15 March 2010

At least I have my health, at least I have my health . . .

I actually say that to myself sometimes, when I'm really stressed and having a hard time finding anything to feel truly grateful about. And it's true: I've been lucky to be be pretty healthy. I'd like to give myself some credit for eating well and exercising, both of which I do, but some of it is just good luck, and for that, I do give thanks.

Like many people, I tend to book my yearly doctor and dentist appointments in the new year, and I've just finished up making my rounds. This year, I have all new doctors, which is tough. I absolutely loved my doctors in Boston, and establishing that relationship is difficult. But I lucked out with both my GP and my OB/GYN here, so that's a relief.

What's not a relief is that all the tests that the doctors ordered for me came back wacky to one degree or another. I have a history of high (like 225+ high) cholesterol, so my doc wanted to check that. As expected, my numbers were elevated, 225. It's genetic, and my good cholesterol is off the charts while my bad cholesterol and triglycerides are normal or low. So that's not unexpected or a big deal, although it is annoying to be cursed with the bad cholesterol genes.

While she was at it, my doc ordered a fasting glucose test. I've never had an issue with glucose levels, so I'm not sure why she ordered the test, but she did, and so I got it at the same time as the cholesterol test—also fasting—was done. Those numbers came back in the "prediabetic" range.

WTF???

About this, I am indignant rather than resigned. I eat well. I exercise. My BMI is normal. I control my lifestyle factors. In addition, I have no real family history of diabetes; I don't think the overweight smokers who don't watch what they eat and have onset in their 60s really count here. Psychologically, this result is a blow because diabetes = insulin = pancreas = NO FUCKING WAY IS MY PANCREAS LETTING ME DOWN. The other pancreas, so to speak, in my life already did that.

I'm getting retested; this might have been a fluke. No matter what, it's irritating. I take good care of myself, and yet my body lets me down. This test result, minor as it truly is, gives me the smallest glimpse into how John must have felt when he was diagnosed with cancer. His body failed him in the gravest possible way. If I'm this annoyed about a test result that might not even be meaningful, I can't begin to imagine the anger he felt at his own being when we got his diagnosis.

Also in the queue is an ultrasound for what the OB/GYN thinks is either a return of the fibroids or an ovarian cyst + a do-over on my pap as it, too, was abnormal but so marginally so as to almost certainly be a false positive.

Despite all that, I have my health. I do. But I'm still annoyed.

15 comments:

liz smith said...

I'm sorry about the glucose. I got dx of pre-diabetes a year ago. I had gestational though so at least I had some indication. It also doesn't run in my family except my dad. Who had a heart transplant. I'd always assumed the transplant which was necessary due to a virus was the cause of the diabetes. I recently found out it was due to his being premature and that actually altered his genes. Fast forward all of us kids are at risk. UGH! I control with diet and exercise but some days want to just take a pill and eat some junk food. : } Hope yours is a fluke and false.

Ellen said...

I had a high BG for fasting test as well, and when I did the repeat it was normal. I hope yours is too.

Laurel said...

I hope it's all just weirdness. I suppose the glucose test brings home what you've said before--that sometimes there is no fairness in health, and we have no control over what happens. (Like your posts about the people who say you should think positive to beat cancer.)

But it does seem extra unfair that you should get--probably explicable, probably not serious, but still--off results on so many tests all at once!

anita said...

I hear you on being annoyed! I'm a 35 year old female always been in great health and went for a general check-up last summer to discover that I have elevated liver enzymes. Two ultrasounds, a liver biopsy, and a gazillion blood tests later, there is no definitive reason why my liver is inflamed! Going to a third liver specialist next week. And I feel fine! I feel like a ticking time bomb, although the doctor reassures me that this could just be a mild autoimmune condition I have that should not affect my life span. Still, I'm very very very annoyed (and scared.) I hope your tests all return normal!

