked in a while), so it’s good to know where it is and be getting some treatment for it.

And I have my Lyme appointment tomorrow, so I’ll update him on this status, and maybe things will progress some more.

…whee.

The CT image CD is haunted, you guys.

I got here intending to simply write about what a smart (doctor) friend told me about the weird cavities I pointed out in the last post (they’re called mastoid air cells, more on that in a second), but when I pulled up the images on the CD that was given to me, I found a new one.

It wasn’t there last night, and one of the ones that was there last night? Isn’t there, today.

Here’s the old one (made much smaller because you’ve seen it before):

With the CRAZY EYEBALL in the upper left.

With the CRAZY EYEBALL in the upper left.

And here’s the new one (which appears to be on the same level as the fleshy one from last time):

WHERE THE HELL DID YOU COME FROM?

WHERE THE HELL DID YOU COME FROM?

I’m not crazy. I double-checked to make sure there were NO OTHER IMAGES yesterday, and now one that was there, before, is missing, while this one’s in its place (complete with different positioning labels that match the other fleshy image).

I’m so confused.

Anyway, this doesn’t really change what I was going to say, which is that after learning what they were, I could FINALLY looked them up to see if it’s normal for them to be different sizes, among other things, because I GOTSTA KNOW.

Apparently it’s normal for them to vary in size if you have a history of ear infections. My mom said something really vague on my Facebook yesterday that was pointed in that direction, and yes, I grew up with near-constant ear infections, so that’s the size difference explained (even with a slight head rotation in the CT, that size difference is SIGNIFICANT, I mean, LOOK AT IT).

You learn something new every day! AND, it seems that without that mastoid air cell being developed, drainage in the ears doesn’t really have a place to go (since it’s technically a sinus), so that could be causing the swelling of my ear canal, etc., at different times.

And…tah-fucking-dah, I guess.

.

Vertigo, migraine, CT, all that fun stuff.

Last month, before my surgery (and part of the reason I was so concerned with possible hormonal involvement, anyway), I got a bad migraine that manifested first with vertigo. The headache persisted for over a week. I was put on fioricet, which is apparently very good for some folks, but didn’t help me much. It eventually dissipated, though I’m not sure why.

This month, over a week ago (last Friday), the exact same thing happened – I was doing the same stuff as before, lounging while browsing the web on my laptop in bed, got the vertigo, then ended up with an awful headache. I’m still having that headache despite Norco (used to be lortab) and continued use of fioricet.

I had a CT scan today, because my doctor wanted to see if there was anything structurally wrong with the bones in my head, or the spaces in those bones. I got a copy on CD, because it’s what I do. (I got vertigo and blacked out during the scan, but more on that, later.)

Nothing looks remarkable to me in the front or side views, but the bottom-up is…awkward. I know my skull is pretty asymmetrical, but the disparity between that cavity on the right side (lower quadrant, outer edge, really hard to miss) and the one on the left is really weird:

As usual, click to embiggenate. Personal details removed.

As usual, click to embiggenate. Personal details removed.

The one where they move down the skull a bit and show more tissue/fluid is even weirder looking:

You can see my earlobes. That makes me giggle.

You can see my earlobes. That makes me giggle.

Also, because it’s HILARIOUS seeing my fillings, here’s a full frontal of my skull. Sexy:

HI THERE.

HI THERE.

Oh, I might as well show you the side view, too:

It looks like I have no bones in the front of my face, and my jaw is extra-dense.

It looks like I have no bones in the front of my face, and like my jaw is extra-dense (which it actually is from grinding my teeth).

Fun fact: the vertigo always feels like it hits me from the left side, and cleaning my left ear with Q-tips is always a gamble – sometimes the ear canal is nearly swollen shut, sometimes it’s really tender and feels like I stabbed it when I know I didn’t, and other times it’s completely “normal.”

Regarding me blacking out during the CT – I was on my back. The other two times I got vertigo? I was mostly on my back (with my head propped up by pillows). I don’t sleep on my back normally because my boobs are too heavy, so I haven’t experienced this regularly, but I think it’s very significant that I not only got vertigo, but also blacked out, when I was fully on my back and unable to right myself when the dizziness began.

