Thursday, December 22, 2011
Call the Doctor!
"My hormones are skeewampus," I told the doctor. "I have too much testosterone. I think I might be turning into a man."
He rolled his eyes and I could tell what he thought of women who diagnose themselves on the Internet. "Let's run a few tests," he said. After a battery of blood tests his nurse called and said, "Everything else seems normal, but your testosterone is abnormally high. (Really?) The doctor wants you to see an endocrinologist." (Why? Am I becoming a man?)
The next week I visited an endocrinologist. His interview was thorough: "How did your maternal grandmother's paternal grandfather die?" and "Did your father's grandfather ever have an irregular heartbeat?" Do people actually know this stuff?? Then he gave me a sheet of instructions to take to the lab.
"This is a butt-load of tests!" said the technician. "He'll find something for sure." Then she drew eighteen tubes of blood. "What's he looking for?" I asked. "Everything," she answered. "Does he think I'm becoming a man?" I asked. "One of these tests will tell him," she said.
I went in for the results on Monday. He didn't have everything he needed, he said, so he scheduled me for two MRI's and an echo-cardiogram on Tuesday, and another three blood tests on Wednesday (today.) It was not a reassuring visit. He suspected adrenal or ovarian cancer, and wanted my heart checked out in case I needed immediate surgery.
After the echo-cardiogram the cardiologist informed me I have a thick heart. After scaring me to death with questions and explanations, he told me not to worry. He wrote a prescription, scheduled a follow-up test and patted my hand. "You'll do fine," he said. "But I'd be concerned about a surgery." (So would I, buddy; so would I.)
It was time for the MRI's. I took my prescribed Xanax ("chew it so it will work faster," the lady at the desk told me) and I was strapped on a table. Another technician put earphones on me to block out the loud noise and I was rolled into a long tube barely wide enough to fit me. I kept my eyes closed for the first few minutes, and then when a voice spoke my name, I accidentally opened them. Three inches above my nose was the top of the tube—not a pleasant sensation for a claustrophobe!
The Xanax must have kicked in, because although I thought I was awake, I don't remember much until the guy said, "only five more minutes, Martha." I counted to sixty five times, slowly, (hoping I wouldn't totally lose it and start screaming) and then they pulled me out. He said I'd been in there for over an hour! I was panicked on several levels.
This morning I had to fast, and have three blood tests taken an hour apart, drinking horrible stuff in between. By the time I was through with that, I was weak, bleak and freaked. Dee told me I ought to go shopping (that usually cures me of anything) but I thought, "Why? I'm probably going to die soon. What will they do with my new clothes?"
It's been a roller-coaster of a week. Tonight the doc called and said there were no masses to indicate adrenal or ovarian cancer. I have what appears to be a non-malignant ovarian cyst which could be causing high testosterone levels. He said it happens to lots of women. (Finally he acknowledged that I haven't become a man.) So tomorrow I'm going shopping.