Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Not been blogging lately, as there hasn't been much going on.....if I had a webcam, all you would see would be a lot of me sleeping and hanging around in my bathrobe. I do go out occasionally, in spurts, and then I come home tired. If I do something the whole day, I have to take the next day off completely, because I get tired.

Needless to say, I'm getting plenty of reading done and watching alot of movies. Lots of little home improvement projects. I cleaned out the hall closet, for example. It's really amazing what you can commit to if you allow yourself permission to stop when you're tired. People say you'll never finish, but you do. Just slower and your tolerance for leaving it unfinished for a bit has to be high.

Other than that, not much, except it's award season again here. In the dearth of actual weather-related seasons, maybe that should actually BE a season in LA. We could comment on the red-carpet wear like regular people comment on foliage. I hear white it is a big color this year....
And it's been almost a year since I started this blog. I started it on Oscar night last year, if you'll recall.

With that in mind, I leave you with the best thing I've seen during awards season so far, as it sort of sums up what this blog is sort of about: Abigail Breslin, the little girl who starred in "Little Miss Sunshine", was on the red carpet at the SAG awards a couple of nights ago, and some news correspondant asked her what she had in her purse. Her answer: lip gloss and cookies. I thought it was brilliant. What more does any girl need? She's prepared for any beauty emergencies and thinking about the long, boring and potentially foodless night ahead of her, she is also prepared to make it through, squirrelling away resources in a pretty bag.
The lessons? 1.) Be prepared if you can, and 2.) don't be afraid of dessert; 3.) should something stupid come along ( say, a reporter for E!) that throws you a curveball, be brave enough to throw one back ; 4.) in all things, try to squeeze in any enjoyment of things for yourself, anywhere you can, regardless, and 5.) try to look good doing it!

I'm telling you, that kid is way ahead of the game.

Monday, January 22, 2007

So THEN a trip to see Master P pretty much clears the whole thing up. I'm so glad he's a good diagnostician, and ready to do OTHER doctors' jobs, since apparently, nobody else I see is doing theirs....

THe deal is this. A normal EBV titer is under 0.99, non-acute, producing no symptoms. MY EBV titers are 1.67, and somewhere in the range of acute ( although that was a 10 minute debate I'll spare you; suffice it say the medical community is not in agreement as to how this virus actually harbors its existence once in the body), producing symptoms ( mostly fatigue, apathy and low grade depression). Additionally, my TSH ( thyroid) is borderline low ( so borderline that if I had a test at a different lab with different ranges it WOULD be low; again, another 10 minute discussion. When did medicine get so theorhetical? Jeez!). Add togther and mix, and what you have is my need to sleep about 15 hours a day, hair falling out in the shower, muslce weakness, a cough that won't go away, and about as much enthusiasm for things that formerly seemed enticing as I have for dentistry.

Which led Master P to answer my question, "So what do we do?" with " Treat your thyroid, watch what happens, and you rest. "

Good times.

In other news, I had planned on having a birthday party for myself this year, but I have since decided that I can't afford it, nor do I want to deal with the hassle. No one is able to come, ( only 4 people have RSVP'd yes, and the rest of those who haven't yet are working my last nerve in the Etiquette Department. I am SO not going to call and ask!), and I can't afford to buy chips n' dip for the world. Dani says, "Well, then, if they're going to be rude bastards, let them go chipless!!" I can see that tack, but it also leaves me sitting at home wondering who's gonna show. THAT is depressing. I hate my birthday enough already.

More good times.

Besides that, not much else to report. Besides cutting off 6 inches of hair ( re: see above about the shower) and being super obsessed with all the new lip glosses at the local Rite-Aid, that's all I've had the strength to muster to get excited about. I can get it going for about an hour or so, and then I need a nap.

But it beats a hole in the head, or heart, any day of the week, so I ain't bitchin'. (Too much, anyway. Hey, if I quit completely, you'd know I was dead). Amen to that.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

So much for all the hand wringing....

