Tuesday, 31 May 2005

Another Day, Another Blood Test

The Human Pincushion, that's me. Though I'm starting to have doubts about the "human" part. But seriously folks, MRI and Ultrasound exams don't come cheap, especially when they have to be repeated because the initial results were "ambiguous" or inconclusive, something I've gotten used to all my life.

Signed up for another $800 out-of-pocket's worth (after rebates, insurance deductions etc) this week. But still, considering the technology, the degree of training required etc, quite a bargain.

At least I may find out whether a 32 year history of peculiar medical conditions is merely a long and improbable series of unrelated coincidences, or excusably misdiagnosed signs indicating a root cause even more improbable (though not that uncommon for some subcategories: about 1 in 83,000). If the results are still ambiguous, then the next step is probably "fine needle" biopsies of various glands, with "fine" being a relative term. Maybe even a reverse-flow analysis of the urinary tract, which is as undignified as it sounds.

Oh Joy.

Still, this is something like a detective story, something like a crossword puzzle, and quite fascinating in its own right. The fact that the doctor on my last visit suggested the exact set of tests I'd thought would have been most useful from my own research was enormously psychologically comforting. Hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this, no matter what. Just have to shackle all the free variables, then analyse the data. Then decide on the best therapy.

In the meantime, I must just relax, and let the hormones flooding my system do their work. So far, the only loss I have is that I can no longer multitask quite as well, listening with half an ear and carrying on a conversation while simultaneously doing a task involving logical analysis and eye-hand co-ordination. Which may indicate some re-wiring of the speech centers. I also feel the cold more, due to re-location of body fat (and talking of which, I could still stand to lose another 20 Kg).

I can't prevent what's happening, any outside interference now could be quite dangerous should it be a malignant neoplasm (most unlikely, but can't be ruled out yet).

The changes are also permanent, neither easily nor wholly reversible, and for the most part, not harmful but objectively speaking quite beneficial. Chance of some cancers may be slightly increased (though possibly not, they were always higher than I'd imagined, it's just that now we know about it), chances for many others sharply reduced, and a very greatly decreased chance of Coronary Heart Disease. The skin problems I've had for decades have all gone, and I look and feel years younger.

Psychologically speaking, it will take years and some therapy to get used to the idea of looking different, even in minor ways. Eye colour is the one thing that has suprised me, there's nothing in any of the literature that suggested this as a possibility, though hormonal eye colour changes in puberty happen quite regularly. I've also become a lot more concerned with my personal appearance, which could be hormone-induced brain re-wiring, or just psychological effects with no biological cause.

But enough of the boring narcissism.

While I've been busy navel-gazing, Tony Blair has been re-elected, the French have said NON to the EU referendum, and there's a heap of new blogs worth looking at. I'm still catching up, but for now, please go take a look at Advanced Maternal Age.

And here's a picture I got forwarded by reader Shaun : the Dragon Storm on Saturn.

Dragon Storm

The Universe is indeed a strange and wonderful place.

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