Friday, August 31, 2007

L'Arrivo Dell'Italiano

Amidst my medical chaos, arrived my angel. Ale was set to arrive on July 28th, but it wasn't without a hitch. The morning of his expected arrival, I get a phone call. It was Ale and he sounded pretty upset. He said, "Baby, I don't have the ticket." And I said, "What do you mean??" "The (insert explative) travel agent have mess up my reservation. She make it for the August 28 instead of July 28. I'm try to fix it, but I don't know, baby" Oh crap. I never heard him so angry. Long story short, a really nice person at the airport (unusual in Rome, not sure about Milano) was able to change his reservation. He got here on June 29th, one day later. He had to stay over night in Chicago. As long as he got here, that's all that mattered.

I was so excited to see him when I picked him up at the airport. He looked so cute standing there at the baggage claim. He had a long trip so I decided his first meal in Portland should be at a place unique to Oregon (and Washington). So I took him to McMenamin's Kennedy School. McMenamin's is a pub, or are pubs, I should say, all over Oregon and I believe there is one in Washington. They brew their own beer and also make their own wine. I ordered the Ale sampler for him so he could try the different brews and he ordered a burger, of course. He started to eat it with a knife and fork when I stopped him dead in his tracks. "Aspetta amore, you have to pick it up with your hands" When he picked it up, he said "Mamma Mia, I can fit this in my mouth???" Haha! Yep, you can do it!
He was just what I needed and I planned a lot of things for us. This was going to be the best summer ever!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Medical Term for Shrek

I made an appointment with the OB/GYN ASAP. They wanted to give me an appointment for a month and a half out, but I was pretty emotional and I said um, no way. I need an appointment now. I explained what I had going on, so the scheduler put me on hold and spoke to the powers that be and squeezed me in on the following week.

That week was torture. I wanted to call Ale but he was celebrating his Mama's birthday and I didn't want to spoil it. I couldn't tell my Mom, no way. She has her own health problems. Plus, my sister is pregnant and having a terrible time of it. I didn't want to tell anybody until I knew exactly what I was dealing with. Jeannet knew of course, she was the one that really pushed me to go to Urgent Care.

The day finally arrived and I was in good spirits. I try as much as possible to be optimistic. I really believe it helps the outcome. The nurse came out and got me, weighed me and all that obligatory stuff. Asked me my and my family's medical history. Then Dr. K came in and I got a good feeling right from the start. She explained to me in detail what the CAT Scan revealed and what my Shrek's official title is. It's called a Dermoid cyst and it's a nasty little bugger!! Well, it's not so little. At this point it had grown to 14 cm by 11 cm. Huge for a cyst. Dr. K said it's been there for a long time which I was surprised by because I had had my last pap in May.

I had seen this kind of thing on those medical shows on the Discovery Health channel. Never did I imagine it would happen to me, but according to Dr. K, it's quite common among women of child bearing age. So ladies, if your feeling unusually bloated, don't hesitate, go get it checked out ASAP. Back to Shrek, it's one of those yucky cysts that grows hair, teeth, sebum, and bones. Ew! Someone that isn't a medical professional, such as myself, could believe it's fetus gone awry. I mean, it does originate on the ovary, does it not??

Dr. K told me that since it had grown to epic proportions, it needed to be removed surgically. There was no other way around it. Crap. I explained to her that Ale, the Italian, was coming in a few days from Milano, and I really wanted to have some time with him before having my surgery. She agreed that we could wait a few weeks, 3 at most, but no more than that. We'd be risking it growing more or even bursting. The biggest concern was that it could also be cancerous AND she said that she was 99.5% positive I was going to lose an ovary. Maybe even both. That was really hard for me to hear because I don't have kids yet, and I want to be a Mom more than anything!

She reassured me by saying that she highly doubted it was cancerous just because I didn't show any signs and symptoms of cancer. I had just played tennis for 2 1/2 hours a few days before!! Just to be safe, she sent me to the lab to have a CA-125 test, which is a blood test to determine whether there is cancer in the ovaries and made me an appointment with an Oncologist. Not a Doctor I really wanted to see.....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nastro Azzurro

The Italian came home from Piazza Italia and told me to log on to You Tube to check out this commercial. It's an Italian beer commercial filmed in Las Vegas.


A Mass Called Shrek...

Teary-eyed, I got in my car and drove myself to the Urgent Care clinic. I told the Doctor what I had found in my belly and he took it from there. He felt around my lower abdomen and confirmed my suspicions. There was definitely something in there. He had me take a pregnancy test, which I knew would come back negative. He decided then to send me across the way for a CAT scan. Wow, now my head was spinning AND I have out of state insurance, which means I pay 30%. The fear and dollar signs were mounting, fast.

