Hey gang! I haven’t done a health update in a little while because I’ve been so busy trying to compile all of my UK vacation stories for my blog, but today a health update is needed.
Yesterday I went to see an Ear Nose and Throat specialist to get results back from a CT scan. I had a feeling something showed up on it, as I was called by his office to change my appointment for next month to the nearest available time. He sat me down in a chair in his office and explained to me that my CT scan showed a large mass taking up the entirety of my bottom right sinus cavity, therefore I would need surgery to remove it. He said this mass is prob the cause for my chronic sinus infections, migraines, nose bleeds, and maybe even the vertigo and nausea, all symptoms that I have been suffering with on a regular basis for many years. Great news, I thought, this long list of symptoms can be dealt with and fixed. Finally I’m getting some of the answers I’ve been seeking for so long!
And then I got some interesting news. He told me that, going back through my MRI scans from 2010, the exact same mass was evident on that scan and overlooked by the radiologist reading my MRI. 4 years. 4 years! For 4 years I have been living with symptoms that could have been taken care of by day surgery. For four years I have been in and out of hospitals, trying tons of horrible medications, receiving handfuls of misdiagnoses and completely rearranging my life to deal with these problems, when they didn’t have to be problems at all.
I’m pretty pissed, of course. I mean yeah I feel a sense of hope that these symptoms can be filed away in the past, but I can’t help but feel so completely wronged. Doctors have been looking in the wrong areas to diagnose my other problems thanks to the array of symptoms this sinus mass has created. Instead of looking for something neurological, doctors could have been focusing on my muscle and joint problems. Now, the ENT tells me, I should be able to get some answers.
Answers! I’ve been looking under every rock and in every corner for those. I have known for YEARS that something is wrong with my body, and for years I have gone from doctor to doctor, being told it’s this or it’s that, and never finding the relief I knew was out there somewhere. Other people get diagnoses, I thought, so why can’t I? And all along one of those answers was already sitting there in my medical records on an MRI from 2010.
In approximately 8 weeks I will be having surgery to remove the mass from my sinus cavity, and then the surgeon will get it tested to ensure that it’s not malignant. I don’t even want to think about the implications of that, of how betrayed I would feel by a healthcare system that is supposed to make patients feel safe and cared for, if I have been living with a cancerous tumour in my head for over 4 years undetected. Chances are that won’t happen but boy will I be writing some strongly worded letters to our health care system if it does! Until then I will try to think about the positive, the hopeful future I have ahead of me filled with less pain, less sickness and less questions (huzzah!) But of course there are times I can’t help but linger on the past, those four years that were completely changed for me thanks to one person not doing their job properly.
So I have some serious advice for you this time: listen to your doctors, take in their advice and work together with them to try to find your answers, but if something feels wrong, if your body is trying to tell you something that contradicts what these doctors are saying to you, listen to that ache or that pain and do whatever you have to do to advocate for your wellbeing. I had to be pushy just to get an appointment to see this ENT specialist because I knew something wasn’t adding up, I knew that even though my sinuses looked fine there had to be something, and if I hadn’t pushed for that appointment there is no telling how many more years I would go on looking under the wrong rocks or in the wrong corners for those answers.
Get second opinions. Get third and fourth opinions if you need them. You know your body better than anyone else does, so don’t ever tell it to be quiet when it’s trying to tell you something isn’t right. Don’t give up, no matter how exhausting and frustrating this process can be for you. You’re worth it. You deserve to be as healthy and happy as possible.