So while this might be BPPV (which is REALLY common, and basically amounts to calcium deposits in your vestibular ear parts), I think it’s still worth exploring with a neurologist (because I need to see one, anyway, because my face and hands go numb and tingly with the vertigo, as well) and an ENT (because, well, ear).

I also have that pulsatile tinnitus on the left side, so again, worth exploring.

 

Anyway, there are some pictures of my skull and an explanation of what I’ve been up to, lately.

New sidebar link – Indie Game Magazine Subscription

I write for Indie Game Magazine. In addition to the website, we have a print mag that can be ordered either as an e-zine or in physical format.

I wrote 4 articles for the July issue – 2 game previews, one game review, and a hardware review (gaming keyboard).

This is my job right now. I am writing articles about video games – indie games – and I’m good at it. I enjoy it. I’m kind of working my ass off right now. I want to get paid for it. Right now I’m getting stipends for mag articles, but I’d like to make money for the articles I write for the website.

The fastest way that’s going to happen is if people subscribe.

So. If you have an interest in video games, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this magazine.

A year’s subscription is $30, via either Magster or Joomag. You can get single issues via Joomag for $2.99. Other subscription options are available.

Links are in the sidebar.

Thanks!

 

Biopsy’s back! No cancer!

I figured it was better to just get to the point in the title.

The two growths were benign granulomas. There wasn’t even endometrium in there, thank god.

They’re not even suture granulomas, because the sutures have long since dissolved. They were just my body being ornery.

 

I asked my doc if it was possible for those things to grow on the other side of the vagina cuff (i.e. internally, where the uterus used to be attached), and he said, “Um, I’m not sure. Stop asking me good questions! You’re making me look bad!” Hahaha.

(Seriously, though, like I said in an earlier post, this is kind of a rare thing, anyway, so the chances of it growing on the side that wasn’t externally sutured is even more rare. It as just a question.)

I have my follow-up in a couple of weeks to make sure everything’s going swimmingly in the healing department, and then hopefully I’m done with this shit for a while, or for good (prefer the latter).

*jazz hands*

Out of surgery!

They removed the polyp/granuloma/whatever, and apparently there WAS endometrium (or something that looked like it, anyway) right next to it, and both growths were removed and sent to the lab. I’ll have results next week (they should be entered into my chart, which I can now access online – technology is ridiculous, y’all).

IMG_20140627_114633

My surgery took something like 15 minutes, from the time I was wheeled into the OR to the time I was wheeled into recovery. I was making jokes and was totally cheerful, and I distinctly remember, right before I was put under, that when they gave me the shot of the muscle relaxer, I was like “I seriously love you guys. You’re going to do GREAT.” My surgeon was holding my hand (for some reason? and I wasn’t hallucinating), and he started cackling.

I woke up very thirsty, and my first question was, “How long was I out?”

I’m not sure what it is about how they wake me up from outpatient surgeries vs. inpatient, but I prefer the outpatient method. I’m awake, aware, able to hold a conversation, and I feel so much more comfortable. Lucid wake-ups are so much better than either painful waking or curse-riddled grogginess.

I had the same check-in nurse as my surgery in April, AND the same recovery nurse. That was kind of awesome.

I’m sincerely hoping that this is the last surgery I have to have for a good, long while.

The cats were very happy to have me home. They descended upon me while Forrest and I were watching Iron Man 3.

House is messy? Zero fucks given.

House is messy? Zero fucks given.

Thank you to everyone for your responses, emails, and even some donations! Things are rough, but I’m seriously hoping they turn around, soon. I’m behind on so many bills that it’s almost a joke.

My current gig, writing for the video game magazine, is okay, and hopefully it’ll start yielding a profit, soon, because with as crappy as I feel most of the time, writing is one of the only things I can do, and writing about video games is ridiculously easy to me, as most of it is subjective. I can judge a game, boy-howdy!

My sleep schedule is all messed up from the painkillers, but I suppose I should try to get some rest, now.

 

I hope y’all are well.

Raaaaining. Looking for some freelance stuff.

Due to surgery concerns and  other fun stuff, my “get rid of the storage unit 2014″ project is being delayed. I was supposed to have all of my stuff out by last weekend, but OH, WELL, shit happens, apparently.

Now I have to come up with another 2 months of payment. That’s $300, and I have no idea where I’m going to get it.

I’m late on both of my credit cards because, you know, life.

