Thursday, February 21, 2008

A New Path To Follow.....

"Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles."
Philippians 4:14

Thank you all so much for your prayers and well wishes. I can’t tell you how much they mean to me. As I got ready for my appointment on Tuesday, I felt such a peace and your prayers were like a warm blanket wrapped around me throughout the entire day.

Upon check in, the lady at the front desk caught the birthday mistake after looking at my insurance card, she said I was very well preserved and that she would send a note to clerical to correct it. I had a delightful wait, about one and one half hours, and I spent the time skimming through a little prayer book I like to keep in my purse and praying for those in and around the waiting area.

When it was my turn I entered the inner sanctum of modern medicine only to be confronted with the first piece of beastly testing equipment, the dreaded SCALE! The nurse said she needed to get my height and weight. I quipped that I could give her that information and she was impressed that I knew. I told her that was easy to answer, I am short and fat! I thought about singing the Winnie the Pooh song, “I’m short and fat and proud of that…”, but I don’t feel proud of the recent weight gain so I refrained, she laughed. We had a pleasant discussion about my new sweater and my hairdo and then it was off the next holding cell.

Doesn’t it feel like you are in a little holding cell when they put you in a frigid room with a duck picture on the wall, neat little plastic models on the counter, icky charts showing your innards ,outdated magazines, and tell you the doctor will be with you in a minute, which really translates into after lunch, his, not yours? I am quietly shivering and waiting for the interrogation to begin when I hear a young mans voice outside my door. He is telling someone, with a little awe in his voice, that today they get to see a patient who is 101 years old. I rub my cold numb little hands together with glee and know this is going to be fun.

The nurse pops in to take my blood pressure, temperature, and photo. Yep, I not only got pricked, poked, and prodded, I got my photo taken to boot and, uh, I broke their camera. Seriously, they came in to take my picture and the camera suddenly stopped working. She came back twice more and finally I think they got my mug shot for their files. I should have known this was a bad sign.

Next I get to meet the illustrious Dr. Chi. Now in some circles chi is good, right? Well, I think his feng shui was out of whack, he was way too serious and he never smiled. I have to give him credit; he did not ask the stupid question most doctors ask when they walk into the room, “How are you today?” “Well now, let me see, I’m hunky dory, I just wanted to drop by on a purely social visit.” DUH! I am here because I do not feel well! He did disarm me a bit when he said, “What can I do for you today?” That was a loaded question ~ tell me what is wrong and make me better ~ what else would I want out of the visit? We got down to the interrogation and I was getting frustrated because he kept asking me the same questions over and over and my answers were always the same and then he started a quirky line of questioning about holding cold cans of soft drinks and such. I was wondering if maybe he was thirsty.

Now we get to the fun part, testing! The first test they did was to stick some little pieces of paper in my eyes and tell me to keep my eyes shut until he came back into the room. I sat there with these little strips of white paper hanging out of my eyes when my eyes popped open and all I saw was a flutter of white paper strips going up and down. I panicked a little wondering if I dislodged them and if the doctor would be able to tell when he came back in. I clamped my eyes shut and reached up to shove the papers back in but I couldn’t tell if they were in or out and decided to just accept my fate. It felt a little like one of those Lucy moments, when she is in the chocolate factory and was shoving all those chocolates in her mouth. I couldn’t help myself, I laughed.

Dr. Chi came back in and removed the papers, they were still in place, and held them up to this little light source and said, “Oh Wowwwwwwwwww!” To which I replied, “That can’t be good.” He said, “It’s not, you failed.” Oh great I am having a flash back to a tenth grade math test, times up and I have nothing on the paper, I failed then too! He abruptly left the room with his coat tails swishing behind him and left me to amuse myself with his plastic models. Yes, I did make the little knee flex, poked the rubber hand with bones in it and examined two bone structures one before and one after taking a medication to restore bone density. He finally came back and said I needed x-rays.

The x-ray technician started into the room, looked at me, looked at the chart, backed up and looked at the room number, came back in looked at me again with a total question mark on his face. He stood in the doorway for a minute and finally asked in a very tentative voice, “Um, are you…Sandy?” I smiled really big and said yes to which he replied, “Oh wow! Somebody goofed, your chart says you are 101 and I was fascinated to see a patient that age.” He gave me a groovy gown and the biggest pair of navy blue bloomers I have ever seen. They gave a whole new meaning to Granny panties! I slipped those babies on and they came down to the middle of my calf and I had to pull the waist up to my bra line. As I went down the hall they began to slip down and the crotch ended up at my knees, I was saggin’ with the best of them!

I got to do a little yoga in the x-ray room, butterfly position so they could take pictures of my feet. I go to pose like an Egyptian goddess with my arms lifted straight over my head, elbows slightly bent, and palms flat together. Then best of all I got to sit in a really tall chair with my feet dangling about 3 inches off the floor in big blue bloomers and a groovy gown right in front of a very big glass window to the main waiting area while the x-rays were being developed. I just swung my feet and smiled.

