Wednesday, July 13, 2005

You've gotta love a doctor that, when he sees you, the first thing out of his mouth is "There's my brave, brave lady!" (actually, he's got a thick, non-descript accent that I want to think is Phillipino or something close, so it was more like "Ah! Zhere's my bdafe bdafe leddy!" but still, the thought was clear). I love my doctors.

What we found out was that the tumor they removed was 47 grams (I find it amusing that the only way I could place this number into something not completely abstract was to realize that it's close to the weight of a 50g ball of yarn) and 4.5 cm oval, about the size of a large egg. It was extremely large, but relatively even, and well-contained, so they doubt any contamination of surrounding glands/organs/regions. My emotions and everything I'm feeling are just right at the moment (yay! depression ROCKS!) and the doctor looked at GB and said "she's supposed to be tired, and cranky and irritable and depressed, so you give her sympathy" (we both said he was doing an excellent job of providing sympathy, and he is). One test they've done recently is TSH levels (Dad, maybe you can help here... Thyroid Something Hormones???) A normal level is around 5. Higher numbers are hypothyroid, which is when you get into that depression, and hair and nails breaking, and weight gain, and fatigue, and all the other wonderful side effects that I'm have EVERYONE of (except infertility, but frankly, I haven't tested that so I don't know). I was at 64 last Friday, likely higher still now. So mathematicians out there will realize I'm about 13 times as tired as you are! Or something like that.

It's sort of like being in a permanent state of PMS. I've explained PMS to male friends in this way: it's not that the things that upset us are "nothing" or "meaningless" - it's that we don't have the energy to control our emotions, so everything hurts more than it normally does. It's like our bodies magnify the emotions - not that it creates emotions that aren't there already.

So I'm finding that there are many things that would piss me off with a flash that spotlights directly onto my Scottish and Italian temper, but instead of that spotlight burning out, or me being able to flick the switch to turn it off, it just keeps glaring. And I've become some huge empath, where everyone else's pain hurts as much as my own. I'd like to think I've always been particularly empathetic (certainly I always have been so with animals) but the extremes that I'm feeling are new to me (caused by that 64 up above).

Case in point: a nationally-syndicated, but local-to-me DJ lost his wife this past weekend in a car accident. The woman had been on the show with her husband and his partner many times. She was hit head on by a driver who was swerving to avoid traffic ahead of him. Not only did the news of this affect me a great deal and send me into a new little whirl of depression, I keep thinking "He's having to deal with all of this in public. He's never going to be allowed private time to grieve for the loss of his wife, his best friend, his lover..."

I've been a radio celebrity (not to his level, by any stretch, but I think once you're recognized at a drive through window, or at WalMart at 4 in the morning, it counts as celebrity) and there's a reason radio people use fake names. People believe they are your friend because you're there for them everyday commenting on things that happen in their lives. People try to get your phone number, someone who has only spoken to you on the phone to request their favorite song thinks you're dating each other (honest), they think they can comment on your hairstyle or your outfit, or whatever's going on in your life.

This man is having news stories written about him and his wife (putting out her full name and his real name) and will not only have to deal with everything involved in losing a spouse (an image I don't even want to begin to ponder) but will have to do it in the public eye. He doesn't get to control what gets said about him or her, and even if it's all completely positive, he doesn't get the dignity or respect of grieving in his own way. He may never recover enough go back to the show - I can't imagine I could go back to four hours daily of talking about my life after something like that. But in these early hours, when so much in his life is completely out of control, the simple control of being able to express things for yourself is completely demolished. Even if he were to choose to make very public statements about it, that would be his choice. The public statements others are making about him are not. It sounds very much like a horrible nightmare to me.


Blogger purlewe said...

