This week I had an appointment with an oncologist. No, I don’t have cancer (but thanks for your concern) — rather, these specialists are also hematologists, and it was finally time to do something about all of my unexplained bruises.
When I say unexplained bruises, I’m not talking about a dime-sized purple spot on my leg that shows up unexpectedly, without cause. I wake up with fingerprints on my legs from where my hand rested when I was sleeping. I have bruises three to four inches in diameter that appear at various places on my body — with no impact or injury to speak of as a cause. People have come up to me to ask questions to determine if my husband was abusing me. Apparently when I was a child, my parents received similar inquiries as to whether they abused me. (For the record — no, I am not / was not abused!).
I always looked at the bruising more as an inconvenience — I can rarely wear shorts or skirts in the summer unless I don’t mind looking like Courtney Love on a bad day. But it wasn’t until I was at the dermatologist a few months ago having a mole removed when the doctor took one look at me and started asking some interesting questions.
Are you flexible? Are you tired all the time, even after sleeping 10 hours? Does your vision continue to deteriorate? Do you have sinus issues? Do you suffer from anxiety?
Um … yes? Why was he asking me these questions? Was he hitting on me??? Inappropriate!
No, it turns out there are some rare medical conditions that are only diagnosed by “connecting the dots” of multiple, seemingly unrelated issues. While these individual health issues alone are not cause for major concern, together they may mean something more significant. And apparently, I have one of these random syndromes. Lucky me.
Of course, with my luck, I get diagnosed with something for which there is no cure; nor is there a medical test that will prove with 100% certainty that I do, in fact, have this condition. Oh, and my eyeball may explode someday (seriously). But the oncologist (after sending me off to get about 75 different blood and other tests done) said it was good that I was looking into this now, as there may be things I need to manage and monitor to avoid more serious issues down the road. For example, there are heart issues that can arise unexpectedly and be fatal, such as an aortic dissection, which is how John Ritter died.
It’s strange to think that there may be a reason, a true medical condition out there that accounts for all the things I just thought were part of me all along. Even if there is nothing that I can do about it. My hands aren’t shaking due to being nervous or scared! My anxiety isn’t because I’m … well, not able to control being anxious! (and before you ask, there is ZERO impact on my intellectual ability. So save the comments please!). At least with all the potentially scary things out there, I get something for which I can still lead a normal, healthy, long life.
Although maybe with only one eyeball. If it happens to explode on you someday, apologies in advance, and I promise that I will pay for your dry cleaning.