Monday, April 27, 2015

Are You Sure It's Not Knee Pain?

Super quick update before I start this blog, 1) I sucked it up and went through with the capsule endoscopy. Almost two weeks later and I was still waiting for that damn camera to come out. Three weeks later and still no word on the results, so yeah I'm super regretting doing it. Of course, it is Dr. Nodurft so the results might be in and just waiting in the outgoing mail bin...  2) I didn't go to the potluck. Life's tough.

Last time I left off, I had to wait six weeks for Mr. I'm Too Busy. Well May of 2014 finally rolled around and it was time to talk colonoscopies. Yay.

I remember this appointment pretty well. I barely made it on time, I tried to leave work early but left late. I was still losing weight and always tired, the pain I was in was becoming more regular and more severe. Plus I was dealing with Holden's medical issues/procedures and they were pretty bad during this timeframe. In all directions-I was STRESSED!  He asked me again about my symptoms. He went down them like a grocery checklist. it sounded more like he was trying to remind himself who I was and what my symptoms were. I was getting irritated. Then I described my stomach pain. At that time, about once every 6-8 weeks it was really bad. I would wake up in pain. It was like being shot in the middle of my stomach. Worst pain of my life accompanied by chills, nausea, night was horrible. "Every few weeks?" he said. "And you're sure it's not your menstrual cycle?" He said it as a statement more than a question. I was beyond irritated now. I struggled really hard to not call him a dumb ass. I can't wait for someone to rip his balls off, because I'm going to be the first one there standing over him asking, "Are you sure it's not knee pain?"

Hindsight is 20/20, and with that perspective in mind this appointment was a disaster! He never fully explained the procedure either so it was really not worth it.  I did finally get a detail explaination of the procedure and the risks involved, but that was a few days later when Scarlet had a follow up with the pediatric GI specialist.

He asked me what I did for a living. He asked if I had children. This was not one the first times meeting with this guy but now he decided to take a patient history???  Uhhh, pretty sure all this info is on the form I filled out the first time I came in. Excuse yourself into the hallway Boo and read my fucking chart. He touched on support, he said I would need a ride home from the colonoscopy. "you'll have to have your husband drive you." Support. husband. What??? "My what?" I asked. Maybe my irritation was starting to show because he did seem to try to regroup at this point. He scanned my chart looking for something and then said, "Michael." "Who?" I asked him back. Way to take notes guy. Real thorough. "Michael. He came here with you here before didn't he?" then I remembered. "oh, that guy. Yeah, he did come...I guess he had nothing better to do that day? He's not going to give me a ride home." awkward... Dr. Yee had told me I would need someone to take me to my first appointment. This turned out to not be the case. How many rides was I going to have to ask from people??!!

So then he told me about the procedure. Here it is: it's just like the endoscopy I had, you come in the nurses set you up, you'll be wheeled back into a room, we put you out and then you'll wake up a short time later. I feel like I'm missing a big piece of the puzzle. Like the whole puzzle.

This is the thought that got me in trouble-I should have had a cocktail before I got here.

I asked him to actually explain it. He proceeds to tell me the worst part is the prep, that I'll be up all night and my bottom will probably be pretty sore by the next day. He said something about a camera and picked up his stethoscope to show how wide it was.

I'm out, no thank you. "this seems unpleasant," I said, "I don't want to do it." Remember that cocktail idea I had? He said something about clear liquids only. "does that include vodka? Can I drink vodka?" this prompted him to ask how much I drank, another item we already discussed at my very first appointment. "well, I have three kids, so not enough." he harped on it a bunch more which irritated me to no end. Then he asked me if I smoked. Again, another question I've already answered. "no," I responded. "Should I start?" "Oh, no" he warned, completely oblivious to my sarcasm. and at no point did he write any of this information down so I figured my next appointment was going to be yet, another treat. He said something about a car service since I had no ride, but never followed up. He went to get paperwork and I was left to sit and stew in my own frayed nerves and irritation. He came back, brought up clear liquids again. So I asked, innocently, "So, is that a no on the vodka?"' "Well," he began, "We don't recommend it." I perked up, it sounded like maybe there was a chance it was no big deal. "I'm not hearing a no." and it was clear, this is where he met his threshold on dealing with me. Gotta give him props-his patience did last longer than most. "That's not exactly a glowing recommendation!" he hissed back at me. Mr. Roger's just yelled at me, guess its not such a great day in the neighborhood.