I said something to my aunt recently (about the fact that she has 3 teenagers in her house and they all act like EVERYTHING is DRAMA about THEM.) And I liekned it to babies having tastebuds the size of grownup tastebuds.. that is why everything tastes stronger, spicey, sweeter, etc.. b'c they ahve the oversensitive, large nerve endings in a small size package.. right now you ahve oversensitive awareness in a small sized package babe. I don't doubt that you are really depressed, and I don't need numbers to prove it. Take care, ok?

11:45 AM  
Blogger Amy Boogie said...

I like your doctor.
Hang in there with the depression. It's supposed to be temporary right? You're a sweetie and this too will end and you'll feel better. Not that you need me to blow sunshine up your ass but I just did so you can shoot me later.

As far as that radio personality you speak of, I'm pretty sure I know who you're talking about, husbeast listens to that program, he too had tears when he heard the news. I can't imagine being her husband or son dealing with that in the public eye. It makes me glad I'm not a celeb and can deal with things as I wish.

Anyway - hang in there, bdafe leddy.

12:30 PM  
Blogger Fraggle said...

So, here's the nurse in my starting to awaken as I come close to graduation. TSH is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. Seeing as they took out your thyroid, your levels will get higher because your body is trying to stimulate something that isn't there.

Hopefully that is understandable to you.

Your doing wonderfully from how it sounds, even if you feel horrible. Just remember to breathe because all you have to get through is this moment that takes place right now.

Thanks for all the support you've offered to me as well.

Take Care.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Amie said...

Yup! Thanks, Fraggle! I understand the process - just couldn't think of the word "stimulating" and my dad's a physiologist, so I knew he'd know.

(Before the surgery, they were asking me tons of questions and one was level of education. I made a face, and the nurse asking explained that they want to know how much of the proceedure the patient understands. I said "Oh, then, beyond college, raised by a physiologist and a biology teacher, live with a cop. How's that?" :)

1:08 PM  
Blogger KatyaR said...

I heard about the DJ and his wife's death. That's a hard thing to happen to someone in the public spotlight.

Right before Christmas here in OKC one of the town's highest-rated DJs walked into the studio at 6 am one morning and basically went psycho on the air. Her coworkers called station management and then the police. She stayed in the studio for about an hour (they cut the broadcast shortly after she went on the air), threatened to barracade herself in the studio, but then left before the police arrived. Turned out that she was not only drunk but probably high on prescription drugs.

Her "radio husband" basically saved her ass--forced her into rehab and saved her job. She's now back on the air after publically apologizing in print and on TV and radio, explaining that she was taking too many painkillers as a result of a an abusive relationship (she was recently divorced).

Unbelievably, her listeners have rallied around her and welcomed her back with open arms, mainly because she was so very honest about what had happened to her. She has been totally upfront about what was happening in her life and what rehab was like, and I think a lot of people have identified with her because they've gone through it, too.

Hopefully this man's listeners and his employer will rally around him and help him through this. You're right, though--it's extra hard to go through that kind of thing when everybody knows who you are.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Carolyn B. said...

Your doctor sounds so cool, and I loved the dialect spelling. I can just hear him. And -- even as just an Internet reader -- I'm thrilled for you that the tumor was so contained and shows all signs of not spreading. Your readers are rooting for you!

Re the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) numbers: Omigod, I can't believe your levels were so high! When I first started taking thyroid meds, they had to adjust my dosage because it was off just a LITTLE, and I was climbing the walls, bitching at my husband, feeling like my muscles were creeping out from under my skin, wildly irritable, etc. *shudder* And then they adjusted it too low and I could have been a yard ornament for all the energy I had. Not a place I want to go back to. My sympathies to you on how your current imbalance is affecting your energy levels. When the hormone is too low, all you want to do is just sleep. And wrap up for warmth. (Or at least that's what it was like for me.) I'm glad you've got the support of a sweet man to be there for you right now. ;o)

Some small good news: The good thing is that Synthroid used to be the only really acceptable brand-name medicine for thyroid hormone replacement (or at least for me it was); then, just a year or so ago, the levothyroxine generic was approved as being good enough to replace it for those who want generics. (Previously, my docs would not let me use the generic, due to uneven quality control.) So the medicine is now *MUCH* cheaper; yay! My insurance charges me just $5/month for generics. *whew*

