Friday, April 12, 2013

Hemoglobin Smemoglobin

I don’t know why, but I have always scheduled all my annual medical appointments in April. I guess I just like to get them all done around the same time so that I can move on with my life and enjoy the more mild weather that comes with spring.

This year was no different. I quickly filled up my calendar with my primary care physical, dentist appointment and eye exam, complete with a retina x-ray. That’s right, I don’t skip out when it comes to my medical care.

At my primary care physical I asked for the works ... if we’re going to do this thing, let’s be thorough. This included a full mark-up of my blood (after fasting for 12 hours for an accurate reading).

My results were an A+. 

The three page report only flagged three tests that were outside the referenced range:

  • My MCHC was low at 31.4 and should be within 31.5-35.7. This is my iron level and I have always been a little low. During chemotherapy I dropped to an anemic level. This number didn’t surprise me considering the bleeding issues I have been experiencing due to my newly found uterine polyp. 
  • My Eos was high at 8% and should be within 0-7%. An absolute eosinophil count is a blood test that measures the number of white blood cells called eosinophils. Eosinophils become active when you have certain allergic diseases, infections, and other medical conditions. No surprise there that my allergies are wreaking havoc on my life when I had my blood work done. 
  • My LDL Cholesterol was high at 105 and should be between 0-99. That one I don’t have a correlation, however my doctor wrote, “These are all fine.” However, I will keep a note and make sure to watch that number next time I have my blood work done. 

I was pleased that my thyroid and calcium, along with all my other numbers, were excellent, since those two were numbers my OB GYN wanted to validate.

Cytotec Causes Contractions ... Good to Know Before Taking It

In preparation for my (1) a pelvic ultrasound with transvaginal/Doppler prn and (2) Hysterosonogram, I was given Cytotec to take 24 hours and then 12 hours before the procedure. I was unaware that this drug is given to women to induce labor and causes full-on contractions. Um, I don’t know if I could survive child birth, because I was on the couch sweating in serious pain with a heating pad last night. Dear, Lord, that was no joke.

This morning was the procedure and it could not come soon enough considering the contractions I was experiencing on the Cytotec and the 32 ounces of water sitting in my bladder. I will save you from the details of the procedure since it was very intense. The Cytotec was basically to dilate me so that the doctors could put a catheter into my uterus and inflate a balloon with saline to get good images. Oh, and there was no numbing … just full-on pressure and discomfort. *sigh*

The good news is my uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes are all very healthy, which is what I wanted to hear.

I don’t consider this bad news, but once inside my uterus, the doctor found a small polyp the size of ¼ inch. Basically the top and bottom of my uterus are open and this thing is sitting right in the middle, making it hard for the lining to shed monthly … hence why I am having irregular bleeding. My uterus looked like an hour glass with hardly any opening in the middle.

The doctor reassured me that this polyp is benign and very common. It was most likely caused by the post-cancer medication I am on called Tamoxifen, which suppresses the estrogen in my body.

“Although the exact cause of uterine polyps is unknown, hormonal factors appear to play a role. Uterine polyps are estrogen-sensitive, meaning that they respond to estrogen in the same way that the lining of your uterus does — growing in response to circulating estrogen.” – Mayo Clinic 

“Risk factors for developing uterine polyps include: Tamoxifen, a drug therapy for breast cancer.” – Mayo Clinic 

The other good news is that uterine polyps are easy to fix … they simply remove them. I will be having an endometrial biopsy anyway in the coming months, so I will have this little polyp removed, also. They will most likely send it off to pathology in order to be safe. Between having it removed, going off the Tamoxifen in October and understanding that rarely, uterine polyps can recur, I am pleased with the news and how things are progressing.

Next up, stay tuned for the endometrial biopsy and polyp removal …

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Plan Set in Motion

I have always been open and honest about my journey. I figure if it is too much information for someone, they can stop reading, right?. For me, it is important that I document all my experiences with my health so that I might help someone else out there. If my story helps just one person, then all of this was worth going through.

Today I met with my new and amazing OB GYN named Roopa Duggal. She deals with high-risk patients and I figured with all my medical drama, I belonged in that category. We set a plan in motion to get me healthy and well in order to try to have a baby starting January 2014, if Matt and I so choose. 
  • I will start taking a calcium supplement (1000 mg daily) and decrease my D3 intake to 600 to 1000 mg daily.
  • I will continue weaning off the anxiety medications (Effexor and Xanax) since I can't take them during pregnancy.  Over the last seven months I have decreased my dosage from 150 mg to 37.5 mg and I feel amazing!
  • There is some concern about the irregular bleeding I have been experiencing. Dr. Duggal has requested: (1) a pelvic ultrasound with transvaginal/Doppler prn and (2) Hysterosonogram. These two tests will explain why I am experiencing the bleeding and ensure that everything is healthy and functioning correctly. This will eliminate the possibility of diseases like ovarian and cervical cancer along with issues, like ovarian cysts and uterine fibrosis. 
  • I will have a full blood markup, including Prolactin, Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), Beta HCG, HbA1c and Vitamin D3. 
  • I will have an endometrial biopsy to test the health of my uterine lining. 
  • I will have a full women's health exam in August, just like I do every year. 
  • I go off my post-cancer medicine, Tamoxifen, in October that I've been on for five years.
  • In December, I will have a hormone profile done in order to determine the health of my ovaries and eggs. This consists of blood work testing my FSH, LH and Estradiol

If all those things are beautiful, she will clear me to start trying to get pregnant in January 2014.