Well, I went to this guy's office and he was all "oh, so tell me how you're feeling, blah blah blah...." and so I tell him the whole story and such and I ask how my tests came back. He says, well, it shows evidence that you've had EBV once in your life. I said I thought it was a new infection, and he said, no, it might be a reactivation. I said I was unlcear on that.....on and on and basically he tells me every other test is fine and I am a basically healthy person and I shouldn't worry and if things get bad for me to try x, y, z things ( which I happen to know are all treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), and sends me outta there.

Then I go to my car really mad at my GP for scaring the shit out of me and sending me there. So I call her office and ask her, what's the deal? She said, "Jessica, your EBV titers are higher than last time, and I don't know much about it so I sent you to him." And then I got really pissed at the guy for not just saying so. I guess he figured what really mattered was how I felt, and he felt I didn't have enough symptoms to worry about and even if I did, there wasn't jack shit he could do anyway so.....he kept saying, "I don't want you to get hung up on the numbers."

It occurred to me later that he treats alot of HIV patients, and when *I* used to work with HIV patients, THEY are VERY hung up on their T-Cell count, etc., and it has no real meaning on what their prognosis is.

But THIS is different. If your EBV titers are up it MEANS something. It usually correlates with symptoms, and it's reassuring to know, "damn, I'm not crazy; I am sick ". And so I have decided to get a second opinion, and at least get someone in my corner who's gonna listen when I say, "my EBV titers are up and I'm feeling crappy,". I know there isn't anything Western medicine can do, but there's something to be said for a doc who allows you to feel crappy when you do and shows a little concern. Anyway.

The good news is that I DON'T have Hep B or anything so I don't have to talk to Anthony about it. I was concerned about all the Hepatitises since he works in a hellhole and according to the fun maps on the wall at the infectious disease doc's, he's exposed to everything except Yellow Fever. Well, it's not really my responsibility anymore, since he's going to risk it by not getting immunized and that's his problem....(although I think it's damned irresponsible to himself and any partner he has to not be more concerned about that, and it pisses me off. Breathe, Jessica, hands off his issues, and focus on you.....inhale, exhale......). He's going to Second Global Hotspot ( on the Dark Continent), allegedly this fall, and NO ONE will even let anyone leave the goddamned country for there without getting immunized for anything and everything; he'll be covered then. If he doesn't have symptoms of EBV now, he may never have them, and if he gets tested (which he can't do til he gets home anyway- they offer no medical care in his company), he'll probably show up positive like the rest of 90% of American adults. Not for me to be ethically concerned with, so whew. Thank Whomever.

So, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. The doc still wants me tested for HIV and a bunch of other crap, just in case, but he said, looking at the other panels, it's doubtful I have anything.

Tha's the news, but grr. Argh! Groan. Grateful for the good side of it, but back to the drawing board in the EBV catagory.....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Yea, I know, it's been FOREVER, but you can thank the blizzard in Denver , plus the holidays, PLUS the flu upon return to LA for that! It's been quite an adventure for the last month, Dear Readers....

I left LA on the 19th for a much, much needed vacation to STL, and got stranded in Denver for about 5 days due to a record blizzard. I spent one night on the airport floor with thousands of others, and managed to hole up the rest of the time in a hotel, warm, with food and a bed ( thanks to Dad's credit card). Brother the travel agent hooked it up so to extend my trip and make up the lost 5 days by spending them at home wouldn't cost extra, so I had a nice long visit to relax.

