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Chronic Snarkopolist: What’s Your Worst Medical Story?!

Post Published: 16 June 2010
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Category: chronic autoimmune conditions column, Chronic Snarkopolist, Column
This post currently has 25 responses. Leave a comment

As I write this I am waiting for my rheumatologist to call me back. Actually she is not my regular rheumatologist, she is the “on call” doc because my regular rheumy is out of the country.

There is no such thing as a little bit of a complication when you are dealing with chronic autoimmune disorders. There is only a SONIC FUCK TON of complex KILLING-YOU-ITIS and simply, “Dear Melissa – you are merely whining today, leave us alone, yours truly, love, all 11 of your medical specialists.”

I never know which of these I fall under in any given day. Probably, knowing me, I vacillate wildly between both.  Meanwhile, OF COURSE, one doctor is always super nice and sweet, “Call at any hour, even at 3 a.m.”  And one is – “If you call me I will snap your spine in small sections.”

My colorectal surgeon, Dr Mchotterson – (who decided to give me last minute emergency surgery on my poop-chute last Tuesday because he must be in mad love with me) was of course the – “CALL AT ANY HOUR and bother any of my partners even if it is at 3 a.m.” doctor.

Of course, at this moment, I’m experiencing every malady known to human kind. And he has called every day, “How are you?” “I’m GREAT!” “I’m terrible.” “I’m running a horrific fever and an alien sucker punched me in my vaginal area and then made off with my pocket book, used my ID to buy liquor and purchase handguns and given them to the homeless who have invaded foreign countries, set up their own governments, are making a blood drive, called and asked me to contribute because they have my ID, and … and then I peed blood. Help!”

Of course – I have no idea what to do.  I’m not sure how sick is “sick.” My REAL LIFE rheumatologist is out of the country, volunteering for Doctors Without Boarders.  (Seriously – SHE AND HER HUSBAND ARE SAINTS!) The stand in Rheumatologist on call -called me back and said, “hrmm – you could be perfectly fine or you could be dying of 200 illnesses including DREAD PIRATE DISEASE.  Maybe you should go to the ER. Call your surgeon and ask him what he thinks.  You’re probably dying of sepsis from your cornholing surgery the other day.”

So- Dr. Mchotterson is not on call today.  His partner calls me back.  She is CLEARLY NOT in a good mood to be bothered on a weekend.  She asked me, “are you running a fever?”

Me: Yes

Dr. Not-dealing with your shit today:  so your Rheumatologist wanted you to call me and bother me on my Saturday off because WHY?

Me: because I’m also peeing blood too

(we go through the entire list of medical questions of which YOU WILL BE SPARED)

(but really- I peed blood- it was fascinating – in a biochemical way. But also disgusting and I had an out of body experience when I noticed. Like  floating in the air head rush– this isn’t me, it can’t be.  This is just red. In my pee. Yes. Red stuff. Protein. I took chemistry. Red. Stuff. Pretend it away.  “Wish it to the cornfield Timmy.” Unicorns. Rainbows. Red geysers of DEATH KILLING ME INSTANTLY and then reviving me to KILL ME SOME MORE.)

Her trump question: (she puts it all to rest and wins by default by rendering me SPEECHLESS)    Do you have feces in your urine?

Me: um? What?

Dr. Not-dealing with your shit today: DO- YOU- HAVE – FEECES – IN – YOUR – URINE?  Are you peeing poo? Are you making the number two out of the number one hole? Are you? Are you????

Me: (More stunned silence) (weakly) no?

Her: Then you’re not sick enough to bother me. Dr. Mchotterson will see you at 9:45 a.m. for follow-up on Monday.

Me: (SPEECHLESS STILL)

Dr. Not-dealing with your shit today: (clicks phone decisively in my ear and laughs at me mockingly)

I drink more tea, call back the on call rheumatologist and tell her that I am a whiney whore for complaining about blood when no poop is coming out the pee pee hole.  I then draft a new business card to thank Dr. Mchotterson for NOT being a cock sucking bully and for being a least nice to me more than 42% of the time.

Here it is:

Please note  – even if I die of sepsis, kidney failure, a fistula, (the Rheumatologist ON CALL  said this word, like pleurisy I have never heard it before) or DREAD PIRATES DISEASE – I will have lived a thousand  lives before I EVER google the surgery I have had done before.