"Still not hearing a no." I replied. He just stared back at me. I left not fully committed to the colonoscopy idea. He said to try to wrap my head around it and call his scheduler. Try wrapping your head around the concept of actually helping your patient. He gave me paperwork and the prescription for the prep. Clearly he did not want me to call or come back for any reason. I left, happy to get out of that office while Dr. Nodurft ran down the hall to his office to rewrite my medical chart. I would be finding that out in the few short weeks that followed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I ❤️ Colonoscopies

I put off updating this blog to explain the next link in the chain after completing the lab tests my doctor wanted me to do. I didn't know it at the time, but this was the point where my health and well being really took off on an unexpected trajectory.  If I could go back and do things over, I would choose this point.  But, that's the thing about linear time, there's no moving backwards.

This was April 2014.  Have you ever been standing at your kitchen counter sifting through the days mail of mortgage statements and junk mail, only to open a letter from your Gastroenterologist telling you that there might be a real big problem with you and he's narrowed it down to like three really horrible scenarios and hey, like why don't you just come on down for this thing called a colonoscopy?  No! I'm pretty sure no one's ever been invited to their colonoscopy like this, if you have please let me know so that my faith in physicians can be somewhat restored.  Another god damn letter...

I sat on this letter for a couple days.  I had a general idea of what a colonoscopy was, but I don't do them every day so I wasn't about to just call up and blindly sign up for some unknown procedure.  Quite frankly, I was a bit irritated.  I see the word colon, and its one of those high alert terms, so I'm already not liking the idea!  Finally I call his office.  His scheduler Amy, who is completely unexcited about her job answers the phone.  The conversation went like this, "Yeah Hi! Uh, I got a letter in the mail telling me to schedule a colonoscopy?"
"Oh, did you want to schedule it?"
"Not really, Amy.  I don't know anything about a colonoscopy, so I'm not too super on-board with this idea." 
"Um. Well. Um. Let me ask him. He's actually standing right here, let me just ask him."
He's at the reception desk? Is he answering phones now? Finally putting his time to some good use...Then I realized I called at the worst possible time! What if this guy got on the phone with me!What the hell was I calling for! I didn't want to talk to him, I didn't want to schedule this thing!  Could I hang up now and pretend like I had never called?  Just as my panic about this colonoscopy peaked, she came back on the line. 
"Ok, he says to schedule you for a consult appointment. The next available appointment is in 6 weeks."

Six weeks? Hope any one of those three really horrible sounding scenarios aren't on too much of a timeline.  Whatever! Obviously not the highlight of my day to inquire about this procedure, but this Bo is standing right there and could have just taken a patients phone call and answered a question.  Wait six weeks to put my mind at ease.  Perfect. Maybe he could just write me a letter explaining the procedure.  But I knew Amy would not understand my sarcasm, so I scheduled the appointment.  Another damn appointment. 

Jumping ahead to present day. There's a potluck at work.  I made a gluten free dish. I want to go and participate, but I know I can't eat anything. I hate that awkward moment when you have to explain to someone why you can't eat a dish, or that doubtful look you get when they challenge you, "It's fine, it's just veggies." Obviously, I wouldn't know if the veggies were cut on a gluten-free cutting board, and also why would I want veggies when I know there's gonna be some delicious, decadent looking dessert that I know is just made with a ton of flour...So my dish is in the fridge. Still debating.

