Sunday, October 5, 2008

Birthday and More

Wow, time has really slipped past! I don't know about you, but September seemed to go by very quickly for me... a set of anticipatory dates. Some bad and some good. As I mentioned in my last post, my birthday was one of the good dates!

The day before my dad, sister and younger brother and I went out to eat at Fresh Choice. Alex took the above picture in the parking lot. Then we took this one.

Looking into the light of sunset! Yes, we shop at Aeropostale and American Eagle. ;)

And my birthday was lovely!

Things started off with a special chocolate chip pancake breakfast, made by Alex!

The pancakes :)

Toot was very jealous and wanted some.

Then Alex and I went Waddling. "Waddling" is what we call hiking. After that we swam.

Posing for mom, looking into the sun

After that it was a warm bath where I read more of The Amber Spyglass (down to the last 100 pages!) and soon enough, it was dinner time. Okay... there may have been a horseback ride somewhere in there... but to be honest... I'm 25 now, and memory is slipping... this was two weeks ago. I think. Oh dear.

The dinner of my choice: spaghetti, garlic bread and salad!

I also requested specific decorations. I had a goodie bag from a meeting with the local quarry, and asked her to decorate with what was inside. Well, she did. All of it.

The ruler and pamphlet from the goodie bag... and a sign from Momma to RoRo. ;)

Then it was present time. Here are some of the highlights:

Receiving a certain movie.

Receiving low-cut socks which I hate. Apparently my mom wanted some so she gifted them to me so that I'd later shove them off onto her.

I also helped decorate my chocolate cake.

Before I decorated.

After I decorated. Yes, I'm aware that I have a dangerous obsession with sprinkles.

The finished cake. My mom added all the chocolate we had in the house, including Easter egg candies.

And Christmas M&M's. YAY! I just wish I knew why it was sideways. I didn't upload it like that.

A cool "action" shot.

All in all, it was a lovely birthday! One I will always recall with a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart. Thank you to my family for making the day so lovely!

Now onto the reason for some of the "bad" dates in September. I share this so that some of you may hopefully learn from what I have experienced. It's nothing too dramatic -- just the everyday challenges of living. But since it deals with health, it's important.

Do any of you remember my brief mention back in July of a health scare? My sister's eyes were getting increasingly puffy. At first we thought it was allergies but when it became worse, we got worried that it could be a symptom of kidney failure, which my grandma had. She was tired and lethargic, something unusual for a healthy girl who often runs 5-6 miles a day. Thank the gods, it wasn't her kidney, but rather a bad sinus infection. My family has large sinuses, and the mucus had built up so much that it needed somewhere else to go, hence the fluid around her eyes. Gross, yes, but a good thing to know for anyone else who has large sinuses -- these infections express themselves in bizarre ways at times! It took her about 2 months to fully kick the nasty bugger.

Okay, that had nothing to do with my current health drama but it was a lesson nevertheless.

At the beginning of the month I went in for my annual exam, assuming all was well and that I'd get the clean bill of health I needed to apply for medical insurance. Instead, my doctor listened to my chest for a long while then said "It's funny that you mentioned your mom has a small heart murmur -- you have one, too."

She then checked my blood pressure and mentioned that she was concerned over how high it was. No shit. She'd just told me that I had something wrong with my heart. In the end I had her look up my numbers from a few days before when I'd been in to get seen for a sinus infection of my own (left over from the smoke this summer... and 3 recent fires, for which a pyro is suspected). They were way lower, at normal levels.

I had blood work done and an EKG (echo cardiogram) scheduled for a week and a half later then went home to fret and worry. More so than I probably should have, even after my dad did some research (because I was too afraid to) and found out that heart mumurs are most common in young women and are more often than not harmless. Every once in a while I'd have a small panic attack where I'd have to mentally talk myself out of my fear, then sometimes when I felt fine, I'd think, "why aren't you worrying? You should be worrying..." and it would start all over again.

I have since learned that a certain, innocent-looking little Pill that many of us lasses are on has the side-effect of anxiety. Funnily enough, as time wore on, the anxiety got less and less as, I presume, this side-effect began to wane.

Unfortunately, my birthday was in the middle of all this emotional upheaval, so I was worried it would spoil it. I made no big plans and barely mentioned it to anyone, but as I mentioned above, it was a wonderful day. :)

The day of my EKG finally came and I was nervous as feck. I warned the technician that my heart would be beating really fast given my nerves. I had to lie on my left side and face a wall for 20 minutes while she dug the ultrasound thing into my boob and bruised it. Reminds me of how much I hate going to the doctor/even just visiting hospitals.

I tried to distract myself to calm down, looking at the small chinks in the white wall that reminded me of bullet holes. I imagined a documentary about a man whose job it was to fill in the tiny holes with a toothpick and a grainy substance, and when people would ask him, "why don't you just plaster the whole thing over with a trowel?" he'd get defensive and say, "there would be microscopic air pockets, you ignoramus!"

Every once in a while she'd hit a button and I could hear my own heart. At times that freaked me out. I was surprised by what my heart sounded like, after a while. It sounded like a cougar. Seriously. A cougar yowling. Maybe my heart didn't murmur at all... it yowled like a cougar!

After the lady beat up my boob she said the cariologist would look at it and contact my doctor, who would then contact me. In a few days. A week went by. I finally called to see what was up. Two days later I got a call from my doctor's office.

"We have your EKG results and they came back normal."

"...Really? Oh. That's good but... that's weird. The doctor thought I had a heart murmur."

"Well... it says it's normal so..."

"That's a good thing. Thank you."

Apparently athlete's hearts also make a sound that can be mistaken for a murmur. Yes, I do run twice a week 20-30 minutes (often in 85+ heat, which was my main reason for doubting anything seriously being wrong with my heart) hike twice a week, and often horseback ride, but I am far from what I would call an athelete. So either my doctor was just hearing things or... I have a transient heart murmur like my mom -- sometimes it's there, sometimes it isn't, but either way it isn't something to worry about.

So yes, that's my medical drama that hopefully you will learn something from!

Oh, and I almost forgot. I was denied medical coverage because I have acne. ACNE. They system has become so corrupt that they only provide coverage for those who don't need it because... apparently acne is a debilitating, high-cost insurance risk. Right.

Coming soon... I'll take you on a horseback ride! :)

mackenzie's momma -- Aww, that's a shame! And btw, it may not be a new haircut, but I'm loving what your style is in your profile pic. ;)

Tracie -- Bless your heart, thank you so much! :)

Mo -- Thank you, also, for your birthday wishes! And your words of support. And it sounds like you had an awesome, unique experience growing up in such a school!

1 comment:

Mackenzies Momma said...

Ah yes, my 'stolen hair' :D ;) Since the last time I cut it I was very very brave and took off 6 inches I wanted something I *knew* I would like.

Glad you had a wonderful birthday, but seriously- you are just NOW getting that movie?! ;) If I'd of known you didn't have it I would of put you on my 'give it to them like candy' list. It has become my 'fall back' gift. If I can't decide what to give, thats it.

As for the heart murmur- just be glad if it is transient/your doctor was hearing things. I cannot tell you how annoying it gets to take a toddler into the doctor, and have them all tell me that 'oh you do know she has a heart murmur, right?' No, no the cardiologist only freaked me the feck out for nothing. Though I'm not surprised that they turned you down for health insurance over something as trivial and annoying as acne. Really the health insurance system is sooo screwed up; but I'll be good and not go off on THAT rant.

How's school going, by the way?