Note to self: never google your surgeries AFTER the fact.  You do NOT want to know the kinds of shit a colorectal surgeon can pull out of you (literally or figuratively).   You just do NOT WANT TO DO IT.

I know I promised not to gross you out anymore – but… well… I can’t help it.  And to be honest- in order to get over it – I have to tell you all about it. If I tell YOU about it – then I can sort of unload it all mentally.  Now the images of the last week are gone from my mind and permanently loaded on YOURS.  Now YOU can go image search all those horrific words and take away the terrible sights from MY MIND. Go – go do it. I triple dog dare you!!

(Shudder.  Pokes at gross images in mind with stick.)

I’m sitting here wondering what on earth to talk about more fascinating then how doctors treat their patients.  And it is this – how doctors treat OTHER doctor’s patients – that is patient’s who are not theirs (yet).  How the medical industrial complex requires exactly certain behaviors of “good” and “bad” and “unruly” patients.  And how chronically ill people are shuffled around like so many slabs of meat from day to day.

It is so easy to forget sometimes that we have rights – or even if we REMEMBER – it is hard to stand up for our rights without having to do FLYING SIDE KICKS into the artifices that medicine has sometimes constructed for us.

And here is the completely opposite side of that coin: The other day a nurse (or group of them) did something lovely for me.  I woke up from surgery and found this on my hospital ID band:

SUPER SASSY  with a smiley face written on my hospital Identification tag.    I am QUITE  positive this goes against every possible regulation and code on the planet. I am positive the surgeon did not approve it or know about it.  I am positive that the nurse in question did it to be sweet to me and because she herself is a doll.  And I AM GRATEFUL for it.  I need to feel special.  I needed the laugh.  And I got one.  I LOVE A GOOD LAUGH more than anything on the planet.  Meanwhile – it is difficult for me to juxtapose this beautiful fun amazing thing with the confusing and complicated matter of having self-esteem, dignity, and having rights in the face of sometimes inhuman medical billing, mean office staff, and unpleasant and cruel doctors.

Admittedly- sometimes I’m having awful days.  I do my very best to BE my best for all the medical staff I see because I know that the front desk people are the one’s who will ultimately grease my wheels.  They will be the one’s who will ALLOW me to still see a doctor even if I do not have a paid medical bill.  Or – they will be the one’s who not-so-accidentally do NOT call me back.

Gratefully- I left the last proctologist’s office long before I began having all these complications because it was her office manager who disliked me.  And it was ME who started the fight (by accident).  Really though – aren’t all misunderstandings always by accident – sort of like checking out someone’s package – it is NEVER on purpose… just a glance too long and oops – sausage factory has been seen and now must be dealt with accordingly!

So how does one HAVE self-esteem and rights and still manage to BALANCE living any type of normal life with NOT NORMAL CHRONIC ILLNESS? I have yet to find the answer. I mean – I could go my whole life without ever seeing graphic words related to my surgeries ever again.  So how do I balance THAT and still remain a normal cool loving person (who makes improved business cards for her poop-shoot surgeon)?  At the same time – I’m a weirdo sicko more than 1/3 of the time. (Hush- I’m sure it is NEVER more than that!)  Leave me alone – I’ve been cornholed!

I am writing to update you on Monday to let you know that Doctor Mchotterson was in an emergency operation so I left and had some blood work done.  I am not dead unless I have become a zombie.  I did, however, manage to shave my legs, and trim the hedges (aka snatch) just in case because I hate knowing that every operating room attendant (and surgeon) on the planet knows that when I am not getting laid I am not arsed to keep myself orderly “down there.”  One of my dear friends went ballistic and reminded me that if I end up getting a CT scan – even if I avoid more surgery this week, the CT scan WILL KNOW!  Hence… my guilty barbering 101 job last night over the toilet. Vey.

Here is visual of what my snatch looks when I am not arsed to keep things orderly:

On my way out from the blood work I scraped my ankle but other than that I am fine(ish). I might get sepsis from the ankle scraping and that would be pretty ironic, wouldn’t it?

So – you – what are your most lovely disgusting or mortifying medical stories?  Please – by all means- you owe me one!  TELL ME!  Turn about is fair play! I’m going to be in surgery a bit on Friday so I might be a bit lax in answering some of the comments.  I FREAKING ADORE YOU!!  I want to know each of you better each week!  If I am slow to answer it is because Dr. Mchotterson is fine tuning my cornhole or the Other surgeon is strumming my more bits like harps cords.