Now that all my bones had had their picture taken I got to go to the office of the resident vampire. She was a really good vampire and found my tiny rolling vein on the first stick but I seriously thought she was going to drain me dry. I had a few other tests done and then I got to go back to where they keep you on ice and wait some more while Dr. Chi paced up down the hall doing dictation spouting out all my personal business into his tape recorder.

He came back in and told me he was pretty sure what was wrong with me but I would still need more testing. I did not have to see the hematologist after all so thankfully I avoided the painful bone marrow test and quality accommodations of a hospital stay, at least for now. He thinks I have an auto-immune disease or possibly a combination of auto-immune diseases. There are 150 plus types of these diseases and you can have one or a combination of several, they are all inter- related. Basically an auto immune disease is a bit like a skirmish in war. The good guys (your anti bodies) fight off the bad guys (germs that make us sick). Occasionally and unfortunately in battle confusion can happen and there can be friendly fire (your system starts to fight itself). For some reason your anti-bodies don’t recognize who the enemy is and begins to attack healthy tissue, organs, blood, and bones, breaking down healthy systems.

Right now he suspects that I have at least three auto immune diseases present but will not know for certain until all the test results are in, which will be in two to three more weeks and then other tests may be added at that time. This may explain two previous diagnoses in the past year and my lack of response to treatment. One may have been totally misdiagnosed because it is often done so as the symptoms are the same.

Right now I am to keep doing everything the same as I have been as I may have to have more labs drawn in the next few weeks and he doesn’t want any medication in my system to skew the test results. There are potential risks with these types of diseases as they damage major organs, cause rheumatoid arthritis, and some treatments increase the risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There is not cure but the ability to control the symptoms. I am showing some joint damage in my ankles, heels, and knees. I was sad to learn that my knees are older than me. He says my knees are that of a 60 year old. I have no pain in my joints to date but he says it will come.

So, I am still plodding along waiting to see what kind of journey the Lord is going to take me on next and glad that I will not travel it alone, He leads, I follow. I am grateful that the path is well lit because it looks a little rocky ahead. I can’t wait to see what amazing things He will do, how He will touch my life, change it, and how it will affect others. I feel truly blessed, it could have been so much worse. One thing I always keep in mind when face with physical suffering is that it is nothing compared to what He suffered for me. He can take my pain and transform it into a thing of beauty and use it to glorify Him. It is a risky prayer when we pray, “Lord, use me.” We know not what we may have to go through to be useable.

It is no accident that I sat in that waiting room reading the following passage from my little prayer book about our high calling: “Keep me at tasks too hard for me, that I may be driven to thee for strength. Deliver me from fretfulness and self pity; make me sure of a goal I cannot see….May your Spirit of peace and illumination so enlighten my mind that all life shall glow with new meaning and new purpose…”

That is exactly what God is doing, taking me on a new path, giving me new meaning and a new purpose. He is putting me in a new place where I will have to rely more heavily upon Him, humble myself to ask others for help when I need it, and He is surrounding me with a new sphere of people to encourage, pray for, and share Him with. Life is very good indeed!

Resting In Him,
Miss Sandy

P.S. One of my new goals in life to make Dr. Chi smile!


Fete et Fleur said...

Sweet Sandy! I'm laughing and crying at the same time. You have become a very dear friend and I will continue to pray for healing not just a controlling of the symptoms and that they will pin point exactly what it is that's causing the trouble.

Hugs! Nancy

Lori said...

Miss Sandy, you certainly have a way with words...i agree with Nancy wholeheartedly...i will keep you in my prayers too, hoping they can get you diagnosed quickly so the treatment of your symptoms can begin:) hugs!!!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Miss Sandy, if you can make us smile, you can surely make that ole doc smile.

Well, so we appear to be falling apart, eh? I know that He suffered for us, and what we suffer is a vapor of a reminder, but he also suffered that we could be healed so, if you don't mind, that's how I'll be praying.

Do you remember the part in
"The Hiding Place" when Corrie and her sister were stripped of their clothing in exchange for prisoner's clothes and Corrie's sister reminded her that He was naked for us? That's what your comment reminded me of...

With your cheerful spirit, your faith in a faithful Lord, your support from family, friends, and figs, I know that these difficulties will become the fodder for stories and a big help to others. I believe that profoundly!

Gentle hugs, dear friend.

Cindy Is Crafty said...

Miss Sandy,
This should do it with Dr. No Humor. Next time you are in for your test results, look him dead in the eye and ask him if the rabbit died. He will either laugh or freak out. Either way it will be fun for you.

I once went to a dentist with Tourette's. He was a great dentist, but he had THAT vocal tic. The only person I knew with Tourette's had a physical tic. She would flail her head from side to side.