Then on New Year's day I woke up with swollen glands and a sore throat which quickly progressed into a hellacious flu. By the time I had gotten on the plane to fly back here on the 4th, what had started as an URI had developed a charming gastrointestinal flair to it. ( Hooray for upgrades to First Class on a non-stop flight.) On top of that I had craptacular PMS and was a moody mess ; not to mention of Anthony had emailed me to say "Happy New Year!" in MySpace( I sent back a very brief perfunctory with the same wishes, which isn't BAD per se. Still, I felt very weird about it, and I came to other conclusions later; keep reading) which allowed me to see that some really ( objectively speaking, I have surmised; trust me, it wouldn't be any better if she looked the opposite of) unnattractive chick he'd been flirting with is posting all about his hot body and his sex appeal. (After both of those things, I decided, on my own - yay! Jessica!- that I had had enough overall and chose, on my part, to say, " I will no longer allow what this man does or does not do to hurt me, and I do not want to have him in my life at this time." After careful thought, and to this end, I chose to shut down my page, since I wasn't using it anyway, was sick of the proximity to temptation, his access to me in such an offhand manner and all of my bad associations with that stupid site as of late. It was an enormous relief and I'm so glad. I might go back later after all this is ancient history, but for now, it's the right choice, and I'm proud of myself. It's not often I really say or feel that too much about myself, --and it made me realize I don't know why that is, since I'm a pretty good person!--but I felt it, and it felt good.
I hope and plan to continue to make better, healthier choices in this arena-- as well as others--as time goes forward) .
I'm just getting past all that now. Feeling a little better, sleeping alot, eating regularly, not full of anxiety and depression and grief every day anymore.... phlegm still a problem, but I'm hoping that will come around, too.

On the whole the trip home was exactly the escape I needed. I saw alot of old friends who were really, really happy to see me and showed me a lot of love, which I really appreciated. I finally met my friend Vince's little girl, Mara, who is beautiful and funny at 18 months; I met another friend's great new wife that he'd finally found after a painful divorce 5 years ago. I met Brother's hilarious and spastic new pug puppy, Theo, who was good for hours of entertainment and wet kisses, not to mention the amusemement of my seeing my parents puppy-sit. I saw Brother's band, who were REALLY good. I ate lots of good food and felt much, much more grounded than I have in a long time.
I realized that alot of the stupid shit I've been dealing with lately is stupid people wanting me to hold their hands through every psychological paper cut imaginable, ( see last blog, below) and I'm fresh out of bandaids and kisses for their boo-boos. And that I'm sick of protracted drama of any kind ( see this blog, above). Time to take care of Jessica first. New Year's resolution.

In that area, I went back to the doctor when I was feeling my worst with the flu, and had her take a look at me. While I was there, she wanted to run some tests to re-check the Epstein-Barr situation again; she also wanted to check some stuff like my thyroid level, Hepatitis B ( again, I was concerned with Anthony's job....), strep, etc. . That was Monday. Friday I got a call from her secretary informing me that she was sending me to an infectious disease specialist. I asked why, and her secretary informed me, "Jessica, she didn't really explain it to me, but to say it had to do with your Epstein-Barr."
Still breathing. Made the appointment. I'm going in Monday.

My GP is not very much of an alarmist. She's pretty down to earth and she likes to keep things basic. She's been doing this for about 35-40 years, I'd imagine, so she's seen alot of stuff, and things rarely faze her. I'm hoping that she's just erring on the side of "there's not much I can offer her in this area, and so she should see a specialist" and not the "uh-oh" side. Of course, since she didn't call me herself, I don't know anything. I don't know what my titers look like, if I have Hep B as well (GOD forbid), if I have an elevated white blood cell count and I'm in BIG trouble, or what.
So I sit here, about 48 hours away from my appointment with Specialist Guy, trying not to be an alarmist myself. It's a little rough. Sometimes I know doctors don't like to scare patients, but HELLO? Like sitting here going "It's NOT a tumor!" over and over is not scary?

But I'm trying to remain cool, and not get all hot and bothered about what I do not know. It could be that my titers are elevated and there is cause for some concern and that's it, and we go from there. And even if it's bad, what can I do untill then? Nothing. And if it is bad, what do I do?
Go from there.

New Year's resolution: take care of Jessica first. Even if it's literal. Still sticking by that.