How do you deal with this balance between finding space in your chronically ill life for being a whole and healing person?  How do you find your self-esteem? How do you construct your IDENTITY as more than a sick person while still honoring your illnesses?  How do you know when you are truly sick or just feeling whiney? I simply MUST KNOW!! How have you found success at getting your rights met without coming off like a crazed fool (like yours truly has on plenty of occasions).

I’m so wanting to hear how you cope, how you keep sane, how you manage your life!!  Dish your stories!

I’ll be seeing you next week! Same time same place! Kisses!

Melissa –

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25 Responses to “Chronic Snarkopolist: What’s Your Worst Medical Story?!”

  1. Bobsure Onkle says:

    Nice Bush…. I once had Dreadful Parrots Disease…. Doctor accused me of having a cockortwo!… I replied ” just the one and the cockatoo off course”

  2. Lori says:

    Miss Melly – your stories can never gross me out, seriously! I’ll talk poop and pee over dinner with you any day. I can’t tell you how to stay sane cuz’ I’m not sure I stayed sane during the worst of everything, especially surgeries gone wrong. How could we feel sane when we are going through crazy medical shit and feel like we have no control over what is happening to us, right? What I can tell you is I survived somehow and I am better now at 50 (even though I still feel like shit) than I was at 35, 40 and even 45. Sorry about the fill-in doc, they never want to deal with us unless we scream blood murder and then they just tell us to go to the ER, which, BTW, is where you should go if you keep peeing blood Miss Melly. What surgery are you having next week, it seems so fast after your pooper surgery. Hope you have enough time to heal.

    Hugs,
    Lori

  3. Cate says:

    Melissa,

    I can’t pick one. Here are a few random candidates from the past 15 years:

    Was it Dr.Perky, family practice MD, who wouldn’t let her daughter play with Barbies, but scrawled “weepy, obese, 45 yr old female” across my chart? (I was only 40 and never shed a tear in front of her.) When she tired of not helping me, she told me I’d be better off with cancer.

    Was it Dr.Zen, herbalist/accupunturist who said to me in front of my husband, “You have too much water and a dowager’s hump,” while I was on the table with my face in a cup and push pins in my back?

    Maybe it was Dr.TreeSong(Tannenbaum)the surgeon, who laughed to his sadistic nurse at my shock and pain, while sticking long, electric needles into the heel of my unanesthetized hand, “testing” for carpal tunnel?

    Or, Dr.Preoccupied, OD, whose only teenaged daughter drove her to distraction during appointments, and thought everything could be cured by eating salmon all the time?

    Most recently, it could be Nurse Practitioner Would You Like Weight Loss Surgery With That, who is terrified to help me, and has refused to call with my thyroid labs for the past 13 months. When I tried to reach her, THE OFFICE insisted I come in again.

    I am currently off all things Medical. And still breathing…

    Cate

  4. Lori says:

    I’m back already, I pay such good attention I missed that you wanted to hear a disgusting story of mine. I have several but I’ll share my vaginal hysterectomy story at the age of 32, with you. The name alone is disgusting but I’m glad to hear recently they don’t do this surgery anymore.

    Basically, the surgeon reaches in, cuts out the uterus and pulls it out along with the cervix. Nowadays they leave the cervix in. Good idea, might help keep the bladder in place. I was such a freak back then I had to know what was going and refused to go to sleep during the surgery. I had bad trust issues with doctors because of other fuckups prior to this surgery. Instead, I insisted on epidural anesthesia so I could remain awake. I did this two other times and watch my knee surgery, that was actually pretty cool, and was awake for ankle reconstruction and could hear and smell the doc drilling my bone. Yes, I did think about getting my head examined but I found a wonderful female anesthesiologist who thought what I was doing was just fabulous and more patients should go this route. I’ll tell you now, DON’T DO IT. Only an idiot would want to be awake during their surgery.