Here it is: See Recipe Below

1 Package Gluten Free Pasta 8-16 oz (Bow-tie or Fallfalle)
1 Bottle Italien Salad dressing 16oz.
1 - 2 Sweet Peppers Chopped
2 Cups Chopped Chicken
Cook pasta according to package.  Sautee sweet peppers with cooked chicken. (I also added frozen peas this time)  Transfer cooked pasta, peppers, and chicken to a large bowl.  Add bottle of salad dressing and toss to coat evenly.  Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Alice In Wonderland Swallowed A Pill, and it Didn't Do Her Any Good!

So today I find myself at a bit of a crossroad. I'm supposed to have a capsule endoscopy. I don't want it! I guess you're not supposed to admit that you've given up, but I'm just too exhausted to give a shit anymore.

I'm not really sure why I have to do it either. It didn't sound as though there was any value in doing this latest procedure except that it seems to be one of the few left that I haven't done. It sounded fairly easy at first, basically just swallow a pill (camera), wear some device around your waist for 8 hours while you go about your day and then turn in the device in the evening. Doesn't sound painful or invasive, so less reluctantly than usual, I agreed. A woman named Mayra called two weeks later to set up the appointment. She was nice but she informed me there was a prep. It's basically the same as a colonoscopy prep but with over the counter meds. What?! Okay, two agenda items: 1) Colonoscopy - please never say that word to me. I'm trying to forget mine, enough said. 2) Fasting with self induced diahrrea - this is the exact opposite of what I am trying to accomplish health wise. I already have these symptoms and I'm actually paying a ton of cash in copays and percriptions in an effort to get these symptoms to stop. Now I'm gonna do it to myself?

So, decision making time. Do I cancel or show up. I have two weeks to weigh my options. This ones not so easy for me. I hate going through all these procedures and lab tests. I know they're going to hurt and/or waste my time, but ultimately I suck it up and do it because I think, maybe at the end of this one there will be some sort of relief. Well, fast forward to today, there is never any comfort or relief. Just a bill from Scripps at the end of a billing cycle.

And on that note, I will leave you with a recipe for gluten free comfort food. Just kidding, gluten free food sucks - have a glass of wine and enjoy.

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Brown Bagging It!

After being diagnosed with Celiac disease I went off gluten and started to feel a bit better within a couple of weeks. My migraines and daily headaches went away, my stomach felt better. That weird brain cloud I was stuck in started to dissipate. It was great! I kept waiting to not be a total bitch 24/7, but it seems as though that is never going away. I went on Pinterest and started collecting gluten free recipes but lets face it, most gluten free recipes suck. Pizza with a cauliflower crust? I don't think so. That's not even pizza, its a casserole in the shape of a pie. But I felt better, so onward I moved. However by February, I started sliding back. Quite honestly I didn't think much about it but then I went in for my follow up and was surprised that my doctor was so surprised. Mostly I think he was just put out that this wasn't the easy case he was expecting that day. Nobody really likes to have to work, not even doctors.

You know what I don't really like? Having to go in to a small room with a relative stranger and forced to discuss my toilet habits. Its really embarrassing; my diarrhea this, my vomiting that. Wha, what did you just ask me was fully formed? I want OUT of this conversation. Then I hear the words "stool sample." I want OUT of this room. I did not choose gastroenterology as my specialty in life, never trust anyone who's professional moto is "I shit you not."

Aside from that, he kept asking my if I was indeed sticking with a gluten free diet. This is what is so frustrating, that people think its just soooo easy. Typically when one is in need of some comfort you don't take things away, but that's the process. Clearly he didn't believe me, but I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. So maybe I hit my limit at this point in the conversation. Yes, I am gluten free, even though its expensive and time consuming AND even though it doesn't seem to be helping. So when should I stop being gluten free? Cuz if I'm going to be miserable, I might as well eat pizza. He struggled a bit to respond, but essentially told me to stick with my gluten free diet.

So he said he had some lab tests he wanted me to do and based on what came back he might want to do more testing. He left and I waited for his nurse for what he termed lab orders. Shortly after, in walks the nurse with a large brown bag. Oh no you didn't! I know what a brown bag means and it is never good news. Are you shitting me? Nope, I shit you not.

