All Things Medical

This Thanksgiving, I’m going to be most grateful for having a lot of medical stuff behind me. Although everything worked out in the end, there were some complications during my procedure last week. My surgeon had planned to use radiofrequency (Novasure) for the endometrial ablation, but my cervix wouldn’t cooperate, so she had to switch to the hydrothermal method (Genesys). I woke from anesthesia with excruciating cramping and couldn’t help but moan and cry. It took a few oxycodone during my recovery to bring the cramping down enough so I could leave the hospital. I was sent home with prescription-strength ibuprofen and hydrocodone, which I used in the following days to help with pain. Three days later, I was off the meds and feeling like myself again. It will take a few months to see how well the ablation helps the issues I was having, but I am glad I did it.

Surgery and recovery complete, on Tuesday, I had a previously scheduled MRI of my brain to make sure I’m stable on Ocrevus. I’m getting used to the routine now, taking Xanax ahead of time and always going to the same machine in the cancer center, so it’s not as nerve-wracking as it used to be.

Before my first MRI almost two years ago, I worried about a lot of things: the power going out and my being stuck in the machine, something made of metal flying into the machine and hurting me, some of my dental work being yanked out by the magnetic force, what I would do if I needed to sneeze. Although the other worries have dissipated with experience, I still worry about sneezing or coughing because for an MRI of the brain, my head has what can best be described as a cage over it; said cage is actually a coil, used to generate the images, but it feels like a medieval mechanism to lock my head in. Because of issues I have with claustrophobia, I never look at it, instead having my eyes covered with a washcloth before it is put into place. I got through the first half of the MRI without issue, and I was pulled out for contrast to be administered before being pushed back in for another set of scans. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of an MRI, before each scan, the technician or a recording usually tells you how long each picture is going to take. During the scan, I breathe as shallowly as possible to minimize movement for the best images. In between, I take a deep breath before the next one begins. My longest scan was four minutes, and when it was almost over, what started as a tickle in my throat took hold, causing me to cough uncontrollably. I was pulled out of the machine because the technician was worried I was having a reaction to the contrast, but I realized my throat had been slightly irritated for a few days. The four-minute picture had to be restarted, and I was able to control the coughing for the rest of the session, leaving the hospital to go home for a long nap.

This morning, Nurse Angela from my neurologist’s office called to tell me that the MRI showed no changes from my last scan in May, confirming that I’m stable. What a relief! Since I’m scheduled to see Dr. Z on Tuesday, it surprised me that Angela called with the results, something she hasn’t done before. The real reason for her call was to let me know that the imaging also showed signs of a sinus infection, so I should get in touch with my PCP. It made sense. Besides coughing at night and some head congestion, my left foot has been tingling constantly for a couple of days, usually a sign that something is wrong. When I’m congested and/or coughing, though, it can be difficult to tell if it’s a virus or infection or simply allergies, especially since I just got over a cold. My PCP called in a prescription, so I’ll be well again soon.

In addition to seeing Dr. Z, I also have an ablation follow-up with my gynecologist on Tuesday. After those appointments, my attention will turn to Thanksgiving. I’m hosting this year and excited to have my family together for what will be a lovely day.

Just a few days after Thanksgiving, I’ll be going back to work for a new quarter, teaching classes for the first time in six months. I’m looking forward to seeing my colleagues and meeting my new students as we head into the Christmas season, medical management hopefully on the back burner until I’m due for my next Ocrevus infusion in February.

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