Monday, September 29, 2008

I thought everyone would be taller

Oh wow, what can I say? What a great, great group we had this time. I love these people. Every last one of them. The WEBMU 2008 in Bremen was a rip-roaring success, in my humble opinion anyway.

Today found me in my hermit cave recharging my introvert batteries. Being sociable and trying not to act too weird really takes it out of a girl, you know? But I'd do it all again in a second. It was that much fun.

Tomorrow I should be able to think coherent thoughts again and give you a little summary of our most excellent weekend.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

arghhh. and wheee!

Ho hum. Same old, same old. My doctor's appointment yesterday was uneventful, apart from it being at the hospital's surgery clinic where fancy-looking doctors wearing bright green Crocs were whizzing in and out the whole time. If it had been Wednesday I would have said they were late for their golf games.

I didn't get to see the head physician, you need extra private insurance for that, but the doctor I did get was a nice enough fellow and actually took the time to listen and then asked a lot of questions himself. Not that it helped any, because he said although all my symptoms pointed to a hernia somewhere in the umbilical region, he could neither see nor feel anything to confirm the suspicion. Meh. That's no good. He and I both agreed that it's probably not a good idea to slit someone's belly open unless you're fairly sure what you're looking for so right now I'm on "watchful waiting". He even suggested that if it is indeed a hernia that I should go ahead and lift heavy stuff, cough and sneeze a lot and do abdominal exercises regularly just to provoke the little beggar and see if he'll raise his ugly head.

Since abdominal pain can be mighty difficult to diagonose he considered that it could be something else entirely and encouraged me to get a bunch of other stuff checked out, including the possibility of an ulcer or some weird gynecological issue. Mmmm. More doctors, more fun.

Or maybe I'll just ignore everything and get on with it. No time for bellyaches tonight because tomorrow morning I'll be arriving in in Bremen for the 2008 Whiney Expat Blogger Meet-Up, aka WEBMU (thanks, Jen!) There will be zillions of bloggers and friends there this year. The hotels and restaurants we booked meals at are dancing a little jig already, I'm sure.

I really do promise to get back to blogging next week. Between worrying about my health (which made me lose 6 lbs, not a bad thing, really), doing volunteer work and working on a project that someone is actually willing to pay me money for, my brain has been kind of busy. And you should see what my house looks like! At least I managed to remove the science experiments from the fridge this afternoon so no one dies over the weekend.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

curiouser and curiouser

So. Last Wednesday my regular doctor (the one who diagosed the umbilican hernia in the first place) did an abdominal ultrasound and said he couldn't see a thing. No hernia nohow. Hmmmmm. The other doc thought the pressure under my ribs might be a gall bladder problem, but that organ is apparently in good working order as are all the other soft parts in there, as far as Dr. B could tell.

So where did the pain and pressure come from? The good doctor said it could be a Verwachsung, an adhesion from a previous operation. I told him that I hadn't had any previous operations! Obviously we were both stumped for an answer.

The good news is that the pain has actually been minimal for the past couple of weeks but the weird pressure is still there, making me think that something is going on. I guess my next appointment will either clear things up for good or label me as a total hypochondriac. We'll see.

And thanks for all your kind comments on my last post!


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

don't mess with mother nature (or: this won't hurt a bit, no, wait, yes it will)

Whoah, I feel like I feel off the face of the blogosphere and can't quite get my footing back.

But enough of this being sick stuff. My theory is that if I tell you what's wrong with me, I'll start feeling better.

It all started way back at the beginning of June when I finally (finally!) got out into the sorely neglected front garden and started ripping out weeks and stuff willy nilly. There was one tough customer in the form of a small shrub that needed to be relocated but wasn't cooperating. I pulled and pulled and finally yanked that sucker right out of the ground, falling backwards a bit in the process. That little tree was to be my downfall.

When I woke up the day after the gardening extravaganza I felt this weird stabbing pain in my belly button and thought I had done a number on my stomach muscles. This wasn't like any other muscle pain I'd ever had, though. Time to start googling.

Minutes later I came up with a diagnosis - an umbilical hernia. Nice. Thanks SO much. I always thought hernias were something for old men, but apparently they're pretty common, especially in women between 40 and 50 who have had multiple pregnancies and are overweight. Ahem. If the shoe fits...

A quick trip to the doctor confirmed my suspicions but he maintained that the opening was very small and wouldn't need to be repaired quite yet. If I had constant, excruciating pain, though, I should get myself to emergency immediately, he said. There's a risk of incarceration and strangulation with these things and that's bad, bad, bad. Ugh.

Anyway, there wasn't much I could do since we were going on holiday soon, so I tried to ignore it, even though there were good days and bad days with more or less pain and discomfort. I even managed to enjoy our vacation to the fullest, trying not to think about how travel insurance would deal with a pre-existing condition like that if things took a turn for the worse.

After we got back I visited the doc again, a different one this time since my regular GP was away. This doctor poked around a bit and said he thought I should see a surgeon if I was having a lot of discomfort and also make an appointment for a general exam with an ultrasound to check things out since some of my symptoms didn't fit the hernia issues.

The surgeon poked around even more and said he felt it was just a general weakness of the rectus abdominus muscles leading to a separation, the so-called diastasis recti, common in women who have had children. That's all well and good, but I've always had problems in that area since giving birth to a 9 pounder over 12 years ago, but I feel my symptoms and the discomfort point to something else, something new. Before I had the chance to shout "Would it kill ya to do an ultrasound??" he gives me a referal to yet another surgeon, the head honcho at the hospital one town over and a specialist in gastrointestinal stuff.

That appointment is on the 25th. The other general appointment is next Wednesday and I'm really hoping to find out why I sometimes have the feeling there's a red hot knitting needle poking through my belly button from the indside. And then there's that tennis-ball-wedged-under-my-ribcage sensation on the right side. The fun never stops.

Meanwhile I'm taking it one step at a time and doing what I can on good days like this, resting on bad days like yesterday. No need to worry, I'm perfectly fine - I'd just like to know what's going on in there and get it fixed once and for all.

I'll keep y'all posted and stay tuned for a bunch of What I Did on My Summer Vacation posts comin' up soon!

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