I don't claim to be the best patient in the world. It took me like 2 months to do that "test."

Jumping to present day, I'm still gluten free AND its Christmas! So as a little bonus I'm sharing a gluten free holiday recipe. Hello Cranberry Ginger Cocktails. I wish this was my own recipe, but I borrowed it from Allyson over at her Domestic Superhero blog. Its not a gluten free blog, but this drink is!
Mix vodka, cranberry juice, and gingerale. Add frozen cranberries. There you go, Merry Christmas.

Here is a link to her blog.

I'd also like to put it out there that I am in total compliance with doctors orders to stay away from coffee, soda, and alcohol, so I will not be drinking this glass of deliciousness. Wink, wink. You can find a complete listing of gluten free alcoholic drinks on my Pinterest board under "Melissa's Bar" Feel free to follow the link

That cauliflower crust pizza recipe above can be found under my Gluten Free Menu Pinterest board


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dear Mrs. Mitcham...

A consequence of being sick is rapid weight loss. So rapid I didn't even consider it a consequence but a gift! At work a group of us were in the middle of a weight loss challenge and every week the winner took home a cash prize. To be fair, when we started it, I had no idea I had a problem. I started exercising once a week and thought I had kicked my metabolism into overdrive. I went for a walk and lost 5 pounds? Amazing!! Obviously that's not how weight loss really works, but I was winning! I finally dropped out of the weight loss challenge when it felt too much like cheating. In less than a year I have dropped 40 pounds! And it continues to come off steadily. I am constantly going down in clothes size. I actually bought a dress from Target in the kids section - its adorable! Its sad, scary and stylish all at the same time. I discovered the shopping app Poshmark, and have decided to try to post a new outfit on here once a week. Being underweight is so unhealthy, why not at least make it look good, right?

So back in December I had the best sleep ever in the past 10 years! It was of course drug induced. It was the endoscopy for my biopsy. Unfortunately my daughter had to have the same procedure just this week, so it got me thinking back to December and just how horrible the whole process is when you're on the other end of the needle. Now, my daughter has a pediatric specialist so she really lucked out, her experience as well as my son's experience is completely different. Their doctor is nice, supportive, informative...oh how I wish my maturity level matched my age in numbers then I could have this doctor!

When I went in, it was all very procedural. I got into my gown and they forced me to wear the most ridiculous socks! Then you wait around until the doctor comes in 15 minutes before. He comes in with a very rehearsed speech - I know because I had already heard it 40 minutes before when he visited the guy before me. Its just a square room with beds lined against the walls and cloth curtains. With this system you're hardly even a patient; just another bed, just another speech.

I finally got wheeled down the hall and the entire time I couldn't stop thinking about those stupid socks! I told myself if something bad happened and I didn't wake up 1)this guy is totally getting a bad yelp review, and 2)they better not bury me with these damn socks! I just wanted to be knocked out, it was what I was looking forward to all week. The nurse was nice, they usually are. I had to say my name and date of birth, which I never look forward to because someone always has a comment. You were born on New Year's Eve? How fun! I bet its always a party! No actually it's not, no one acknowledges your birthday when its eclipsed by a bigger holiday. The only thing worse is when medical professionals decide to comment because that's usually the worst time. Let me stop in the middle of my contraction to discuss with you my date of birth. There are 365 days out of the year, its statistics, its just a random day that gets picked.

There was some other guy in the room, maybe the anesthesiologist. He was joking around and I was like, oh someone with a personality, finally. He said it was his first day and hoped all would go well. I'm sure he uses that joke 8 times a day. I told him as long as I didn't leave with another baby, it would all be just fine. And then I was out. I woke up sometime later, back behind the same curtain I had started out in. I remember Nodurft standing there putting something in my chart, but he didn't say anything and walked away. I wanted to get out of there quick! I had two days ahead of me to pretend to not feel well enough to cook or clean. I wanted to get started on that right away.