    I’m great at going off track so I’ll get back to the hysterectomy story. I had my epidural anesthesia and could feel nothing from the waste down (so I thought). I had my eyes closed imagining I was on an island someplace but could hear everything. The next thing I knew I could feel my uterus being cut from my body and it being pulled out. I screamed and started to jump from the OR table. As soon as I did that, they were on me so fast tying down my arms and knocked me out with general anesthesia. When I saw the fucking doctor after the surgery, he didn’t say a word. I was freaked beyond words. I asked what the hell happened. His answer – oh, I thought you didn’t remember. OK, now I realize I was dealing with a male doctor but seriously, did he think if I pulled his balls off his body he wouldn’t remember because I knocked him out after I did it. I think NOT!

    This nightmare happened on April 21, 1992. Maybe I’ll share another one of my nightmares another time.

    THE END!

  5. Lolly says:

    Melissa I got a hedge trimmer if that’s any help.
    Just want to wish you all the best with your upcoming surgery.
    and if you keep peeing blood then for fuck sake don’t take no for an answer and seek medical advise could be infection could be perforation of the bladder could be fucking anything. I hope you get the all clear for surgery I too think it’s a bit soon after having one surgery. Your body needs time to recover.

    Lovely whatt the nurse did for you.

    I have some stories to tell but the mood i am in now I could fucking kill someone.

    sending you healing vibes

    Love
    Lolly

  6. yogichic says:

    Hey Melissa,

    I don’t have any lovely disgusting or mortifying medical stories to share because my noggin is in a deep fog today. But I roared with laughter when I read your latest saga. Your humor, as graphic and sick as it is, resonates with me and I like it 🙂

    The next time I need a good jolt I’ll be sure to look for your column.

    ☮ ♥

  7. Melissa Travis says:

    Dear Bobsure Onkle,

    I’m glad you’ve fully recovered!

    x
    Melissa

  8. Melissa Travis says:

    My dear Lori –

    Thank you so much for writing in!!!
    I am so glad to hear that things only get better – like the fine fabulous wine that you are! And oh my Gawd to your medical story! I just… I am gobsmacked that you chose to stay awake during your surgeries. GOBSMACKED.

    *faints I just revived enough to *faint more!!!

    You are a stalwart and courageous woman to attempt to stay awake during such a complex procedure!!! And to manage it through your knees!!! I am in awe of you!!! AWE OF YOU!!! Meanwhile – I promise to take up your advice to head to the ER if I begin leaking blood from non blood orifices in the future!

    My next two surgeries (this friday and the next) are supposedly easy and non-complex. The first one is a gall bladder removal and oogling my small intestines from the ouside to check for any Crohn’s Disease damage. And the second is the pooper doc snipping my spinctor more to remove the fissure MORE and supposedly permanently since you know… it didn’t go away again. We’ll see where this leaves us! And thank you for asking. I didn’t want to make you suffer through it if you weren’t interested!! xx

    I’m still nervous though!!! And I will NOT be staying awake through either of them, thankyouverymuch!

    Sending you so much in awe respect!!!
    xo
    Melissa

  9. Melissa Travis says:

    Dear Cate,

    Thank you for sharing you mad fucked up medical stories! Those are some doozies! Every single one of them deserves a cooter punch just for being uttered (or written in your medical file).

    I have always believed a medical file, while necessary – is always a bit of a crap shoot because it leaves so much up in the air. Doctors are JUST PEOPLE practicing. And if they are shitty doctors AND having a bad day- they just write stupid stuff in the medical file. Medial notes are insidious and once something gets recorded WHAT THEN?

    Besides – I can be two or three Melissa’s on any given week depending on how I FEEL or how my blood levels are. Am I happy and respectful and funny as fuck and sweet – YES I AM. Am I cranky and sick and tired and crying and being a jerky whore? YES- I CAN DO THAT TOO. (sorry to all of the people that I’ve done this too with the exception of one asshole).

    Meanwhile – most doctors edit themselves quite well but do so without COMPASSION and empathy. I cannot tell if I would rather have both or more or just more of them and less medical bullshittery. I finally got Dr. Mchotterson to talk to me more straightforward and he is a little more gruff but I LIKE IT SO MUCH MORE — because I feel SAFER when he’s being normal. I hate FAKEY FAKE but I LOVE nice.

