Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Be thankful

I had my annual appointment with my specialist today. She's a "consultant physician", which as far as I can tell, means she's good at diagnosing stuff other docs can't figure out. I got sent to her a few years ago when I had a whole collection of health problems, and was eventually diagnosed with Osler's Disease. It's an uncommon hereditary vascular thingummy and can potentially cause all kinds of dire problems (yeah, yeah..doom and despair, yada yada). If you have nothing better to do, you can read all about it here.

As a result, I got put through some really *fun* tests, so that my brain, lungs, heart, liver and some other stuff could be checked for abnormalities. The good luck fairies were watching over me on everything but my liver, which had 3 vascular-based tumours, 2 of them biggish. This explained some pretty odd blood test results I'd been consistently getting. These things are benign, but were growing at a pretty alarming rate, which could cause some problems down the track. I also had the classic nosebleeds and some small skin lesions that typically go with this disease. And I was facing 3-monthly surgery to treat the nosebleeds, which didn't thrill me. I decided that I just had to do whatever was necessary and continue on with my health and fitness endeavours, so that I'd be in the best possible physical condition to deal with whatever might crop up.

Almost 3 years later, I've given the nasal surgery the flick (That got old REALLY fast. Long story, but can I just say that after 5 procedures at Monash Medical Centre, plus one emergency trip to the Northern Hospital, I hope to never have to go through the public health system again) and amazingly, the bleeds are under control. My blood tests are all OK - liver function is 'slightly abnormal', which is normal for me, iron's a bit low, but nothing serious. And best of all, my last scans showed that the liver tumours have shrunk. Which they're not supposed to do, but hey, I'm not arguing.

By the way, I totally credit the shrinkage to my healthy lifestyle. The moral of this story is: eat well, train like a demon and take your fish oil, vit C and glutamine, children. ;)

So today I got the thumbs-up from the doc again. None of my tests show any deterioration, my liver isn't enlarged (and she gave it a good poke... Ouch!), my heart and lungs are fine. I have one new skin lesion, but nobody can see it since it's under my hairline, near my ear. And she was most impressed that I've maintained my weight and fitness for so long. I even dragged out my before photo, just in case she'd forgotten how I looked back in 2002 when I first saw her, pre-BFL.

As I said to her: I'm thankful for my relatively good health - there are much worse things that I could suffer from. Blood tests every 6 months, a checkup once a year and a CT scan every couple of years - pfft! Those are nothing. Oh, and as a bonus, I have a lovely collection of pictures of the inside of me.

So yeah, it could be worse. Plenty to be thankful for, really.


Kathryn said...


I think it's a sad reflection when doctors are so amazed when you do make lifestyle changes to sort out your own health. So few people bother. It's crazy - operations and medication and feeling like shite vs healthy living!

Sairs said...

I got sucked in to watching Oprah and Dr Oz last night, and was pleasantly surprised to hear him say similar things. That people can go to him as a Dr, and he will medicate them, and give them things that will treat their syptoms, but will actually make the CAUSE even worse.
Alternatively, people can eat right, train right and treat themselves. Big snaps to Dr Oz!

Meanwhile, you are a TRUE champion Kek. I'm quite keen to see an addition to the Fringe art exhibition guide for this year tho - "an exploration of my insides" a Kek Woods collection!

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