Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stress Excuse

I’ve dropped 10 lbs. My baseline is no longer 118 lbs. It’s 122 lbs. I weigh, maybe, 110 lbs. This is an 8 lb. drop in 2.5 weeks.
I eat the same amount I did at 117 lbs. This is the truth. I’m here to inform people, lying would be counterproductive. Yes, people accuse me of lying to make myself BIGGER.
Ten days ago, I had my last lab draw.
My blood showed a high K+ at 5.4. Everything else was normal.
I had eaten a full bag of potato chips, full of salt, right before my draw.
I was told to stop eating potassium rich foods.
Ha! In the past three years, I have never had a K+ that was HIGH.
I can’t even count the amount of potassium replacement I’ve received. I can tell you that if you are giving IV K+, be nice, that sting is one of the worst things I’ve felt. Run it slow. Add lidocaine if it’s allowed.
I started dropping weight. I’m tired, fatigued, and I ache.
My heart has a tendency to go crazy with no real rhyme or reason. My blood pressure plummets, but I generally live about 90/50. The normal is 120/80.
This can all be explained by my transplant.
Then the other day, I was looking in the mirror wondering why my forehead looked so brown. I just don’t get why my face is so much darker than my sisters.
I think I have Addison’s Disease. I’ve suspected this for a while, but I just didn’t feel like dealing with it.
It would explain why I just can’t get enough potato chips. I’ll eat those babies by the bag. It’s true “you can’t have just one.”
Addison's disease is an endocrine or hormonal disorder that occurs in all age groups and afflicts men and women equally. The disease is characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and sometimes darkening of the skin.
Addison's disease occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough of the hormone cortisol and, in some cases, the hormone aldosterone. The disease is also called adrenal insufficiency.
Most cases are caused by the gradual destruction of the adrenal cortex by the body's own immune system (ME? Do I have problems with MY immune system?). About 70 percent of reported cases of Addison's disease are caused by autoimmune disorders, in which the immune system makes antibodies that attack the body's own tissues or organs and slowly destroy them (Or maybe by taking years of chemotherapy or adding a new immune system that doesn’t recognize the cortex).
If my theory is true. 90 percent of my adrenal cortex has been destroyed.
Cortisol's most important job is to help the body respond to stress. I really haven’t been dealing with stress very well. This would make one great excuse for my bad day on Sat.
Among its other vital tasks, cortisol
• helps maintain blood pressure and cardiovascular function
• helps slow the immune system's inflammatory response
• helps balance the effects of insulin in breaking down sugar for energy
• helps regulate the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
• helps maintain proper arousal and sense of well-being
I’m going to need a medi-alert bracelet for this. I should really just have a medic-alert tattoo. Luckily, with technology, I can program all my health info into my phone under In Case of Emergency in the Contacts list.
All Emergency Medical Providers should know this.
I don’t know if it’s true. I’ll be getting my labs and seeing my doctor tomorrow. Addison’s is frequently and easily overlooked since the evidence can be attributed to so many other factors. It is often difficult to see the whole picture.
I don’t want to hear screaming and hollering about my providers mistakes. I haven’t even been disagnosed. Even if I am, I haven’t seen them in 10 days, even if I had, it’s a difficult diagnosis. They could see hundreds of patients a day. I hang out with myself day in and day out.
My thoughts when I practiced were, if I could sit with the same two patients for twelve hours and a doctor could come in and diagnose something I hadn’t seen in five minutes, I was an idiot.
This is a little bit of a high standard. Those doctors do have a minimum of 8 years of education and practice over me, but still, I have time and motivation on my side.
I’ll let you know tomorrow.

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