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Written by Kate

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I Bring the Rain to PHX


I am here in Arizona, and it is raining, and it is perfect.  This winter rain during my Mayo trip is a tradition, and I’m glad PHX is holding up her end of the deal.

rainy day with citrus trees

My trip began very early this morning (we’re talking before 4:00 am), but I landed at PHX before 9:30am.  My second and final flight of the day was filled with a high school girl’s basketball team who happened to predominantly be made up of first-time flyers… who cried.  And cried.  And cried.  And cried.  They were sweet girls, but they were oh so frightened.  It broke my heart.

On a happier note…

Maple Syrup Shortbread Cookies by Nikki's Cookie Confections

Along the way, I picked up these beauties, to take my medicine with.  The three delicious maple syrup shortbread cookies (adorably shaped like maple leaves) were worth the $5.99 I spent.  (Do the math?  That’s essentially $2 a cookie.  And they weren’t more than 1″ wide!)

I digress.

My cardiology appointments are in the morning.  Look for an update tomorrow.

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It’s that time of year…


…when the world falls in love.

Oh, wait.  That’s not where I meant to go with that.

my sweet restrung Christmas evergreen

It’s that time of year when I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, decorate with evergreens and lights, consume delicious treats, (travel to) visit with family, and prepare for a trip to Mayo Clinic.

You know… ’cause it’s December.

And that’s how we do.

I pray this little blurb finds you healthy and happy and enjoying the holiday season.  Thank you for your love and support.

 

Details to come.

In the News: Chronic Fatigue Likely Not Linked to Virus


It’s a sick day here in my house, so I’ve been easing into my day rather slowly.  You know how it goes… a few minutes on Facebook, a couple turns on Hanging with Friends, a bit of news, and Twitter, of course.  Nothing unusual, I know, but check out what I found in a tweet by the Deseret News out of Salt Lake City.

Research casts doubt on link between chronic fatigue, virus | Deseret News

I’d say I’ve always been a skeptical about the seemingly-simply virus explanation, but truth-be-told, I’m skeptical about most  explanations I’ve been given.  While I’d love to be able to simply explain my chronic health issues to family members and friends, I have yet to use any one explanation… I usually list three or four theories I’ve heard over the years.  And, frankly, I am likely far too proud to subscribe to one theory only to be told years later I’d been so set on said theory I missed the truth.  Is it just me?

Now, this is likely naive of me, but I can’t get over the fact that 17 studies have knocked down the theory.  Is this as high as it seems to me?  Maybe we can move on to researching a new theory, instead of just debunking old ones?  Based on the incredible experiences I’ve had over the last two years, I imagine the medical world could accomplish a lot in 17 separate studies.

Here’s something you may not know about me… while I was in college I participated in a clinical study relating to fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and pain tolerance.  It felt like something small I could do to help further our cause toward understanding, and hopefully a fix.  (I’d say cure, but the connotation seems so heroic that I feel like maybe it should be reserved for cancer, AIDS, etc.)

Anyway, you should read through this article, as well as those to which it links.  Let me know what you think about the road to uncovering the why behind our health issues.  And, let’s hear your wild ideas about what causes chronic fatigue (or chronic pain).

Sometimes I Feel Like Barbie or Fibromyalgia and Car Travel


Now, don’t get me wrong.

It’s just after 8am on Saturday, my alarm went off nearly three hours ago, and last I checked I am shaped nothing like the abnormally proportioned toy to which I refer. I am not wearing any makeup, my hair is wet and heading toward unruly, and everything I am wearing is a shade of black or gray (none of these things are uncommon, btw). Needless to say, I will not be winning any awards for style or beauty. I am just here to talk about car travel.

Today Daniel and I are taking a day trip with my folks. Although my parents have a very comfortable car, when we arrive at our destination I will inevitably be feeling like Barbie. Is it just me? Do you know what I mean?

You turn to open the car door, and you crack. You step out of the car, and you pop. You stretch to the sky, and your spine sounds like internal fireworks. Maybe, like me, you do a few squats or pull a foot to your butt, and your knees seem to snap through the motions, just like Barbie legs.

Luckily, I feel comfortable while I am seated. But, once I get a chance to stand, my joints decide they are ticked I compared them to something packaged in pink and settle on causing me pain as a fair way to get even. (Don’t they know revenge never makes anything better?)

Alright, maybe my issue isn’t actually with car travel, but rather doing anything that limits my movement for hours. And maybe my joints pop like crazy no matter what. And maybe I can’t wait to go to Pops.

So, what about you? Does car travel aggregate your symptoms? Does the promise of a fun destination make it worth it? Do tell.

Mayo Clinic 2011, Day 6


Written Thursday, January 20, 2011.

Today was the big day…

My Ninth & Tenth Appointments

January 20, 2011 @ 10:00 am & 10:30 am

Mayo Clinic Hospital 1st Floor 1 West

Radiology MR

Rad MR Brain & Rad MR Venogram Head

Before my 2009 MRI, a twitter friend suggested I wear my coziest, warmest, metal-free clothes to the MRI.  She sure knew what she was talking about.  Today I wanted to do the same, so I planned every detail of my outfit to work with the MRI… except the pants.  The only cozy pants I brought on the trip have zippers at the feet and would have to be removed during the MRI.

Not good.

