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Month: October 2006

Spinning the wheel of the diagnosis du jour

Spinning the wheel of the diagnosis du jour

Okay, so this is that long ass boring entry where I tell you what the doctors think is actually happening with my chest pains.  *yawn* So, I am going to send you around the net if you want other writing I have snuck online in the past few days.

Over at Mommybloggers, I wrote about why moms and women might be having trouble sleeping at night. (But before you read that, you have to read the amazing interview and essay by Krisco of Crib Ceiling.  I absolutely love that woman!)

And at Aggroqueen (where I am meeting other women who are into gaming such as the play girlz and The Adventuress) and learning the tricks from them, I finally was able to reveal that I have been alpha and beta testing their upcoming expansion pack to World of Warcraft:  The Burning Crusade.  Yes.  It just goes to show you that the gang over at Blizzard have one hell of a great sense of humor.  (Mwah, guys!) I am so in love with this game now.  Not that I would admit it. DO NOT tell my husband, kids or Blizzard.  They must all think they still have to win me over.  I am not a gamer yet, but trust me when I say this expansion pack is quickly shoving me in that direction.  Shhhhhhh!


Guess who got to spend half a day Friday at the hospital/doctor?  Did you guess me?  I bet you did.  You’d be right.  The diagnosis du jour is:  costochondritis.  Which is pretty much just a fancy name for “Ouch!  You have pain in your chest.  Bummer!” No, really.  That is what it means.  See.  According to who knows everything.  (They do.  I asked and they confirmed.  Everything.)

Costochondritis a syndrome of chest wall pain that is due to inflammation of the cartilage and bones in the chest wall. Also called Tietze’s Syndrome, costochondritis occurs when there is inflammation at the junction of the rib bone and breastbone (sternum). At this junction, there is cartilage joining these bones. This cartilage can become irritated and inflamed. Depending on the extent of the inflammation, this condition can be quite painful.  (No shit!)

What causes costochondritis?

Most commonly the cause of costochondritis is classified as ‘idiopathic,’ or unknown. This means that there is no identifiable cause for the condition. This does not imply that idiopathic costochondritis is any less painful of a condition than if the cause can be identified.

See?  It means “Ouch!  You have pain in your chest.  Bummer!” (Sometimes referred to the “too bad, so sad” in the School of Throw a Dart Medicinal Diagnosis.) Honestly, knowing that we have ruled out just about everything life threatening that you can rule out, I could care less what they call it as long as they make this horrendous pain go away. 

And of course, because I love to baffle the medical community, we had a fun game of “Why Is Your Stress So High and Your Blood Pressure So Low?” Remember they are also tacking on the “stress out and exhausted” tag to me?  Therefore, one would think that stressed out would indicate high blood pressure.  Nope.  My body likes to be different.  The nurse took my blood pressure 3 times insisting it must be wrong, but all 3 times it came back within 2 numbers of each other.  100/55.  She just shook her head at me and wrote it down.  Again, I just shrug it off and watch them scratch their heads in confusion. 

I have had enough EKGs that it is no longer a big deal.  Take for instance the fact that I am lying there on the examination table naked from the waist up with a hospital gown open to the front with electrodes hooked up everywhere when I noticed that my socks didn’t match.  I do not mean an obvious “one is red and the other is blue” kind of not matching.  It was more subtle.  One had a pink stripe over the toes and the other did not.  Oh the HORRORS!  I am trying to curl my toes or hide one foot under the other in an attempt to not have anyone notice that my socks don’t match.  Forget that I am half naked and having an EKG to ensure my heart is not about to kill me.  MY SOCKS DON’T MATCH. 

Yep.  I am pretty sure I have had more than my share of doctors if that was my biggest worry of the visit.

Stay tuned next week for another exciting installment of “The Pain is Still There, Let’s Spin the Wheel of Diagnosis to Determine Another Cause.” For now, I am still on medical leave from most of my freelance jobs until Nov. 1st and am trying (meaning pretending to try but am really worrying about not trying hard enough) to relax and not worry about worrying.  Which worries me.  Ha!  Gotta love the way the mind works. 

Badgermama said it best when she told me: “It would be way more to the point to get up, do your thing, but get a little help, restructure a bit, cut something from your life, and do some extra exercise or yoga or something.” That is what I am doing now.  Restructure.  Refocus.  Redirect my energies.  And of course, realize that life without stress means you are dead.  So, screw that!

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Pondering heart aches both physical and mental

Pondering heart aches both physical and mental

Look who is off of computer restriction!  Me!  Me!  See?  I am the boss of myself and no one tells me what to do.  I decide when to get online and when not to.  (But if you tell Clint I was online, I will cut you!)

