January 18, 2007

 i am finally abnormal!

i had a follow-up appointment with my neurologist this morning. i braved the wintry mix and left a little early to allow for icy roads. apparently my doctor hadn't had any similar thoughts, because he was 15 minutes late in arriving at the clinic. d'oh.

he first asked about my headaches. they seem to come in waves, i told him. i had a series of relatively severe headaches around christmas. these days they're infrequent and mild. he gave me a prescription for industrial-strength naproxen to better treat the ones i get, and asked if i'd like to try any medications to help prevent future headaches. i shied away from the idea, saying i felt like i was still in a data-gathering phase... november (the date of the TIA) wasn't really all that long ago, and i don't yet have a good sense for whether headaches are now a permanent fixture in my life. i prefer to NOT take medication if i don't have to. he told me that if i'm averaging two headaches a week i should consider prevention medication. i'm basically at that threshhold, but am not quite ready to jump on board with the drugs. he respected my decision.

he then revealed that my last series of blood tests finally showed something abnormal. honestly, part of me jumped for joy. an explanation for the TIA! of course, i immediately braced myself for bad news... but bad news could be good news, in a way. at least, finally, i might have a diagnosis and possibly a route towards treatment in preventing any more from occuring.

he said that within the series of "anti-cardiolipin" tests, my "IgM" had come back abnormal. off the charts, really. a normal range is between 1-14. a high positive is 40. mine was a 65. and the lab had repeated the test to confirm the results. yep, i'm a 65. (the other two anti-cardiolipin tests he ran --IgG and IgA-- were both normal.)

so what does this mean? he's not entirely sure. he says a high IgM could indicate a tendency towards stroke, though from what i gathered this is a relatively new indicator for stroke. he said that many women after miscarriage produce a high IgM level. high IgM can also be an indicator for lupus. but that's basically all the information he was able to tell me. he ordered another anti-cardiolipin panel to confirm that i still have a high IgM level. when these results come back, if i'm still off the charts he'll immediately refer me to a "stroke specialist" for further diagnostics. (this neurologist i've been seeing specializes in headaches and not stroke.)

so, i'm back to waiting for test results. he said he'll call me when the results are in (a week, maybe two). until then, i have google searches to keep me occupied.

oh yeah, the guy who drew my blood today was the same dude to preached creationism to me last time. today, though, he was listening to a morning talk show on the radio. the DJs were yammering about this story, which is astounding.


finally, an explanation on the lack of updates here.

my absence is due to 1) a general lack of interest in posting, 2) a newfound appreciation for being "off-line", and 3) overwhelming amounts of comment spam.

my lack of interest in blogging seems to be cyclical. i remember feeling the same way this time last year. same song, different verse.

the off-line stuff refers to more than just the internet. i'm also turning the TV off more frequently. sitting quietly with a crossword puzzle. making more plans with friends. it's been nice. (in fact, i'm a bit irked that preparing this post has taken almost an hour of my time.)

and finally, the comment spam. jeebus, the spam has been insane. i finally just turned off comments altogether -- i was getting more than 200 spam comments a day at times. none of it actually gets posted to the blog (i've got MT blacklist to prevent that) but i do get an email each time a spam comment gets blocked. the spam sits on my server, "waiting for approval" from me. i could ignore it, but then all of the spam simply amasses in size, taking up megabytes of space. it was all just a major headache. (har!) and yes, i could upgrade, or change software... but i'm really enjoying being off-line. figuring out how to combat comment spam sounds phenomenally unappealing right now.

i guess i'll open up comments for this post, but i'll likely shut them off again within a few days if the spammers begin to strike once more.

Posted by xta at January 18, 2007 11:06 AM | TrackBack

thanks for the update! i was wondering if you had any new information about your headaches/health.

that boy who ran away - his name is James, backwards. that's all i have to say about that.

i only post things when i really feel like it, which is very irregular. i can't believe i used to feel the urge to post every day, sometimes more than once!

Posted by: pinky at January 18, 2007 12:00 PM

Wow. So I bet this is a strange feeling. You know something, which is better than knowing nothing.

Did he give you any info about what the course of action would be if your second test results confirmed the first ones?

I also get your not wanting to blog. I have, to this point anyway, been pretty lucky with comment spam. The old blog got smashed a few days ago with about 35 comments from V146r4, though. Blech.

I'm here.

Posted by: Stew at January 18, 2007 12:04 PM

I've been missing your posts but also see the allure of being out in the world and not plugged in.
I think I haven't been posting as regularly just because I'm not out in the world. I feel disconnected. But not in a good relaxing way.

Posted by: Gidge at January 18, 2007 12:04 PM

I've been thinking about you and your headaches a lot recently and wondering what is happening. I guess you know a little bit more, which is good, but it does seem to be a long drawn out process, figuring out what's up, doesn't it?

I know what you mean about blogging - I love the sense of community with people I like, which makes it worthwhile, but it can be a timesink. I don't get any comment spam at all with that word verification thingy.

I have NOTHING to say about that news story.

Posted by: Marianne at January 18, 2007 12:09 PM

Hey, I'd wondered why I kept getting a blank page over here...

But on more important things, you're 65! Does that mean you're eligible for social security, retirement, etc.?

In any case. Enjoy your new restfullness: less tech, more knowledge.

Peace and hugs,

Posted by: Phil at January 18, 2007 12:25 PM

Hey! I just had 35 really important things to say!

Posted by: Petey V146r4 at January 18, 2007 12:36 PM

I'm relieved to hear you got a diagnosis--it's always scary to not know what the hell is going on. Sending lots of positive and healthy vibes your way.



Posted by: mykull at January 18, 2007 1:36 PM

I too am relieved that you know SOMEthing, which is always better than NOthing. Hope the next things you hear are GOOD things.

I'm also having some bloggui myself. I wonder if it will pass.

Posted by: minty at January 18, 2007 3:50 PM

What they all said. Whew! Finally you got *some* information, but aiyiyi.... Been thinking of you a lot. Take care, sweetie. Hugs! :)

Posted by: erthsister at January 19, 2007 9:58 AM
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