Hello dear readers! Are any of you still with me? I was doing pretty good for a minute there, blogging more regularly as per my new year's resolution for 2010. And now another month has gone by with nothing new from yours truly (though I have a bunch of unfinished posts in the draft queue that I should go back and post one of these days). My apologies to you all. And to me. For a gal who would really like to be writing for a living, I sure haven't been doing a whole lot of writing.
I've been a little distracted. Perhaps you noticed in more recent posts my mention of things really happening for me lately, that my life was firing on all cylinders and improving in wholly new and beautiful ways. Which was true. And still is true. But, all good things must come to an end, and my whirlwind ride at the top of the wheel of fortune seems to be through for the time being.
For the last few months, my typical response to the question "How's it going?" has been something along the lines of, "Everything is just going great these days! Except for some stomach problems, I really have nothing to complain about." Well, it turns out the stomach problems became more and more severe - and frequent - until finally requiring some medical attention. So a couple of weeks ago I went to a doctor - which was, aside from regular visits to Planned Parenthood, my first conventional doctor's appointment in the three years since I've lived in Utah - to get checked out. After an ultrasound, we learned that my stomach problems were not the result of gallbladder issues, as the doc had suspected, but rather due to a cyst on my spleen roughly the size of a tennis ball.
So that was a total surprise. I had never even heard of anyone having a spleen cyst (or splenic cyst, as they're referred to in the medical community) before. I've since learned that they're somewhat rare, especially in developed countries. In developing countries they're seen more often as the result of a common parasite. In the US and Europe, people with splenic cysts are typically either born with them, or develop them after an injury or trauma to that part of the body. So far, the doctors I've seen seem to think mine is probably a developmental cyst (that I was born with), or that I've at least had for quite some time due to its size and other qualities I won't bore you with here. Doesn't much matter at this point, either way the fucker needs to come out.
The good news is that splenic cysts are almost always benign, and mine shows no characteristics of malignancy. The bad news is that the cyst is at the very top of my spleen. The spleen, I've learned, is sort of shaped like a pickle, or a bratwurst, and hangs out in the left side of your abdomen wedged between your diaphragm, stomach, left kidney, and the upper intestine. The top of the spleen is - I think, but I could for sure be wrong here - is above the stomach and just below the left rib cage. So anyway, the bad news is that because my cyst is up at the top of my spleen, it is much more difficult to get to. The gastroenterolgy specialist I saw last week seemed fairly certain that I would have to have a complete splenectomy. This is not good news. While you can live without a spleen, it puts you at increased risk for immune system deficiencies and getting sick more often. Apparently, if my spleen is removed, I'll have to spend at least six months on some hardcore antibiotics, and get immunized every year for pneumonia, flu, and possibly some other nasty viruses.
For a young and healthy person such as myself, I can probably still live a good, long life sans spleen. And the gastro doc did say not to take her word as the final authority. "I'm not a surgeon," she said, "and that's a question for a surgeon."
At this point, I'm just trying to get through life one day at a time. I'm not overcome with worry and fear like I was upon first finding out about this situation, but the stomach problems seem to get worse with each passing day and I'm pretty miserable most of the time. For now, I'm waiting to meet with my surgeon for a consult on the 15th, and keeping my fingers crossed that the gastroenterologist's prediction of total splenectomy doesn't come to fruition.
So there you go readers. Probably a lot more information than you ever cared to read about splenic cysts and my personal health. But I feel I owe you an explanation for the deadening silence in blogland. This is heavier stuff than I like to post over here, saltychelle having been created as an exhibition of all the strange and funny stories I witness in my day-to-day life. These days though, I have been neither observant enough to notice much of the entertaining business of my day-to-day, nor feeling physically well or creatively inspired enough to sit down and write them on the blog.
Keep your fingers crossed, say a prayer for me, send your positive vibes out into the universe - whatever it is that works for you. I appreciate any help I can get these days.