First, a medical update because that will tie into the rest of this entry.  As of now, my heart is looking physically well.  It is beating strongly and pumping as it should.  My blood pressure–ironically enough– was too low for them to give me meds like nitroglycerine tabs when I was having chest pains.  Did you know your resting heart rate can actually be 45 and you can still be functioning?  And ohhhhh can we talk about how much I loved the oxygen!  And how it makes you actually able to breathe.  To breathe.  It was amazing.  So far the seventyeleven pints of blood they have taken are still not enough and they are bringing me back for me because “Gee, we just can’t seem to test for more than one thing per vial and well, we know you have a lot of blood in there.” The only thing that showed up on this round of tests physically is a lesion on my liver.  They say it is nothing to worry about.  Nothing to stress over.  To consider like a birthmark that has probably always been there.  Ummm…okay.  So, if or when we meet, don’t ask to see my birthmark.  It will totally make you vomit.

What they do know without question is that I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown stress-wise.  That 80% of this is exhaustion, stress and probably a bit of PTSD (post traumatic stress) after Mom’s death.  They are trying new meds to see if they help.  (So, far, not so much.) The chest pains?  Still intense and they do interfere with daily life.  The dizzy to the point of hitting the ground?  Yep.  Still there playing peek-a-boo.  That pretty much makes this a situation of “avoid all stress you can for 2 weeks while we madly dig through all of our medical journals to figure out what the other 20% of your health problems are.”

Avoid all stress.

Who wants 3 kids?  Want to come over and clean my house?  Want to come sit down and schedule soccer, girl scouts and gymnastics?  Anyone up for cooking dinner?  Every damn night?  Paying bills?  Working?  Writing?  Editing?

Avoid all stress.

Could someone please explain that one to me?  How?  I am serious.  (I would say dead serious, but with all of the ER visits and chest pains and such that I have had in the past few weeks, I am SO not seeing humor in that.) Suggestions to mentally de-stress?

Which brings me to the blog.  No.  I am not quitting.  How could I?  I love writing and love what I have built here.  I am not quitting.

I’ll be honest with you, though, when I tell you I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back to blogging anytime soon.  But the thing is, I love writing.  I have loved blogging.  But what is going on out there?  You see, when I started to blog, it was fun.  I loved the people I was meeting.  It was like Camp HappyWannaShowDaLove All the Time singing Kumbaya at the end of the week.  And even though that is still out there, it appears to be less the norm.  (I am looking for it.  Show it to me.) What I see are blogs that are popping up whose only purpose is to criticize and find fault in other blogs.  Blogs that are out there to make fun of other bloggers.  Blogs that decide it is entertainment to find a blog and decide to randomly rate them and say they are not worthy for whatever reason they deem at the moment.  (Don’t like the design.  The header was ugly.  There was a misspelling.  They talked about something the “reviewer” didn’t find interesting.) Or they make it entertainment to just hate on another blogger.  For the purpose of hating another person.  That is entertainment?  Something bad happened to someone so let’s point, laugh and see how badly we can make them feel?  Huh?

And then there is the personal aspect.  An example would be telling someone you barely know and have met and spoken to for maybe 5 minutes that she is “phony” “is very uphappy and needs help” and that obviously the laughing, happy person was “not the real her.” Why?  What inside a person makes them think that this is either appropriate or necessary.  Don’t get me wrong.  There is a time and place for frank honest discussions between friends.  But to barely know someone and say things even more horrifying than that to them? I don’t get it.  Call me naive, but I really don’t get it.  I don’t understand going behind someone’s back talking about them and then going back to that person and pointing out (inaccurate) faults that you feel you know when you have no idea who that person is in her real life?  Well, it is just mean.  And, well, more importantly why?

And there is a lot of mean out there right now.

And a lot of sadness.

“Avoid all stress.”

So maybe you won’t leave my blog forever if I continue this short leave of absence.  Or maybe you will.  (I hope you will stay.) But until we know exactly what is going on with my health, I cannot afford to hang out in Camp ImaGonnaTryToHurtYou.  It just isn’t good for me.  (We will know more medically soon. I will let you know when I am back in hospital for more tests.  Currently I am scheduled to go in about a week or so.) I love blogging.  I loved being a part of Camp HappyWannaShowDaLove All the Time.  But right now, I am trying to keep my health from getting any worse.  Because I am pretty sure that if I hit the floor at Kroger one more time with my teenage son, he will run away from home.

And your comments you’ve been leaving for me?  Thank you. I wish I knew a better way to say thank you. Thank you for being kind, my friends.  Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but that is all I know to express my gratitude.  Thank you from the bottom of my strongly beating, but aching heart.  I love you guys!

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Good news. Frustrating news. Rebellious Jenn.

Good news. Frustrating news. Rebellious Jenn.

This is Jenn:


This is Jenn on drugs:


The good news:  Her heart looks good.

The frustrating news:  She has been told she is exhausted and overly stressed.

The good news:  They found no clots.

The frustrating news:  They are still looking for the reason behind her dizziness, shortness of breath and pain.

The good news:  She is catching up on movies/DVDs.

