Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An Endocrinologist Walks Into a Bar ...

I don’t actually know the punch line to that joke, but when I do, I’ll let you know.
After having missed out on basic healthcare for 5 years, I recently went to the doctor to get some maintenance tests done.
I have had my suspicions that something was not right with me for some time.  I have no end of struggles losing weight and managing stress, well beyond the normal difficulties one experiences.  My body just does not want to cooperate with my efforts to slim down and chill out.
I’ve been doing my homework and I walked into the doctor’s office with a list of tests to run: full blood chemistry profile, glucose/insulin, thyroid, and cortisol.
This would be my starting point and eliminate (or confirm) a ton of common conditions, all of which can be tested from a regular blood sample.
My PA was young, energetic, and very nice.  She agreed with my selection of tests and added one more for androgen (more on that in a minute).
My blood samples secured after getting vasovagal on the lab tech (every frickin time …), I played the waiting game.
In the meantime, I started researching the two conditions my PA suggested:
·         Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
·         Cushing’s Disease
I'll give you a minute to google those <waits patiently>
Interesting, huh?  Here I was thinking that I had diabetes or a thyroid issue and I was way off.
So while I was in the Atlanta airport coming back from Florida, I got the call.
The good news?  No nutrient deficiencies, glucose and insulin levels normal, cholesterol good, thyroid not an issue. 
The other news?  My cortisol and my HGH (human growth hormone) levels were abnormally high.
Particularly after looking at the symptoms for Cushing's, I was not surprised by this.  But I am a little freaked that I have something that’s much more complicated than diabetes or thyroid issues. 
Because my PA couldn’t decipher from my tests which condition I have, I’m being passed off to an endocrinologist the second week of October.
I have two theories about the nature of this visit:
A)  Because either condition is uncommon, my PA simply wanted to have the specialist make the call (which I totally would too in her position). 
B)  The endocrinologist might not be able to make heads or tails out of my preliminary results either and need to do more extensive tests.
I’m hoping I’ll walk out of that appointment with a clear diagnosis and a game plan, but I’m fully aware that may not be the case.
I also acknowledge that I could have something completely different.  Elevated cortisol levels are connected to a million conditions, though HGH is secreted by the pituitary gland (and no, I haven’t been shooting steroids to break any home run records).
A man with his own candy bar doesn't need to be any cooler (source)
At this point, I just have to wait three weeks and go from there.
In many ways, I feel validation - there is something going on.  I haven’t just been making excuses or been too inept to get in shape.
But I also feel trepidation.  I am uneasy about what’s going to happen next.  I have a million questions about where a forthcoming diagnosis will leave me, how it will change my life, and how it will alter our finances.
But there’s no sense in worrying about a condition I may or may not have.  Until I know what I’m up against, I’m being extra gentle with my body, recognizing that the limitations I am experiencing are real and not just in my head.     

1 comment:

  1. At least you are getting at start on figuring things out!