By the time I got home, the meds were wearing off and my throat hurt. I sat on the couch and the kids complained about what was on TV. I checked the paper work that I was sent home with and there was a typed note from the doctor. Weird. How impersonal. Remember the episode from Sex and the City when Carrie got dumped via a post-it note? Dear Mrs. Mitcham, I cut up your esophagus six ways to Sunday, have a nice day!

I got the phone call from a nurse about a week later. I was at Food 4 Less selecting red apples. I thanked her, finished up with my apples and the rest of my grocery shopping and then cried in the car. It was as if I had been taken out into a riptide. It was a lonely and cold moment that seemed too overwhelming. It was a really cold way to be told. My life changed and I just wished it hadn't changed in the middle of the produce aisle. Its weird the things you focus on.

Everything happens for a reason. I try to think that I take the brunt of it all, so I know exactly how to support my kids. A little bit of compassion goes a long way. And damn it was a hard lesson to learn.

Monday, November 3, 2014

I love Red Vines. Red Vines are my favorite. I miss Red Vines

I love Red Vines. Red Vines are my favorite. I miss Red Vines. I heard myself saying this to Tem, the bone density tech at Scripps who had just asked me about my Celiac Disease and if cutting gluten out of my diet was hard. Tem was perusing through my medical chart as I said this, then quickly snapped his head up and said, "Oh, I see that’s a problem for you! You don't drink and drive with your kids in the car do you?" I stared back at Tem and said, "Red Vines. I said Red Vines - the candy. Not red wine!" In my head I was saying - God Dammit! Nodurft!! Tem looked embarrassed. I felt slapped in the face. So I did what I normally do and joked it off. "Oh yeah, I drink and drive! In fact, I wait for the kids to get in the car before I start pounding them down! Again in my head, God Dammit! Nodurft!
For as long as I can remember I've had stomach issues. However, when some of your best medical options include Tijuana doctors, you quickly learn to swallow a handful of aspirin and take care of the problem yourself. Stomach pain and diarrhea? Must be lactose intolerant (even though I could handle ice cream and yogurt just fine). Anemic? My mom told me it was because I had started my menstrual cycle. Thanks mom. Horrible itchy rash? Stress...or new laundry detergent... Well, after 30+ years of putting up with it, in August of 2013 I woke up to stomach pain so bad, I was doubled over unable to move. It felt as though I was being disemboweled. I would have rather gone through child birth it was so bad. ER visit or doctor's appointment you ask? No. The next morning I went on WebMD to diagnose myself and hoped I would never experience that kind of suffering again. I did okay for a couple of months until it happened again. Suddenly in the middle of the night, I was awakened with such horrendous pain that I was almost certain I was going to die. In all honesty, the pain was so bad, I was actually hoping I would die! Again, I refused to go to the ER. I couldn't imagine being in that much pain and sitting doubled over in a waiting room for hours. If I was going to die, I figured better to die in my own bed. I don't often make alot of logical sense, but it works for me.

The next morning I skipped WebMD and called my doctor, who I had never seen before and found out he had actually retired. So I decided to change my medical group so I could go to the Scripps Clinic 10 minutes from my house. I'm all about convenience. I don't like doctor's, I don't trust doctors, so this was big for me. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain...I endured like 12 years of marriage...but I'm not here to bash. My point is, it was so bad even I couldn't take it anymore, so I made an appointment and in November I saw Dr. Yee. I was surprised. She was really nice. She did a bunch of tests, one of them was for Celiac's and within a couple days she called me back in. She discussed the results and told me I had to go to a gastroenterologist to get an endoscopy for the official diagnosis and gave me a list of GI's. She recommended Dr. Nodurft as a first choice.

Dr. Yee must have sensed my distress. I really didn't want to go to a GI (I hardly wanted to be in Dr. Yee's office). She told me I needed to call right away because it could be weeks before they could get me in. Sure-yeah-right. "Dr. Nodurft's office is right down the hall," she said. "You should walk down there and make the appointment today. If he can't see you soon, you might need to call the clinic up in Torrey Pines to be seen quicker." Sure-yeah-right. "Do you know where the specialist office is? It's right next to the ultrasound department. Walk down there."