So, my mother-in-law and I left Mesa early enough to stop by Walmart so I could buy a pair of yoga pants to wear.  The rest of the drive was a breeze, and we arrived early enough to allow me time to change in the hospital lobby’s handicap restroom, and make our way across the lobby to the waiting room with time to spare.

The room was packed.  Like a coin-operated washer in college housing.  Way. Too. Full.  And, as I walked to the check in desk I decided I rather wait in the lobby than endure that sort of unnecessary closeness with so many complete strangers.  But, after checking in and being told the radiology wing was running at least 45 minutes late, I turned around to find my mother-in-law had actually found a seat for each of us, and the bulk of the patients had apparently been called to their appointment.  The room was half empty.

And there was a large fish tank in the middle of the room.  How did I miss that?

I have a fairly short attention span.  To mitigate impatience and disinterest, I typically carry a notepad with grid paper, a red felt tip pen, a book, and my iPhone.  Today these items came in especially helpful with my extended wait.  I may not be a Boy Scout, but I know it pays to be prepared.

And it pays to have a fish tank.

About fifteen minutes into our wait a pair of Mayo folks came into the waiting room, climbed a ladder, and began feeding the eels in the fish tank.  Fascinating, I tell you.  Fascinating.  They also fed the fish, but it wasn’t half as interesting as the methods they used to feed the eels (even the shy guy that liked to hide at the bottom of the tank).

Almost as soon as the fish-feeding skit duo wrapped up, a tour group approached the outside of the waiting room.  The tour guide paused, explained the sort of appointments that took places in the wing, and explained, “We call this the fishbowl room.  Can you guess why?”

Um…

I honestly believe it’s a toss up between the fish tank prominently located in the middle of the room, and the large bay of windows overlooking the lobby through which tour groups in power suits point, gawk, and loudly opine.

Oh wait, maybe I’m being a bit too facetious.

Anyway…

While my mother-in-law got pumped for our upcoming trip to my favorite place by reading the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2011, I people watched.  The waiting room seemed like a beach with waves of patients coming in and out constantly.  Three of us were there for almost 45 minutes, but everyone else was there less than fifteen.  I was impressed by the apparent efficiency of the wing.

Eventually a very tall and very young looking man came to fetch me.  He walked me down a hallway that was much longer than I imagined there was room for in the hospital, and dropped me off in a secondary waiting room.  This room was like a Motel 6 version of the dressing room I used for my x-ray last week.  It was tidy, but it felt more like a typical doctor’s office than of my previous experiences with Mayo.  A bit tired and a bit dated.

I didn’t have to wait long for another young-looking person to come call my name.  She walked be back up the hall a bit, and into what looked a bit too much like a hospital room for my comfort.  Luckly we walked around another corner, that looked more like a phlebotomist’s room than a hospital room.

At this point I was a bit confused.  I’d gone through great lengths and a dozen phone calls to remove with “w/sedation” from my MRI order, but she was talking about putting in my IV.

Wait, what?

I’ve never had an IV with an MRI before.

My genuine confusion was only increased by the poor soul awaking from anesthesia in the corner who was obviously sick to his stomach.  Gross.

The sweet girl recognized my concern and began to explain what she was doing.  Good save lady, good save.

She got me all wrapped up in a detailed conversation about where I wanted the IV.  She made me feel like a tough cookie for picking my hand over my elbow (but really I just didn’t want to have to have my sweatshirt sleeve pulled up for the entire 90 minute MRI).  She explained that, rather than pull me out of the MRI to inject contrast half way through, Mayo prefers to insert an IV and keep things going (makes sense to me).  She did her job, and she did it well.

After she wrapped up the port part of the IV, she sent me back to the secondary waiting room where I debated… “Should I look at the IV?  Will it make me light-headed?  This sucker is annoying.  I’ve never seen one before, in my own hand.  I should look.  No, there’s nothing to be gained.  Ew, look.  It’s bleeding.  Look away.”  And so on.

The MRI (technically MRI, MRI w/contrast, and MRV) went a million times better than I could have hoped.  I got to wear my slippers.  I was out in less than 45 minutes even though they scheduled me for 90.  I stayed calm (much thanks to lots of prayer by loved ones and myself), played MarioKart in my head (mostly DoubleDash), and almost fell asleep.

Actually, I think I did fall asleep but awoke when I twitched and accidently opened my eyes.  Yikes!

After my MRI, I stopped off at the handicap restroom to throw my sweats on over my too-big yoga pants then headed outside for some…

Fresh Air

My mother-in-law and I enjoyed a lovely lunch at Kona Grill and walked down the way to get some MoJo Frozen Yogurt (third time).  In true Kate form I butted into the conversation the sweet ladies enjoying their frozen yogurt at the table next to us on were having.  They were a bit off on their information about Apple products, and I just can’t let that sort of misinformation be perpetuated, so my MIL and I answered their questions.  We’re pros.  Daniel would be so proud.

Thank You

So many of you offered support, encouragement, and advice in preparation for today’s MRI.  Now that it’s over I am able to relax and realize just what a strength your confidence and concern continue to be.  I pray tomorrow brings nothing but good news and more of the peace I feel this evening.

All this talk of cozy clothes has me thinking, “We’re in my jammies.”  Which as me thinking of this sweet little girl.

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