Monday, January 28, 2013

Health Update

What is to follow details the life of a person with several concurrent chronic illnesses. When I am too weak to put together a proper post, I figure I might as well describe my life as it is. This at least makes me feel more productive.  

The fatigue that characterized most of a month has subsided a little. It has not yet gone away completely. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the psychiatrist. I expect that the dosage of thyroid medications I've been prescribed will be upped slightly. I began at 25 micrograms, the lowest possible amount. Along with some increased energy and a few pesky side effects, I notice my fingernails are now growing at twice their normal rate.  

Tomorrow's visit will include copious amounts of bloodwork. I've almost gotten used to it by now. One of the bipolar meds, Lithium, can only have its level checked by first taking blood. I know generally whether or not I'm toxic or too low, but even in being responsive to what my body tells me, I still can't provide an accurate reading on my own. Along with Lithium will be several more vials to contribute. These will test for thyroid and pituitary hormone levels.

I've developed a severely overactive bladder. I first noticed the symptoms about five or six years ago, but the condition has gotten worse over the past year. When I found myself unable to sit longer than twenty minutes at a movie theater before having to head to the restroom, I knew I had to make some changes. Though I wish more low-impact procedures had been sufficient, I suppose I should be happy that solutions exist.

Two medications and a less invasive procedure have had minimal success. The worst symptoms are gone, but the problem continues. I am scheduled for surgery in a month or two. One option on the table is called interstim, which inserts a pacemaker-like device to prevent the spine from over-signaling the bladder to void. This is more invasive than I'd like, but I'll do it if I must. The graphic at the top of this post shows a graphical interpretation of the surgery.

The other, believe it or not, involves Botox. In this procedure, a small amount of toxin is injected into the bladder. It immobilizes the organ completely. The drawbacks are that it's not permanent. Botox injections have to be redone every nine months to a year. However, it does not run the risk of potentially causing severe side effects. I value the ability to attain an erection, to be totally truthful.

In the next three weeks, I have two fairly invasive pre-operation procedures scheduled. I won't go into much detail about those. What I will say is that the outcome of both will determine which course of action the urologist and I choose to pursue.

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