    It is hard to figure out where being someone’s true honest self stops and cruel begins…

    Sending you the big time lovin. And if you can live medical free sister – MORE POWER TO YOU. The magnificent spark of life inside your body is big. Treasure it!!
    Sister shoutin out!
    Melissa

  10. Melissa Travis says:

    My dearest Lolly-Lol-

    I would LOVE love love to hear your medical stories anytime! So you come back when you’re no longer feeling murderous and your fingers are feeling able and you REGALE THE HELL OUT OF ME you joy!

    I know – it does feel too soon for more surgery. I’m having two more. One this Friday and one next. I’m afraid too… but they are telling me they are “necessary.” Yikes! I think perhaps one is, but the other one is more… probably elective than the other.

    Sending you MASSIVE love!
    x
    Melissa

  11. Melissa Travis says:

    Dear Yogichic,

    Thank you for writing in and for the fabulous compliments!! I love hearing from each person because you all contribute to everything so much!! Your stories and experiences are just as much what the Chronic Snark is about — so if you can’t think of anything today- maybe you can remember stories from your childhood – because the elderly sick are how we get our attitudes of sick people — and THAT is what I’d like to begin addressing at some point.

    How do we all get our ideas of what sick is…

    Thanks for writing in!!! Keep talking to me!
    Melissa

  12. These are so brilliant and unbelievable. Melissa, your story, OMGeers. I am speechless.

    Let’s see… my stories. A few doozies:

    One dickly-do-wrong, the shmendo didn’t believe in psychiatric disturbances in patients. When first we met, I was thyroid psychotic. So, when he asked me if I was suicidal, I said “YES.” When he asked me if I was homicidal, I said “YES.” To which he responded, you’re fine.

    Moving the story along.

    Shmendotard 2 said “Maybe if you stopped eating whole pies, you’d start losing weight.”

    My stories have stories, like all of us do. There are so many.

    Melissa, I’m grateful to you for writing this as bravely, honestly and funny as you have.

    xo

  13. RobynHahn says:

    Melissa, LOVE the SNARK. My hubs has, on several (or many) occasions, called me a snarkosaurus. So apparently, *not* extinct.

    This is not related to sickness, per se, but after I gave birth to my daughter 4 years ago, (and as an aside Lori, I had an epidural and could feel nothing EXCEPT MY FUCKING UTERUS!) it’s all sunshine and rainbows and I’m all smitten with this gooey alien I just hatched and I’ve already forgotten about the 24 hours labor. Then my doc (who was great, but very, lets say, DRY) says, “Hmmm….that’s more blood than I’d like to see, nurse, can you get an OR nurse?” I wanted to panic, as I assumed I’d ruptured my uterine artery (I did), and I know in my line of work (veterinarian) that it kills animals dead pretty fast. So the nurse is all, “There aren’t any, there are 3 C-sections going on”, and he’s all “Well, that’s not ideal.” and basically gets one nurse to retract the girly goods and he goes in there swinging. The only thing that kept me sane was 1) his very calm, this-is-totally-routine attitude, and 2) I was too exhausted to really mentally function. Thirty minutes later I was all in the clear.

    Then it’s time to move me from delivery to maternity or whatever and the nurse asked my husband to help get me in the wheelchair. On the way to the wheelchair, I passed out, and being “dead weight” unexpectedly, they basically dropped me on the floor. The glorious, cold linoleum floor. I remember thinking on my way down, “I guess I’m dying, hey, it’s not so bad…” This could be because as I was passing out/being dropped the nurse freaked out. “This is NOT GOOD!” which led me to believe that maybe the artery had not been repaired and now I had bled out internally just before losing consciousness. I awoke a few minutes later, still on the delicious floor, with several CONCERNED faces staring at me. Apparently I said something like, “Can I have a graham cracker?” because when you think you are dying you are at your most profound.

    Of course, it all was fine, I stayed an extra day in the hospital, and it was all sunshine and rainbows again. I go for my 6 week follow up with my doctor, and he’s gonna check out the girly goods. He takes one look at me down there and exclaims, “Oh my, you look like an 80 year old woman down here!”. I am not kidding, this is exactly what he said.

    Needless to explain, I now have a female gynecologist.