I had to drink the most disgusting Vanilla flavored crap ever. I don't know how I was able to keep it down, but I did. The nurse took me back, I put on the gown and laid down on the little board that would move me in and out of the machine. Breathe in, breathe out...wax on, wax off...Then the nurse had me wait to make sure they came out ok. After a few minutes, she came back looking pale as a ghost. She told me they needed to take a couple more. OK....what the heck's going on??!! When they finished taking pics of my insides, she sent me back over to Urgent Care.

I waited for what seemed like an eternity. When the nurse finally took me back, she had this look of sorrow on her face. The doctor made his way into the exam room I was in and I'm not exaggerating when I say that the look on his face made me want to burst out into tears. He looked like he had just lost his wife! These were the words he said to me:

"The Radiologist told me that there is quite a large mass in your pelvis. It's huge and it involves both of your ovaries. It's not life threatening, but you should definitely go see and OB/Gyn ASAP."

I felt my heart fall to my stomach and the tears well-up in my eyes. Exactly what is this mass???? Is it cancerous?? How much is all this going to cost me?? Why now?? Ale is set to arrive in a couple of weeks.....Porca miseria! I decided I wasn't going to feel sorry for myself. I decided I needed to be strong, it didn't have me, I have it..etc.... So, I named my overgrown mass Shrek.

What's That I Feel?

I played tennis on a Saturday morning in early July with Alan, Pete and Rich. It had been about a month since I had played. The last time being my final lesson with Ollie back in Fargo. It felt good to be back on the court, especially knowing that I could still keep up with the guys. We played for about 2 and a half hours before finally calling it quits. We were all famished and decided to go to Piazza Italia (more on this place later!) for lunch.

After lunch, I went home, showered and got ready for the beerfest out at McMenamin's on Cornelius Pass road with my new tennis buddies. I had a blast. I met a lot of really cool people and it felt good to have a social life again. I have to admit, I'm not much of a beer consumer so I settled for McMenamin's own red wine. Not bad, not bad at all. I had the whole bottle to myself, since everyone else was tasting the many beers being sold. I've become somewhat of a legend because I finished my bottle of wine before the guys could get through one beer. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, but the wine was good and I was having a great time.

The next morning when I woke up, I felt something in my lower abdomen. Now, I had been feeling bloated every morning for the last two weeks, which was unusual, but this was different. I began to palpate my lower belly and I felt a lump, not hard but a lump no less. It felt liquidy, like a waterbed feels, ya know? At first I thought perhaps it was a gas bubble (silly, I know but not unusual for me...haha!) or maybe the bottle of wine I consumed the night before had some how lodged itself in my intestines (even more ridiculous, I know) but I honestly didn't know what to make of it. All I know is some uninvited guest had set up camp in my pelvic region. Great. Now what? I decided to ignore it for a couple of days in hopes that it would pass. Unfortunately, I'm not that lucky.

I decided to call some good friends of mine who happen to be Physicians and get their professional opinion. It was enough to get me over to the Urgent Care Clinic. Mamma Mia. What was happening inside of me??

Better Late Than Never...

I arrived in Portland back on June 6th, more or less. My Mom and I drove out from North Dakota. It was a really beautiful drive, although I knew I would really miss all my friends back in ND dearly, this was what I had to do. Having my Mom with me helped me so much. No matter how old I am, I will always need the comfort of my mother.

I had lived in Portland back in '99 and it had been calling me back ever since. When we drove into Northwest Portland, I really felt like I had finally gone home. My life has changed so much in the last year and this blog will take you through those changes and through my new life's adventures. I'm going to be writing posts about this summer, although the Fall is almost here. I had such a fun summer, I have to write about it!

When I arrived, I stayed at Jeannet and her families house out in Scappoose, until I could get settled on my own. Jeannet is one of my closest friends. We have been friends since 1st grade and she has always been there when I needed her the most. I am so thankful for good friends! I don't know what I would have done without them!

I knew I wanted to be in the thick of things in Portland, so I narrowed my search to Northwest Portland. Thank goodness for Craigslist! I found the perfect apartment, in the perfect neighborhood, for the perfect price! Once I got all that taken care of, the furniture shopping began...what fun! I LOVE to shop! A new start in a new city with all new assets! Oh Happy Day!

My next task was to get enrolled in school. I decided I wanted to enroll in an accelerated program, so as to earn more money ASAP. Once my course is done (approximately a year from October), I will enroll at Portland State or the University of Portland, or...well, I have quite a few to choose from, so in about 6 months, I'll have to sit down and figure out which is best suited for my needs. My enrollment was successful and I was able to get a grant for my tuition!

Things are really looking up for me in PDX!