I was picturing how a denitist with a drill in my mouth or worse that numbing needle could do his job flailing his head.

He walked in all cute and pretty fresh from school, introduced himself, picked up my xray to look at it and then said the f-bomb!

Everyone was waiting to see if I would freak or what I would do, when I said, "not the first time someone looked at my xrays and said that!" From them on he would joke around with me.

He was an awesome dentist and when I moved 2 hours away for a while I would travel back 2X a year for him to see me. I couldn't keep it up, but wonder how he is doing to this day.

I will keep thinking of you and saying a little prayer.

Catherine Holman said...

Hi Sandy, I went for years without being diagnosed and thought I was going crazy. I was finally sent to a hematologist 3 years ago because a dermatologist ran tests that no one else had. They can't cure me, but it's treatable with steriods and I admit that I now feel great. The steroids plus chocolate chips and pepsi are why I can paint so quickly! I'll keep you in my prayers. Hugs, Cathie

maudie-mae said...

It's amazing how your body rebels against you and YOU get to learn the whole new vocabulary. I know, I've been there. On the being 101, I got a phone call asking if I were the owner of my house and if I had been born in 1913. OOOPs! No, that wasn't me, well, could it have been the previous owner? I live in a new (at the time) development and no one else had lived here before me. Oh, they said, sorry to have bothered you. For being 95 years old, I "sure have been well-preserved." (to quote Charlene Darling from the Andy Griffith show).

Anonymous said...

Sandy- you are truely in my prayers and in my heart. I hope this brightens you day I left you something on my blog!


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Good morning, Miss Sandy. I've got a little something for you on my blog today. ;>

Bejeweled said...

Oh Sandy! I had no idea you were dealing with medical issues! I hope they are able to figure out something to help you! It sounds like you have some very complex things going on in your body, but it sounds like they are offering you some new hope. Thinking along the lines of chi and feng shui .. have you tried an acupuncturist? Sometimes eastern medicine is better at dealing with chronic illness better than western medicine.

I had a lot of reading to catch up here... I hope your Valentine's Day was glorious! Your treasures from the deep for the mermaid swap are just wonderful!! And that story about you and the helpful grocery store employee/ potential mugger is just classic - I was laughing so hard!!

Take care! I hope with all those tests, they are able to give you some answers soon!

Judy said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your medical issues! My stepmom is going through all the same type of tests right now...and does not have a label for her pain.

Keep your sense of humour & your hope in Him...and know my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Kari & Kijsa said...

Your sense of humor throughout this post was wonderful! You had us in stitches (oh no..a bad medical pun!!!) A beautiful way with words and outlook. God is good...all the time!

Thank you so much for your sweet words, and helping make kari's fourtieth birthday special!

kari & kijsa

The Feathered Nest said...

Hi sweet Sandy! You have such a way with words!!! How in the world do you make a doctor's visit so entertaining!!! It really is funny when you look at it all the way you told it....I'm so very glad that they are figuring out what direction to go in helping you. I'm hearing of this more and more. Hopefully you can control everything with medicine and feel good again. I'm so very glad you didn't have to have the bad test!!
I have to tell you, I feel so very blessed right now. I have had so many wonderful things happen to encourage my can I not create?? Thank you too sweetie, you are a wonderful cheerleader to me...hope you're feeling good tonight. I'll check Haven for Vee's sheet music, sounds just wonderful!!
Wishing you and your family a great weekend,

Lovella said...

Oh Miss Sandy. . .I smiled. . I ready quickly to see what was coming next and then in the end I teared up a bit.
Your writing is just beautiful. . .I'll be back.

Jennifer said...

Oh Sandy...With the kids off this week I haven't been doing much blog reading. I am so sorry to hear what you have been going through. Please know that you are in my thoughts! But my are too funny! Keep that sense of does wonders!

Kentucky Bound said...

You are certainly very articulate and have a wonderful memory for a woman of 101! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I know that the waiting and the not knowing are sometimes much more difficult than finally hearing a diagnosis. At least when we can place a name to our adversary it is much easier to gird ourselves for the battle ahead and meet him head on with the "I'm not afraid of you" and my Father can beat you up" attitude. Prayer, Faith, and laughter are the best medicine - and from the short time I've been acquainted with you, I don't think you have a deficiency in any one of them!

P.S. Just as a suggestion - next time you go to see Dr. Chai arm yourself with a few strategically placed smiley face "tattoos" in areas where you know he'll be examining. Several little smilies winking back at him may be just what the doc needs to put a few cracks in his professional facade. After that chipping the way down to his sense of humor should be a breeze.

Charm & Grace said...

Oh Sandy, you made me laugh (out loud... in a room full of people), you made me cry, and you inspired me. Your faith is such an encouragement; I will continue to pray for you in your journey and remain thankful that one day we'll all be completely whole and well with Him.

Blessings and prayers,

Charm & Grace

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