Re the radio DJ story: How sad, and I understand what you mean about being in the public's eye. I used to be a reporter in a small community, and people I didn't even know would come up to me and just start chatting away because they read my regular personal column or I'd interviewed their great-aunt last month. And if I wrote about a kitten I saw on the street, I'd find a box of them on my doorstep later that week. ;o) It's very nice, but a little disconcerting sometimes. And the celeb knows he or she had better not act like an ass in public, too; anything you do -- in their eyes -- reflects back on your employer. Ask me how I know! (I bitched once about some truly poor service at a video store and they pulled their ads from the newspaper the next day. Jerks ...)

Although, I would have to say that I have a different perspective than yours on the DJ's situation. As private as grief is, I would think that it would help, in the long run, to know that people are aware of your loss and are sympathetic. They may cut him some slack if he's less productive, less interesting, less zesty on the job during the early months of his mourning. And (I hope) he may find there are others who have had terrible losses too who sympathize with him and are there for him to lean on because they know what he's going through. I hope the community rallies around him, although he's really the only one who can make that journey through his grief; it's a lonely trip any way you do it, when you go home at night without the spouse. (I haven't had a spouse to die but have had two divorces ... also lonely and full of grief. Glad to be happily married now for the past 10 years.) Anyway -- just my thoughts. I hope the poor man finds some solace in his work, his friendships, and his family. It speaks of your kind soul that you are empathizing with his pain.

Sorry for the long posting -- you just struck a chord with me!

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sweetie. Fraggle is correct about the TSH. If there are any thyroid cells remaining in you, they'll be starving for iodine (courtesy of your strong commitment to the preparatory diet) and DRIVEN powerfully (by the high levels of TSH being poured into your circulation by your pituitary gland) to suck up any iron that gets into your blood. That set of circumstances ensures that the followup tests with radioactive iodine and full body scanning will find any thyroid cells that might remain and enable them to be treated with a high level of specificity.

You go girl! You're doing great!


4:14 PM  
Anonymous Brandy said...

I am always amazed at how much concern you have for others with all you are going though. If I were in that situation, I would be so totally self centered that everyone around me would hate me. I truly admire how you are handling all of this. Your doctor is right about being a brave, brave lady.
As for the accent, Dr. Rosemary (one of my two doctors, they are married so we use first names), has a thick Philipino accent. I recognize it as Philipino because my geometry teacher in high school had the same accent. David remembers one class where she was talking about the characteristic of a line and it came out "character stick." There was a time when people would say "looks like someone beat you with an ugly stick" as an insult. Would a character stick be something that would give someone character? Anyway, your telling about the accent brought up that memory, so I had to share.
Keep taking care of yourself. And know that you have many people who adore you and are here for you.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Knitting Painter Woman said...

When something really resonates with me-- like the DJ's wife's untimely death-- and I have an understanding that it isn't really that I'm all THAT concerned about the other person, I've learned to ask what my reaction is trying to tell/teach me. I'm sure that the DJ could find solitary time to grieve IF HE WANTS that... would you know how to get the solitued you would want? Empathy is great except when we end up exhausted living everyone else's life.
You can imagine what a tough time I had when it was my job to console two parents whose only son had just been rendered brain dead by a drunk driver... the week he was slated to graduate from highschool... and my daughter was graduating the same year from the school across town. I "maintained" while at the hospital... and completely broke down at home. My "public" didn't know.

3:40 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Just wanted you to know you're in my thoughts, Amie!

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Susan said...

While you are going through this period of being "raw" I suggest that you refrain from watching news, or listening to a lot of radio news or even reading newspapers.

They will just drag you down. Take time to read uplifting or at least neutral things, and knit!

Sending healing thoughts your way.

6:11 PM  

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