Slightly dented and damaged, but still truckin’

I have been asked quite a bit lately when the next Lizzie book is coming out, and I have been working on it (Death Pays the Check). My goal is in the next three or four months.

However, I feel as though I owe you all an explanation of the reason for the delay.

Normally, I’m rather open about my private life, sharing things my family have said and done. Really, they make it so easy to laugh at the things they do, I just HAVE to share these things.

But the last couple of months, I have kept something from everyone except my immediate family, and a few very close, close friends.

In the middle of May, I was getting ready for a trip to Missouri to see Mom and James. The only thing I had left to do was to see my regular doctor for my three month pain medication check. While I was there, I asked them to run the usual blood work, because I had anemia two years ago that we took care of, and while there had been no more problems, I felt it was important to keep an eye on it.

The day before I was due to leave, I received a call from one of the nurses, telling me that I needed to go to the emergency room immediately to receive an iron transfusion. My iron levels had seriously tanked (4%). The next morning, I drove to the hospital, where more blood was drawn to see what my levels were. The ER doctor told me that I did not need the transfusion; he said he didn’t like doing iron transfusions, and his cut off was 7% (I was at 7.5%). “Take some iron pills and get rechecked with your doctor in ten days.” He diagnosed me with iron deficient anemia and sent me on my way.

I called my doctor’s office, told them what happened, and requested the same medication I had taken two years before that had worked so well.They also told me that I needed to make an appointment with a hematologist, who would help me manage my anemia. I stuck close to home, just in case. To be honest, I didn’t give the whole thing very much thought for the next month. I refinished an old school desk for Mom, a dining room table for my in-laws, and took my iron pills. And just to throw this in, I have been trying to lose weight, and have lost 26 pounds in the last few months. YAY ME! Of course, this means I need to pull out some old clothes, because my shorts don’t fit, and my shirts look like tents on me right now. But I’ll take it!

Finally, I was ready to go to Missouri again. I was feeling better, had Mom’s desk loaded in the van, along with the wood for a couple of flower box benches I’m working for my mother-in-law that James is going to help me put together . Tuesday, June 28th was the target date, and I would be able to spend my birthday with my family. I was excited, although I would miss playing pool with a new friend, Rollin, which I have been doing for the last month.

Monday, June 27th was a bad day. I woke up at 7 am, and by 10 am, I was back in bed, totally exhausted. Up at 2 p.m., and by 5 p.m., I was ready to go back to bed again. Warning bells started going off. I talked to my husband that night, and we agreed that I should go back to my doctor and get the iron levels rechecked. So I called Mom and regretfully cancelled my trip.

Next day, more blood was done, and an appointment was made with a hematologist, Dr. Kannan, for Wednesday, July 6th. The call I got from my regular doctor told me that my iron levels had not improved since May, despite the fact I had been taking the iron pills every day. I had even been eating food that had higher iron levels (Cheerios and I are best friends now).

The night before the appointment, I was nervous as hell. I confided as much to Rollin, who called me a couple of hours later and said, “Let’s go shoot some pool.” God bless him, he was trying to take my mind off things. I have to say he has been a God send, offering his support and being a good friend. I have a feeling I’ve just “adopted” another son (that would make four total: James (the one who tortured me through hours of labor), Aronn, Justin, and now Rollin, and one “adopted” daughter, Breela)!

I had my appointment yesterday, and needless to say, it was an eye opener. It doesn’t have anything to do with the amount of iron in your food, she told me. It’s possible that this has been going on for a long time and you just haven’t realized it. Basically, she thinks that somewhere inside me, there might be a micro bleed. My body cannot replenish the iron that it needs fast enough. New iron pills, more blood work, and a referral to another doctor for a colonoscopy is what I left with. If my iron levels have not improved by August 3rd, my next appointment, then I will have to have the iron transfusion.

Rollin and I played pool last night, and I told him what the doctor had said. “I find it weird to think that I’m standing here, and I could be bleeding somewhere internally, and not even realize it.” When I told another close friend, Kristi, last night, the results, I said, ‘I find it a bit disconcerting to realize this. Can you just imagine the conversation: ‘Hey Teresa, how’s it going?’ ‘Oh not bad, just a little internal bleeding, nothing serious. How are you doing?'” We both had a good laugh over that one.

My mom called me this morning to check on me, and we chatted for a few minutes. I told her I had talked to James the night before, and he had been very insistent that I get up to Missouri by this weekend, early next week at the latest. I asked her if she knew why there was such a sense of urgency, and she said, “Maybe he just needs to see you to make sure that you’re really all right.” After we hung up, I sent her a text: “Just want to say that I’m all right. I’m not like a certain person who won’t be named. I don’t curl up in my room and do nothing. I keep going, trying to get things done. Slightly dented and damaged, but still truckin’!” Her reply was “Keep on trucking”, and I said, “Beep beep!”

I’m not telling you all this for sympathy. Now that the initial shock has passed, I’m handling this with my usual sense of humor and warped jokes. I can’t help but think of a conversation I had with the nurse who drew my blood yesterday. I’m a hard stick, and I have moving veins, so she had a heck of a time trying to get a vein to stay still long enough to draw the blood she needed. She ended up jabbing both arms. The whole time she was trying to find a vein, I was laughing and joking with her. “You are such a good patient,” she told me when she finally found a cooperative vein, “and you have a great sense of humor about this.” I replied, “I look at it this way. I can moan and groan (which I have done), and say, ‘Woe is me’ (which I did), but as I told a doctor once, ‘I can let my physical problems weigh me down and make me miserable. Or I can look at things with my usual sense of humor and laugh. I choose to laugh. I only have anemia; there are people in this building (I was at Texas Oncology) who are in worse shape than I am. I have no reason or right to complain too much. God bless those people here who are fighting their own battles. I’ll be fine. They have a harder road to sow.”

Two weird coincidences: the registrar who checked me in was also named Teresa, and Dr. Kannan’s medical assistant is named Lizzie. Cue the spooky music! (And no, Lizzie doesn’t know anyone named Gladys; I asked!) My husband says that perhaps this is a sign of good karma.

So, the next Lizzie book is being written inbetween naps, building projects, and nights of pool with Rollin, Aronn and friends, where I can take out my frustrations on 15 innocent pool balls, and laugh with these young people who think this old lady is funny as hell and pretty cool (Aronn and Rollin got me a new pool cue for my birthday, so I have to break it in, right?). I might feel sorry for myself every once in a while, but these boys usually listen to me whine, then kick me in the butt, and say, “Get over it and let’s go shoot pool.”

I’m slightly damaged and dented, seriously goofy with a warped sense of humor, but I’m still truckin’.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Slightly dented and damaged, but still truckin’

  1. Praying that they can find the problem and fix it easily. Thanks for sharing. As much as we love your books, you matter more.

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