27 February 2009

Another hit

Well, if the struggles with my health weren't enough, now we're going to have to figure out our status living as tenants in a home going through foreclosure! Last night, we were served with summons (as Jane & John Doe) as defendants in a foreclosure petition against our landlady. Oh, goody. Now we get to figure out our rights/responsibilities and all that jazz. We also don't want to pay rent to our landlady if she's not paying the mortgage, so we need to find out how to handle that. I've left a voicemail message with the attorneys shown on the court paperwork.

As for my health, I still haven't heard anything. The headache has been very bad the last few days. It's not any better now, and it's only going to get worse as we work our way through this foreclosure stuff.

I'll update when I know more. Love to all!

25 February 2009

Wonderful Wednesday

For excitement, I went and turned in a new batch of urine at the lab. Yay! At least it's a beautiful day outside...of course, part of my symptoms is excessive sweating, so I felt like I'd run a mile in 100 degree sunshine. It's like 70 degrees, and I walked (slowly) across a parking lot. I sure will be glad when this problem is fixed.

When I showed up at the lab, I mentioned that the test was being redone due to an error by the lab. The lab tech looked up the records and discovered (and admitted!) that it was her error with the previous test. While another tech was drawing my blood for the CBC & CMP, I heard her on the phone explaining (I guess to billing) that there had been an error previously. The insurance company shouldn't be getting billed for the new urine test. One bright spot of sunshine, anyway!

So, it's back to waiting for a phone call from the neurologist or his nurse when they get the results. I'm going to assume that's going to be at least a couple of days. I sure wish there was some kind of fast forward ability when waiting for results!

I spoke with the HR people at work. My FMLA-protected leave ended yesterday, so I now am no longer guaranteed my job when I get this resolved. Personally, unless it's months longer, I think I'll be ok. My short-term (full pay) disability pay from the company ends the middle of March, at which time I would go on long-term disability. I believe that's where the Salary Continuance Insurance I have would kick in...I don't remember all the details, but I believe it's not 100% pay, but at least it won't be no pay. They're sending me the information so I can get all the paperwork done and submitted on time if I need it. I'm hoping I wouldn't need it for long, if at all. Of course, that's assuming we have a definitive diagnosis by next week, and get it fixed/removed/medicated/whatever fairly soon after that. Not only do I want to get rid of this headache and inability to concentrate, I want to go to work! Potentially eliminating some of my other (perhaps related) health problems would also be nice.

Keep your fingers crossed and the prayers going that a real answer will be found soon.

23 February 2009

Primal Scream

If it wouldn't make the headache worse, I would definitely be indulging in some screaming about now. I went to the neurologist for my follow-up to get the results of the CT scan and 24-hour urine test.

Guess what!!!! The lab did the incorrect test on the urine, so it has to be done again. Joy. Collecting pee for 24 hours is so thrilling, after all. They should have run a test for metanephrines, but instead ran a more common test with a similar name. This happened even though someone at the lab had actually spoken to the neurologist's nurse - and the nurse had SPELLED metanephrines for the lab order! Unbelievable. Let's just say that both the doctor and I were decidedly unhappy about this. So, I'll start the collection tomorrow morning and drop it off on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the radiologist's report on the CT scan indicates my spleen is "moderately enlarged" but gives no actual measurements. It also states the left adrenal gland is "slightly enlarged" and lobular (I think that was the word) in appearance. When the doctor told me that the spleen drains into the liver, I mentioned the slightly elevated bilirubin levels in the blood test done a few months ago. He indicated that the spleen problem and bilirubin levels could potentially be linked. That test was done in November. He ordered another CBC (Complete Blood Count) test to get current levels of all the usual stuff in the blood. He also ordered a Complete Metabolic Profile (CMP) blood test. This test could indicate potential liver problems, among other things.

When I drop off the urine on Wednesday I'll have the blood drawn while at the lab. Then I get to wait for them to call with the results. Hopefully, the CORRECT tests will be completed.

Now, I wasn't too sure what all these tests/terms were so I did some research. The high points are below. All of this info is from www.labtestsonline.org which gives much more detail about a lot of these terms, if you're interested. The comments in italics are mine.
  • Urine metanephrine testing is primarily used to help detect and rule out pheochromocytomas in symptomatic patients. It may also be ordered to help monitor the effectiveness of treatment when a pheochromocytoma is discovered and removed and to monitor for recurrence.
  • Pheochromocytoma: Tumor that causes excess production of epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine and usually occurs in one or both of the adrenal glands but may also occur elsewhere in the abdomen. (This is a further check for adrenal problems, indicated by the slightly enlarged left adrenal gland seen on the CT).
  • Urine metanephrines are ordered when a doctor either suspects that a patient has a pheochromocytoma or wants to rule out the possibility. He may order it when a patient has persistent or recurring hypertension along with symptoms such as headaches, sweating, flushing, and rapid heart rate. (I have all these symptoms).
  • While metanephrine testing can help detect and diagnose pheochromocytomas, it cannot tell the doctor how big the tumor is, where it is, how many tumors are present, or whether or not the tumor(s) are benign – although most are. Even small tumors can produce large amounts of catecholamines.
  • The CMP is a frequently ordered panel that gives your doctor important information about the current status of your kidneys, liver, and electrolyte and acid/base balance as well as of your blood sugar and blood proteins. Abnormal results, and especially combinations of abnormal results, can indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. (This is another check for adrenal gland problems).
I'll post more information when I get any. Until then, love to everyone!