Thursday, March 24, 2011

Update ... reach around ... wankage ... whatever. ;)

I'm still waiting for the Hep C medication to be pre-authorized by my insurance company.  The delay seems to be coming from some misplaced blood test result.  So, I keep calling the doctor's office.  Oy.  Can't WAIT 'til this thing gets started, as I'm a little fried from the anticipation.

I went to visit my parents this weekend.  My mom's going through some medical stuff herself, and although I've been talking to her fairly regularly and know what's going on, I was a bit freaked out by how it was affecting her.  I went to say goodbye to her on Sunday, and gave her a long hug, and almost broke down in tears.  Fortunately, I covered and she didn't notice.

My father is going to be taking a week long trip to visit his brother (who is also ill), and so is arranging for people to stay with my mom.  My sister is the first choice, given that she doesn't have a job, and is very close to my mom.  She asked me if I would help out with some of the time, and I was so freaked out in that moment that I said no.  I spoke to her two days later and apologized for the "no" and had a long conversation about how to make sure she isn't the one who always has to deal with the sitution.  This is when I need to open my heart and be willing to step up to the plate.  Sometimes I worry that I'm not particularly brave when it comes to things that matter.  I guess one has to be conscious and willing to be brave ... it doesn't come naturally, at least not to me.

My sister said that my mom had called after I left and was worried about ME, and that I was too thin, and that I must not be eating.  My father called the next day and also said that I looked unwell.  Not a good shot to my ego.  Especially since my scale is telling me that I'm 217 lbs, which is about 10-12 pounds heavier than my lowest weight.  I asked Michael if I looked unwell, and he just said that I had lost some weight, but that I looked fine.  I think what people are noticing is that I've lost a lot of my muscle mass in my arms, chest, back and legs.

Intellectually, I'd like to go back to the gym, but I just can't seem to muster the energy.  I had started walking again, mostly because my doctor told me to get to exercising to deal with my blood pressure, but my left heel kills me after walking a bit, and I end up limping.  So, I'm at a loss as to what to do.  I could use a work-out partner, but am not sure how to make that happen, given where I live, etc.

The last doctor I saw was my HIV doctor, and this is what came out of that meeting:

1.  She is putting me on a low dosage of Prozac because the interferon, etc. tends to cause depression, and since I kinda battle it anyway, it's not a bad idea.

2.  She cautioned me that I might find myself using again due to the emotional stuff that comes up on treatment.  I was a bit taken back, but rather than defend myself and my sobriety, I merely nodded and listened.  Honestly, I've got 8 years of continuous sobriety under my belt, along with a support system to go to in case of emergency, and using is just not one of my options.  It was very sweet of her to say that if I did find myself using, not to worry, she would still take care of me.

3.  She's taking me off Trizivir for HIV (which contains AZT) because it is contra-indicative to the interferon that I'll be taking.  She's replacing it with two meds, Viread and Epzicom.  Those meds have been ordered from the mail pharmacy (along withe Prozac), and I'm just waiting for them to show up.  They're late, and I'm starting to get worried, but I'll wait 'til Monday, and then call and find out how to deal with missing meds.

*UPDATE*  My meds showed up in the mail today!!  Woohoo!!

4.  She wants me to see her every month while I'm on treatment for Hep C.  So, I'll have two doctors keeping an eye out for me.

5.  My blood pressure was high again.  Rather than throw more pills at me, she asked me to look at my diet and exercise program.  Both are out of whack, so I'll have to figure it out again.  On the food front, buying good quality food is a bit impossible at the moment, given food prices and my general lack of funds, so I've been relying on pastas and lunch meat, etc.  Will have to rectify that very soon.  The target blood pressure is less than 130 over 85.  I'm normally at about 140 over 90.  When I had it taken at the doctor's office, it was 151 over 101.

6.  She suggested that I find out about FMLA, if I need to take some leave from work due to treatment.  I'll have to check it out, but I seem to recall that FMLA only applies for a firm that's got a certain amount of employees, which my firm does not. Plus, me being out of the office for an extended period of time will be detrimental to their business, and the security of my job ... would really rather not do that.  Having said all of that, it would be good to at least know what's out there.

7.  She also suggested a support group at UCLA for Hep C, at least once.  I'll check it out, as soon as I find out the when and what of the nurse practitioner lesson about managing the medication and the side effects.

Alright, end of wankage.

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