I don’t even give a fuck about my student loans, any more, because they’ve become comically late.

Medical bills are piling up, and Forrest and I are basically just like LOL about them because…we can’t really do much.

This surgery coming up is 10%, but it’s just another bill to add to the pile, really.

And now Casey is sick (our cat – she has a UTI), and we don’t have money to help her.

Some nice folks donated so we can get her to the vet, hopefully by Wednesday, but I’m still just so stressed out because I can’t DO anything right now. I’ve been writing for IGM, but it’s not making money at the moment (I get paid very small stipends every month for whatever’s been printed in the actual magazine, but that’s it), so I’m broke with no real prospects.

I just hate having to worry about money when I’m also worrying about this stupid growth. I don’t think it’s malignant or anything to worry about in that sense, but what if the reason I’m having hormonal issues and whatnot along with it is because it’s growing on BOTH sides of the surgery site? That’s a more involved surgery, which means more money, which means more bills, etc.

So I’m going to ask for help, but not in the “just please donate” kind of way – I would like to see if I can do some projects from home, with writing, and make a bit of money. I’m not very gun-centric, any more, but I can write about nearly any topic. I also do a bit of graphics work, and can draw fairly well with my tablet. If you’d like something, please leave a comment with your real email, and I’ll email you and we can talk.

Of course, if you’d like to donate, I won’t say no, obviously. This community has just given so much, and I want to be able to give back, even if it’s in a small way. Also, I like working. I like DOING stuff, and I haven’t been able to do that much, lately (I can’t drive, yet, which is the main wall between me and any employment outside the home – the illness is obviously a factor, but we’re working on that).

I can’t wait until I’m a functioning member of society, again.

Thanks in advance.

 

Surgery date scheduled! It’s quite soon!

This coming Wednesday, the 25th, I’ll have my pre-op visit.

Two days later, on the 27th, I’ll have my combination surgery/biopsy to remove the stupid tumor-thing.

 

If my body could stop generating medical bills, that’d be awesome.

 

I’ll update everyone when I have news.

I have to have surgery, again! *jazz hands*

It turns out that while I may be experiencing symptoms of PMS and an actual period, the bleeding was not, in fact, from endometrium or anything like that.

The short story is that I may have a suture granuloma (rare-ish for the location, because of COURSE it is). The doctor called it a granuloma, then he called it a polyp. Either one can be cancerous, but is more likely due to irritation. Hell, it could STILL be from endometrium (if it’s a polyp), so WELP.

 

If it’s a suture granuloma, it’s BASICALLY an immune reaction to sutures. I had sutures from surgery, my body wasn’t happy about them, and treated them like a foreign body to be eliminated. Keloids from piercings are very similar, except the granuloma doesn’t really form scar tissue, it just keeps building on itself to keep throwing immune system bombs at the offending material.

It’s like a vascular tumor, basically. My surgeon has only seen this three times in his career, and the first time, he tried to just pull it out in the office (because having a bit of dead tissue at the suture site from the flesh healing awkwardly is normal), and the woman started bleeding profusely and had to get into emergency surgery to fix it.

Which, you know, is a story you want told while you’re laying on a table with your lady bits being scrutinized by a surgeon, a med student (it was his first day, by the way), and a nurse.

I did have a bit of dead tissue at the site of the suture at my 6-month checkup, but the surgeon just pulled it off and we moved on – he asked me if it hurt when he grabbed it with a surgical tool, it didn’t hurt enough for me to care, that was the end. That would have been the beginning of a granuloma, but it didn’t get that far. In the two months since that event, my body has managed to make a pretty sizable growth.

If that last thing that the surgeon removed in March was a growth of this type, then there’s a pattern, and so a biopsy will be done, of course, to make sure there’s not something more sinister happening, like a malignancy.

 

The surgeon thinks that this growth is also responsible, somehow, for my hormones going wonky. I guess if my immune system is reacting strongly in my lower abdomen, they could be irritating my ovary or something, but I’m honestly too damned tired to even think about how that process would work.

 

Anyway, I have to have another surgery (outpatient, but still has to take place at a hospital due to blood loss risk), and I just don’t know how to handle 90% of my life, right now, because the pile’s getting too big.

hooooooooooraaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

(surgery is going to be scheduled on Monday – I’ll know more details, then, I guess.)