    Good luck to you in the coming weeks!
    Robyn

  14. Lolly says:

    Melly-mel you are bound to be scared, it’s only natural I must be the only one who doesn’t get scared going to theatre, it’s that S&M… the only time i was shitting myself literally was when I had a arterial thrombisis in my hand and it had cut off the blood supply to my fingers. I had to have an emergency angiogram/plasty so they could put drug busting drugs into the artery from the femoral artery right down to the hand. I really thought I was going to die I was awake throughout the whole thing looking at my hand on the screen as they inserted the catheter. i have no complaints about my treatment then because they did save my life and this was all done down in the X-ray dept by a Japanese Doctor and the X-ray team. The worse part was spending 2 nights fully conscious on intensive care with tubes coming out everywhere, monitors and not being able to move. I had to have the procedure repeated again the next day because it wasn’t working.

    Tomorrow I will tell you about more my take on a thyroidectomy, haemrroidectomy hysterectomy/ooofrectomy and what the hecktomy have I get left to remove. I’m falling apart.

    Promise me this Mel when you go to theatre please learn this thytune and sing it before you get knocked out and if you can remember it when you wake up think of it. I will be there holding your hand telling you your gonna be fine a litle sore but fine.

    Now learn this thytune sing it load and proud.
    http://dearthyroid.org/we-are-thyamily-by-lollyledge/

    Good luck will be sending you some positive healing vibes.

    Much Love

    Lollyxoxo

    If I haven’t strangled anyone by tomorrow i will be back

  15. Donna says:

    This was an amazing read as were all the comments, I thought I had stories about the medical field. I had a lump in my neck for close to two years that my PCP told me was probably sinus drainage b/c my TSH came back normal so the follicular thyroid cancer just grew and that is just the beginning of a myriad of events to follow. I have notes somewhere (I forgot where I put them, lol) and someday I will share. I love Lolly’s comment “If I haven’t strangled anyone by tomorrow I will be back.” Six weeks ago when I went to my former PCP for the very last time I told my husband and my mom not to be suprised if they had to post bail, lol. I called my endo nurse crying that I truly thought they were trying to kill me. It felt so good to kick them to the curb, putting that letter in the mail was the beginning of a new life for me. Thank you sweet people, you all amaze me with your brilliance! Hugs.

  16. Melissa, you are too damn funny! You actually had me laughing out loud!

    AS you can imagine, I have tons of my “worst” stories, but I’ll give you the top four in as short a form as possible!

    A few years ago I got a feeding tube. I’m “special” so I go for the big deal tube that has to be placed surgically by a radiologist, except I didn’t get the anesthesia – something was wrong with my IV and no one bothered to check until after they finished opening up my stomach and inserting all that mess! Thank the dear Lord I don’t have ‘normal’ sensation below my chest.

    Then, several months later I was ready to have it removed, but it got infected first and I ended up with MRSA and was septic myself but didn’t know any of these things and my idiot PCP told me I could just go to a doctor and have it removed in the office. No matter how I insisted I had to schedule it as a radiological procedure, he refused to believe me. My folks were out of town and couldn’t get back, and jackass PCP said I didn’t need them, which is utterly and completely wrong. Fast forward a bunch of phone calls, panic, and tears, and I called an ambulance and my caregiver followed and spent the night at the hospital with me before they yanked the sucker out the next am in my room with bits of the balloon and stuff flying out of me.

    Okay, I’ll only go with 3 – this is too long! Between those two procedures I got a blood clot (not to mention the gaping wound on my arse that precipitated all of this mess to begin with) in my groin and in order to have surgery for my wound i would need an IVC filter to protect me from PE or heart attack. Simple enough procedure actually, but when I found out the same radiologist who did the feeding tube would be doing the filter and that they would go through my JUGULAR vein to place it, I completely LOST it. I started bawling from that moment until after the procedure was over. Tears and snot all over me. 27 years old, 16.5 years of paralysis, etc. and I had my first PTSD moment.

    Achieving a sense of calm amidst the storm? I guess it takes practice. And healthy methods of escape. I lived for TV shows. When I couldn’t sleep at night for worrying, the TV was there to ease my mind and lull me to sleep. Hell, things are decent nowadays and the Golden Girls still lull me to sleep! Humor and writing help and you’ve certainly got that covered. Wish I had the magic answer for you.