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what has changed in the standards of what is normal vs. what is a little bit abnormal. This same thing happened to my husband. After numerous tests (to the tune of him going back over 5 times), he is a perfectly healthy individual. The same thing happened when he went to the Dentist (i.e., suspicious growth - see oral surgeon who couldn't find anything wrong).

I've come to the conclusion that it is how our health professionals fill their schedules and their pockets. I remember 20 years ago when making an annual appointment, I had to do it 3 months in advance. Now I call and they can get me in tomorrow at 10:00 am.

On the other hand, it's good to know that if there is any problems lurking, they should hope to find them sooner rather than later.
Melaka

Mommy, Esq. said...

It's good that your doctors are being pro active - many don't run any routine tests. Did you have gestional diabetes when you were pregnant? That is another pre-diabetic sign as I learned when I applied for life insurance after I was diagnosed with it.

Snickollet said...

Mommy, Esq.:

No! I did not have gestational diabetes! Not even close! I'm telling you, I have *none* of the risk factors for diabetes. Sigh.

-snick

Eugenie said...

I was doing some research for work yesterday and discovered that high glucose readings in the absence of other factors can be directly tied to stress. I'm betting on that...because, you know, I have a medical degree from Google University. In any event, wishing for peace for you...in body and mind.

OTRgirl said...

It's always frustrating, yet interesting to me when life throws me circumstances that help me understand what other people are going through. All the pep talks I've given my husband over the years echoed in my head after the miscarriage and I wanted to slap myself. I didn't have a gut-level understanding of how it feels to be directly disappointed by God. The insight into how John might have felt about his body is compelling.

Sigh. Makes me wish you could talk it over with him.

Christa said...

I know nothing about the pre-diabetic thing, but I did want to mention something about the cholesterol numbers. My doc recommends getting an additional test done that counts the lipoproteins. I am probably explaining it wrong, but basically the amount of HDL/LDL isn't as important as the lipoproteins since it’s the lipoproteins that make it possible for the cholesterol to build up on your arteries. I've heard it described as a standard HDL/LDL count is counting the passengers on a freeway, but to gauge the traffic you want to know the number of cars and the lipoproteins are the cars. Anyway, the test is sometimes not covered by insurance, but its cheap (less than $100) and it can give you a better understanding of your HDL/LDL number. They are finding that this test begins to explain those towns in Europe where everyone eats fatty foods, but no one has heart disease. Basically there is more to the story of heart health than just your HDL/LDL number.

Kekukila said...

Insulin issues can also be a result of lovely gyno issues -- if you're prone to cysts you might have PCOS which is easily controlled for most women with either diet or a drug they often give to diabetics to control how your body processes foods into sugars - I was on it for a time and dropped 15 lbs. So it aint all bad news ;)

Lisa said...

Just started reading your blog recently and must say you are great to read. I do hope you get better results. I too equate pancreas the way you do thanks to my grandma and another family member.

Prayers for you to continue your good health so that you can always have that.

Steph said...

That's why they call it "the practice of medicine"! I have nothing against doctors, but I do feel that sometimes they do things so you have to keep coming back. They are very "test" happy and I don't know about others, but my insurance doesn't pay 100% for procedures and tests and it can get expensive! A couple years ago during my annual gyn appt. my doctor wanted me to have an MRI on my right ovary because she felt something, but in the same breath said it could be a bowl movement! WTF? I never had the MRI and everything works perfect.....

abbiejoy said...

Your post really resonated with me. This week is the seventh anniversary of the death of a close friend who was diagnosed with a rare and very aggressive cancer when she was 20. I can only imagine how angry she was.

I'm having my own issues these days, and really relate to the WTF of it all.

Colleen said...

I, too, have a family history of high cholesterol; my HDL and LDL have always been off (HDL too low; LDL too high) even though I eat well and exercise, etc. etc. But I started taking fish oil tablets last year, and lo-and-behold, even though my total cholesterol and LDL were too high, my HDL was in the normal range for the first time in my life! (They still put me on cholesterol-lowering drugs--sigh--but it felt good to finally see some happy numbers on the printout).