Doctors and Nurses and Others

So much has been going on lately in the realm of health and home-ownership and car ownership that I’ve hesitated to blog about any of it until it’s all resolved. A full story with a beginning, middle, and end makes for a neater and tidier read, after all.

With so much of it unlikely to reach a final resolution at any point in the near future, though, I figured I’d tackle Subject #1: Me. Specifically, my neck and back and overall health (which is generally good, with a few blips).

I’ve mentioned last April’s car accident a few times, but the Reader’s Digest version is that my car got rear-ended by a semi truck, and my neck hasn’t been the same since. I see a chiropractor regularly for my spondylolisthesis, anyway, so adding one more adjustment to my visits wasn’t that big of a deal.

Except my neck never got better. In fact, it kind of felt worse.

To determine exactly what was going on in my neck, my chiropractor ordered a neck x-ray this past December. The results showed that, luckily, nothing was broken or fractured — however, the curvature of my cervical spine has straightened and C5 is slightly out of alignment. Helpful data, but not entirely conclusive.

The next step was an MRI. That happened at the end of January, and I got the results a week later.

The MRI showed that I have a disc bulge between C5 and C6, so that’s what’s causing my constant pain. However, the MRI also showed something else: a 2-3 cm mass in the region of the left lobe of my thyroid.

Wait, what? I’ve got a lump the size of a large grape on my thyroid?

My chiropractor was sure to downplay the whole thing, saying that it’s probably nothing, but to get to my primary care provider and have them do the recommended ultrasound. After the thyroid thing was straightened out, then she could work on some pain management for the disc bulge.

Except I didn’t have a primary care provider. Not yet.

I called around that same afternoon and got an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner, since all the MDs I tried had wait lists three months long for new patients. The CNP only had a month-long wait.

Yesterday — finally — was my visit to the CNP. After giving my medical history about five times (two written, three in person), getting my vitals taken, and consulting with the CNP (and her PA-in-training), I ended up with referrals to an endocrinologist (for the mass on my thyroid), a physical therapist (for the disc bulge), an orthopedic surgeon (for the cyst on my finger), and a dermatologist (for the scar on my eyebrow). I also got blood drawn for routine lab work (and thyroid lab work) and got a prescription for an anti-inflammatory to quell my constant neck pain (which really did the trick — I hadn’t realized how constant the pain had been until it was nearly gone).

So, that’s where things stand now.

One big win for me was that the subject of my weight didn’t come up once during my talk with the CNP. She didn’t seem worried at all by the fact that I’m just a smidge above the “normal” range for my height right now. I didn’t bring up the fact that I lost 20 pounds last year, or that I’ve lost 80 pounds over the past decade.

At any rate, it seems like 2015 is going to be the year of getting me all fixed up, physically. I’m still planning to reach my Goal Weight this year, and I’ll probably get my braces off, and it looks like I’ll get my unsightly (and uncomfortable) cyst and scar removed. Plus, you know, we’ll deal with the minor issues of chronic neck pain and a freaking lump on my thyroid.

Maybe, just maybe, I can manage to squeeze in a few years of Feeling Awesome before I start really feeling like I’m Over the Hill.

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