The frustrating news:  She is about to come out of her skin wanting to be “doing something.”

The good news:  She is very cheered by your good wishes and heartfelt thoughts of healing and support.

The frustrating news:  She desperately wants to jump back in and get to work full force. 

The good news:  She goes back in again tomorrow for more tests.

The frustrating news:  She goes back in again tomorrow for more tests.

She wants me to tell you (against my wishes) that she has about had it with this grounding.  (I am leaving out the profanity she used to protect my image.) The doctor says less stress, more rest.  But stubborn muleheaded darling Jenn is using the excuse that the cardiologist found nothing but fatigue so she is free.  I am using the reasoning of we still don’t know what the hell is going on. 

I win.


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Again with the ER. Get a room why don’t you!

Again with the ER. Get a room why don’t you!

[Clint here again]

Apparently resting does not sit well with Jenn.  Try caging up a tiger.  I caught her on Thursday disconnected from the Internet but trying to redesign her blog.  Because it seems THAT is relaxing.  Not.  I traded her laptop (stole it and hid it) for a DVD player for the rest of the day and sent her to bed.  (That woman can be as passive aggressive as they come when you take her laptop.  Apparently my parentage came into question.  Nah.  I kid! She was nice (in a pouting way.) Just guilt ridden for not “doing anything.”

That brings us to this past Friday.  She spent yet another entire day in the hospital running more tests.  X-rays and 15 vials of blood.  She claims that she is about a pint low now.  After an entire day there, they determined that they could not find anything life threatening that would force them into keeping her in the hospital overnight, so they let her come home to rest in her own bed.  Somehow her resting is very hard work for her and for me.  She mentioned she is thankful it is the weekend so she can sleep in.

That was until we get the call at 7:45am this morning from her doctor telling her to go to the ER right that minute for a CT scan of her lungs. (Some blood work indicated a possible blood clot that could cause the shortness of breath.) So off she goes again to the hospital to get more blood drawn, more x-rays and a CT scan.  They were looking for a PE in her lungs, but thankfully, she was clear.  The only thing that did show up that they will investigate further (according to the ER doctor) is this tiny, barely there little mass that is “not uncommon” and “doesn’t look bad at all” and “is nothing whatsoever to worry about.” Which of course to Jenn means, freaking the hell out until she talks to her doctor again.  This will be as soon as she can.

On Monday she has an appointment with a cardiologist to get all of the cardiology work-ups run–again– but by a specialist and one of the best.  Needless to say this whole “try to keep stress free” is not so much working for her.

Thank you for your good thoughts. I am passing them on.  They are helping.  She would be angry if I told you this, but she is really pretty scared right now.  With a father who has had 3 heart attacks and having her Mom die this year, she is terrified of even the things that should not scare her. This is big enough to have her freaking out.  So, trust me when I tell you that your sweet thoughts, prayers, and positive thoughts help her a lot. 

If you spot her online, though, feel free to report her.  She has plenty of books, DVDs and crocheting to keep her busy.  She does not need to be online.  Right?  I do want you to know that I am passing on your good thoughts.  She thanks you.  As she worries about not being “allowed” to email you back.  (This is where the husband eye-roll of massive frustration sets in.)

Oh, and she asked me to ask you something.  Does anyone have any good DVD recommendations?  NOT animated with talking animals.  She is over what we have here and says she refuses to watch Strawberry Shortcake again.  Or Pokemon…ever.  She thanks you.  I thank you.  The doberbutt thanks you.

I’ll keep you updated.

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Tender heart

Tender heart

[Clint–Jenn’s husband–here posting for Jenn]

If you know Jenn, you know she has a tender heart.  Apparently, too tender.  She was sent to the ER yesterday morning for chest pains and shortness of breath.  They have run test after test after test–EKGs, 87 pints of blood (according to her), chest x-rays…the works.  As of yet, they have not found anything that is sending up red flags.  They had her on oxygen which she claims is the first time she has been able to breathe well in over a week.  She is scared that they are not sure what is wrong but relieved it doesn’t appear to be a heart attack.  She is home today in bed and sleeping.  We are looking for a follow-up with a cardiologist as soon as we can. (She has a strong family history of heart disease.) She is feeling scared and embarrassed since she has no idea what is happening but is still in pain and having a hard time breathing.  (She could use any good thoughts you might have.)

Jenn–being Jenn– is completely worried about emails she has to return, blogs she has to post on, people she owes phone calls to etc.  I challenge any of you to keep this woman calm and not focused on “letting people down” (her words) because I am not good at it.  I am here to let you know she has been grounded from the computer.  The last thing she needs to do is worry at this point, so I am keeping her offline. If you need anything, feel free to comment and I will let her know.  Unless you are being mean and then I will ignore you or hunt you down.

She will update you as soon as she can. As soon as she is ungrounded.

Thanks for any good thoughts.  I will pass them along to her.


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