I walked out of her office. Did I walk over to the specialist office to make my appointment. Hell no. I walked out of the automatic sliding doors and across the street to the Keg and Bottle, then proceeded over to Subway for a turkey on whole wheat with mayo and extra jalapenos. Don't judge me. I was kid free, that's a rarity.
I first met Dr. Nodurft at the end of 2013. It took me two weeks to get enough courage to call and make the appointment. And to my disappointment, the scheduler said there was a cancelation and could get me in within two weeks. So on December 23, 2013 I walked into Dr. Nodurft's office. He asked a bunch of questions, but the only thing I could really concentrate on was his incessant use of the term, "Gotcha!" But he seemed really nice and not completely in over his head. Plus he said he was going to put me out completely for the endoscopy. Sold!

The only irritating thing he said was that if I did had Celiac Disease I could use it to get a kitchen remodel due to cross contamination issues and what not. Yeah, because we all know that women use ANY excuse to capitalize on retail therapy. I'm trying to get out of my kitchen! Then he suggested a support group to get information from others who live with Celiac's. Okay, clearly this guy didn't get me. In general, I don't like people, so I can't even imagine what seeking advice from a support group would look like. No thank you. I just smiled and nodded. He told me to Google Celiac Disease. Really? Forty dollar co-pay and I could have just googled it? Still, he patiently spent 20 minutes with me. Longer than I had expected. It was like going to Mr. Roger's neighborhood for medical advice. The only thing he was missing was a cardigan sweater and Keds.
I was on winter break from work and he said he could do the endoscopy that Friday if I had a ride. He said I couldn't take care of my kids that day. Again, Sold! I was planning on stretching my recover out for a long weekend. I was feeling pretty excited for this endoscopy. An excuse to not make breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the kids and be in charge of the remote? Sign me up. I didn't even care if I had Celiac's at that point. Just on a side note, turns out my plan didn't even work. I took care of my kids that day. Nothing stops the responsibilities of a mom.

As I look back now - that appointment day was really like starting a new chapter in my life. I started down a path to get help and it all seemed very routine. Yet, as this past year has proven, it certainly hasn't been an easy road. So I've decided to document this fun little adventure in a blog. Celiac Disease is hard. It doesn't seem like there's anything I can do to get better. So I keep going back to Nodurft, thus the blog title - Monday's with Nodurft. No, I'm not stealing it from Tuesday's with Morrie. Mr. Important is too important to see patients at my clinic any other day. As if Mondays weren't bad enough. Just about every two months, it's another Monday appointment. He's really put me through the ringer. But truth be told, he's the one who drew the shortest straw when he got me as a patient. I like to make up my own medical theories.

I'm not writing this to help anybody or give others a better understanding of Celiac Disease. Trust me, I'm the last person you're going to want to take any sort of advice from. I tend to make up my own rules that make sense to only me, I curse with such frequency that it alarms even my own children, and I'm more than likely to ask you if it's too early for cocktails...while I have a drink in my hand. I'm just trying to keep my perspective in check. So feel free to check back in on a Tuesday. From my encounters with Tem the tech to a disastrous colonoscopy it will at least make you feel better about your own life.

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

     Here is my first blog on the last day of 2012.  My hope is to inspire and motivate myself to do more, appreciate more.  Sounds very similar to the new Home Depot slogan, "More doing, more saving.  That's the power of Home Depot."  But I can assure you this won't be your typical mom blog.  I won't be writting anything until after I have drunken at least a pot of coffee, and if you are profanity sensitive you might want to check out a different blog.  I just got the Creative Cursing book as a Christmas present, and I plan to use that profanity generator like its going out of style.  But, hopefully you'll stick around while I create and share.  Please visit often to see what I'm doing in the kitchen, in the hobby room, and in between the knitting needles.  Feel free to not only be inspired yourself, but duplicate my creations because in the words of Dane Cook go ahead and steal it, I know you were going to anyways.

Have a great 2013!