Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Medical stuff

I'm really excited to be insured—perhaps a little too excited, really. Last week went something like this:

Monday: Cairo party at the Cummings', FHE
Tuesday: Dentist appointment, running
Wedneday: Josie's play
Thursday: Running
Friday: Yoga, doctor appointment, temple
Saturday: Running
Sunday: Day of rest (plus 3 hours of church, 2 hours of scout meetings, 1 hour of choir...etc.)

I was really, really frazzled by the time Saturday rolled around. And then Andrew pointed out that I had gone out every single evening except for Monday. So that would explain a lot since I don't usually go out that often. Not that I'm a hermit or anything, but I just don't usually go out that often. I'm a stay-at-home mom, which, by definition, means that I stay at home. A lot.

I also may or may not have been worried about breast cancer for the past several, uninsured months that we've had while living here. I developed this sort of lump thing and since I couldn't go to the doctor without forking over several hundred dollars I just kind of stewed about it and researched it a lot and decided that it was probably just a cyst or something. Still, I am a natural worrier and was stressing myself out.

Then I got put back on my mom's insurance and started making dentist and doctor appointments like crazy. I've been to the dentist three times this month. No, really—no new cavities (for once) just getting old, crumbly fillings replaced before my teeth fall apart.

The dentist was really cool. There was a big window right in front of my chair with a beautiful view of the mountains. While my mouth was being worked on there was this *doink* and everyone started talking about how sad it was. I just sat there with my mouth gaping open.

"Look at all those feathers floating around."

"Poor thing."

My dentist said, "I guess that's what we get for having big win..."



Yes, while I was getting my mouth worked on not one but two birds flew into the window. If it wasn't so sad it would be kind of funny.

My doctor appointment went well as well. I made an appointment with the family physician that Andrew's family has been using forever in the hopes that if I could talk to him face-to-face he'd give me permission to add Rachel and Miriam as patients before the year 2013. He said that would be fine. You know, since he is a family doctor and both Andrew and I are technically patients there. I tried to explain that to the secretary but she insisted he wasn't adding any medicaid patients until 2013. But now I have his official permission and I'm so excited because it was kind of getting to be a bummer to have to take my girls across town to see the doctor when there is one right here.

I had a physical done since I'm planning on running a marathon in April.

The doctor tip-toed around the topic of eating disorders. I assured him that pretty much everyone in my lineage is stick-thin and I can't fatten up if I try. I mean, I know I don't have to run a marathon, but I want to. And just because I'm thin isn't any reason not to.

I try to eat four meals a day: breakfast, lunch, pre-run dinner, post-run dinner. Cookies at midnight? Sure.

I told him my little brother is six-foot-something and weighs only about 130 lbs. I'm about five-eight and weigh about 110 lbs. That puts us at exactly the same BMI. It's totally genetic, I swear. (If I sound defensive about this topic it's because I've been dealing with it for my whole life.)

Then he asked if there was any family history of diabetes. So I told him my grandpa had type II diabetes. And then he said, "I'm assuming your grandpa was overweight."

And then I said, "Nope. Tall and super thin."

Then he said, "Sometimes weird things happen."

He took a blood panel to check my cholesterol level and my iron-ferritin levels and CBC and CPK and whatever else. He was particularly worried about my iron levels because I was anemic through both my pregnancies, apparently, although my OB/GYN here in the States never informed me of this. My OB in Egypt jumped right on it and suggested that I take an iron supplement and so I did and a miraculous thing happened: I stopped feeling sluggish.

When I was pregnant with Rachel I swear all I did was eat, sleep, and work. It would have been great if my doctor had told me I was anemic and, if I was sick of falling asleep on the twenty minute drive home from work, taking an iron supplement would clear that right up. Luckily Andrew was always the one driving because I think I fell asleep 75% of the time.

I got my results back today and everything was normal. The nurse said, "Your iron-ferritin levels are good; they're in the normal range, but the doctor thinks it would be a good idea for you to take an iron supplement every couple of days. You're at an 18—which is normal, it's just on the low-side of normal."

After hanging up I looked up the normal range of iron-ferritin levels for women. It's 18-160 ng/ml.

So I'm normal, but just barely.

Andrew laughed at me when I told him my iron level was normal.

"You're one point away from being classified full-blown anemic!"

Whatever, dude, I take "normal" when I can get it. And all my numbers were normal. So I'm normal.

Then I had a breast exam so the doctor could feel the lump, but he couldn't find it, which is weird. So I had to find it for him and he was like, "That's not a breast lump at all! It's not even in your tissue at all. It's like...bone...or cartilage...growing on your sternum. I don't even know how we'd image that but I'm not worried about it at all."

Two very good things happened because of this. The first thing is that I don't have a breast lump—I don't even know why they have women do self-examinations because I, clearly, have no idea what to look for—and the second thing is that we (Andrew and I) diagnosed my little brother with pectis carinatum. We actually first learned about it on The Secret Treasures of Hans Wehr, a website Andrew helped put together for his friend Carlos, but we discovered pectis carinatum on the same day I was told I have a buildup of cartilage on my sternum.

My brother's case is so obvious that I'm pretty sure you wouldn't need an MD to diagnose it, although we can't figure out why none of the doctors he has seen have ever seen anything about it: the poor kid is as skinny as a rail and has this huge protrusion on his chest. It's pretty impossible for him to hide it so he's gotten pretty used to it by now. It probably would have been nice if a doctor had suggested that they attempt to fix it with a brace since it seems that route is only taken on youths under the age of 18.

That was probably more than you would ever care to know about me, at least medically speaking.

I'm just so excited to be able to go to the doctor again, though, that I just can't help but share my joy.


  1. I thought this post was really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I can't wait until we're insured too. But like you, at least my kids are insured!

  3. At least you're certifiably normal.

  4. *sigh of relief* I'm so glad to hear you're normal and healthy and non-cancerous. Also, i'm sorry about all that time at the dentist - no fun!

  5. Bahahaha! The bird story cracked me up :)

  6. I just went to the dentist today because I'm back on my parents' insurance, too. Thank you, Obama for letting me see a dentist for the next four months until I turn 26. :)

    And I can totally relate to the stay-at-home mom thing. I get tired and stressed when I'm running errands all day, but then I complain on the days I stay home all day. Hard to please, I guess!