Thursday, July 23, 2009

Trouble been doggin' my soul

Well-meaning friends keep asking me how things are going in CystLand, i.e. when I’m going to do something about it, etc., and the honest truth is this: I haven’t done jack shit. Not sure when I will. Oh, I mean to, and I started out well, by getting the names of different surgeons to contact, for example. I’d add to that list of Things Done, except that I haven’t done anything else. Maybe it’s because I have no delusions about what a fucking pain in the ass this is going to be – attempting to get my records from this doc, getting them to that doc, trying to make the necessary appointments, and oh yes, then dealing with the new onslaught of bills-to-be-denied-by-BCBS, which is a whole other story and/or posting. Seriously, how can what they do NOT be termed outright fraud? Could someone explain this to me?

Anyway, so I’ve gone blithely about on my merry little way, secure in my “it’s just a cyst” attitude, even though after doing some research I’ve discovered that hey, that tumor markers test (which was normal) is basically useless! It’s true. It’s only about 50% accurate to begin with, less so for pre-menopausal women (i.e. me), and oh yeah, most doctors don’t even recommend it as a diagnostic because it’s useless for detecting early stage stuff. So the way I look at it – to paraphrase Rod Blagojevich – I see it as “basically an up.” Because even if it IS cancer, chances are that it’s in an early stage, so I can rest easy. Or something.

In the meantime, I know that one of the lovely side effects of FatSurly (aka Tamoxifen) is that it causes bone density loss in premenopausal women. Why do I know this? Oh, that’s because I’ve done plenty of RESEARCH up the wazoo to figure this stuff out, because either my doctors don’t know, or they just put it out of their heads since they don’t treat many young women with breast cancer. Gee, I wonder why not – with all 11,000 or so of us women 40 and under newly diagnosed each year. And who cares if these medications they give us will cause our bones to snap like twigs in short order. Why would THAT be a problem?

Where was I – oh yeah, so while my cancer doctors didn’t suggest this, the cyst-finding doctor did, a bone density exam, that is. Okay, she didn’t say I should get it, but she mentioned it and I latched onto it, saying yeah, I think that’s something I need. Because I really should know how much FatSurly is affecting my bones, as a baseline measurement, right? I mean, duh.

This morning at the Bone Density Testing place

Bone density testing woman: Why are we testing someone as young as you?
Me: Well, I’m on Tamoxife....
BDTW: Oh, say no more, I get it.

(later, after a machine whirs over my spine and hips...)

BDTW: And we get the results right away, though I’m sure your doctor will call you to discuss them.
Me: So how are things looking?
BDTW: Your spine looks totally fine, and your hip/femoral bones.....oh.
Me: “Oh”? NOW what??
BDTW: Well, those look kind of.....borderline.


I look over her shoulder at the computer, and I can see the numbers, and the fact that the right hip is at a -1. Now, normal bone density scores are between a 2 and a -1, with the higher number being better. And low bone density is from -1 to -2 or thereabouts. So there I am, smack dab on the edge. And I’ve only been on FatSurly for 6 months. This is of course fantastic – because nothing says “Hey, am I a babe or what??” like needing a hip replacement before the age of 45.

At this point, I feel like people must be thinking – wait a minute, she’s just MSUing, aka Making Shit Up. Because really, how much bad luck can one person have? Oh, and did I mention that I almost got flattened by a bus the other day? Yes, it’s true. There I was foolishly trying to cross a city street, and this bus used its turn signal (which should have been enough to make me suspicious right there) to show it was going to pull over – or so I thought – at which point I started crossing.....and the bus kept barreling on through. Yeah, I think heart issues are next on the agenda, because I’m still feeling the aftereffects of that one.

Anyway, the path before me is obvious, of course, and I know the steps I need to take, tough as it’ll be. Yes, it’s clear that I need to transition into an all-ice-cream diet, to add to the smoking and drinking. Hey, people, it’s not like I’m just making this stuff up as I go along, no sirree. There is pure science behind this. Healthy bones need calcium, and what is ice cream if not highly concentrated/dense calcium in an efficiently compact delivery mechanism?? Why else would it be so thick?

And I’m just glad that I have my friends around me to uplift my spirits, as always. For example, on the smoking front, I’m happy to report that I’ve received much support from fans and friends for my endeavors, with notes pouring in from far and wide. In addition to those who’ve suggested I take up chewing tobacco, I’ve also received the following:

Encouragement and wisdom:

Missy: I don't get this doctor, why is she always trying to find stuff wrong with you? I think she's jealous cuz she can't swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and then run a marathon.

Julian from England: Tasha, there is a very real message here: Stay the hell out of Dodge. Er, I mean stay out of Wisconsin!

I mean it's like those horror movies when they always go back into the dark room after someone disappears or screams are heard. You just stay out of WI, young lady.

Helpful suggestions:

George from Canada: BTW does Salome come with a carbon ashtray? I guess you could put it on the top tube right next to the Bento Box, or maybe Bento makes some super light ashtray/BentoBox?

T-Odd: My grandma used walk through the Piggly Wiggly chain smoking the whole time with a little bean bag ashtray sitting in the seat of the cart. I KNOW you can figure out a way to smoke and ride. And think of all the donuts you can eat now - even more than you do already, right?

JoJo: Embrace the vices and go for broke - not just alcohol, and smoking, but fried foods with salt, sugar in abundance, swearing with reckless abandon in the most inappropriate venues, and one of my personal (especially tri-gear, shoes and purses).

And then Bridget stopped by the other day with something I plan to incorporate immediately into my training regimen: a flask. Not just ANY flask, mind you, but a Phat-Surly one. Oh yes. If that isn’t the perfect training tool, well, then someone needs to tell me what is, because I’m at a loss. And my gardening friends, the Tomatoettes – we’re already planning an impromptu get-together, where Ann will bring the harsh 15-year-old Egyptian cigarettes as well as a recipe for Scandinavian milk punch, Mickey’s got the mint for the mojitos covered, CZ will have the apricot kernels and more booze, and I of course will bring the vat of ice cream. And booze. Always with the booze.

How could I possibly have anything to complain about?


D said...

Maybe if you ACTUALLY used a thighmaster, you wouldn't be having these bone density problems in your hips. Ya know, just sayin.

Timbits are in the mail.

Missy said...

Tasha - this here blogger friend of yours is the ultimate queen of medical procrastination.
-I once went ten (10!) years without a pap smear.
-I'm 50 years old and never had a mammogram.
-I have a spot on my back that I know is probably skin cancer but I keep telling myself it's squamous -no big deal they almost never metastasize.
Obviously I am an old pro at necessary medical procedure avoidance - no?
But I am asking you to please schedule the appointment and get the cyst taken care of - okay?
Obviously you pissed off some gypsy somewhere but that doesn't mean you can just give up!
You have an adoring public now - you owe us!
Do It! NOW!

JoJo said...

You and Missy are scaring me...and she's right about you owing it to us. I mean, here I am, a DEDICATED reader and fan, and a fellow IRONCHICK who follows your every training tip for the morsels of wisdom you impart, and you're letting the cyst hang around. And just because it's nothing (and really, as you said, just how much bad luck could one person have) doesn't mean you should let it incubate. Do I have to come up north to escort you to the Dr??? We, your adoring fans, need you. So please make the appointment.