    Hang in there and will be thinking of you and your upcoming surgeries. We still need to get together!

    xoxoxoxo,
    Laura

  17. Michelle says:

    Melissa, please keep us updated on the sphincter surgery. I am thyroidless, and have a chronic fissure (2 to be exact) problem that i’ve been seeing my colorectal surgeon for over a year for. We did anal biopsies last year, that was fun… Now he’s recommended as an option the same snip snip slice and dice surgery you’ve just had. Or Botox, which I guess is $$$$ and 50% effective. Well, at least the sphincter will be ageless, or look surprised? I just drinking a gallon of prune juice a day in the meantime. That and the colace are the methadone equivalent kicker for the miralax I’ve been on for the last year.

    And yes, my poop shoot doc is always there to look at my cracked crack whenever I need a little reassurance. And thankfully the staff is nice, because I see them every few weeks.

    Best wishes to you for an effective surgery.

  18. Melissa Travis says:

    Dearest Katie,

    Wow – just wow. “You’re fine, it’s all in your head, and stop eating whole pies” are about the most brass knuckles to the face medical advice one can receive. I’m so sorry you had to go THERE to get HERE where you are.

    I hate that so many of us have had to tread down these roads. I have had a shite doc or two. Luckily by the time I got her I had some MAJOR self esteem and I KNEW a shite doc like I knew the back of my needle riddle hands so I could just get up and walk out. I hate that you had to suffer from being told IT WAS YOUR FAULT.

    It makes me angry that medicine is such a hit or miss for so many of us. In this day in age- when technology is still so advanced we still have the ability to get such horrific treatment or such FABULOUS care.

    Ca-ra-zeeee!

    Yes – our stories have stories. And thank you for providing such a wonderful place for them to HEAL EACH OTHER.

    Love you like a hurricane.
    x
    Melissa

  19. Melissa Travis says:

    Hi Robyn!
    Thank you so much for your story and for writing in!
    I cannot fathom giving birth and still worrying I’m dying in a simultaneous context. Usually we have a ONE OR THE OTHER context. And thank you for giving us the beautiful doctor story – who kept his cool and calm for you. THIS is why I love some of my doctors.

    My favorite neurologist – who saved my life – grabbed my hand in the midst of the worst of it all and said, “I don’t know what is wrong, this is a complicated mess, but I will figure it out with you – I love complicated stuff – I thrive on it – you will get better and I will be with you every step of it because you are going to survive this.”
    And then he saved my life. And then I started popping off all number of auto-immune illnesses (which he figured) – but still – I LOVE GOOD DOCTORS. *confetti*

    MEANWHILE– I’m in a conniption with your “graham cracker” request. I love that we all get brilliant at our worst moments! And your kissing of the linoleum floor! I just heard a DJ spin up “Excuse me while I kiss the sky” by Jimi Hendrix -except he played the special version just for you. LOL

    Lastly – I cannot believe the NERVE of being told you look like an 80 year old after you’d just given birth. He’s lucky to remain alive! I applaud your restraint!!! And your move to a woman doc!

    So happy to get to know you and your stories!! We’ll be talking more in the coming weeks I hope!! Much love!

    Cheers!
    Melissa

  20. Melissa Travis says:

    My Dear Lolly-Lol!
    How I adore your stories! I cannot imagine watching someone save my life whilst I watch. Every time I imagine the FORCED braver and courage of the people I have met I love them MORE. I just do. I fucking love you for being FORCED to endure these things and then make a life anyway.

    And your adorable thytune that I have laughed over!! Brilliant!!

    Oh my– to all your upcoming decisions about what to do and where to start and what bits and pieces to heal first. I have a wonderful Primary Care doc and I have sat with her and gone over some hard decisions. And I FELL IN LOVE WITH HER for taking up her time to sit with me and “waste her time” going over complicated and complex medical decisions with me. But I NEEDED someone medically competent to discuss them with. And I needed someone REMOVED from the process. Because sometimes I feel like a worried bone and the other medical people are the dogs.

    And I’m from the school of, “put a bandage on it and go to school anyway”… so DEALING WITH so many issues puts me on edge too. My hearts goes out to you sweetie. It just does. And even if you are putting on a brave face – it is NOT EASY dealing with complicated medical things. It just isn’t. Especially if they are “nagging” at you and you MUST deal with it EVENTUALLY. Because eventually happens,… and when it does… you are forced to pay up and get it done, as I am now.

    And then you must put on your REALLY BRAVE FACE when you least feel like it. Like me now.

    Sending you all the love in the world. You’re such a doll and I just adore you!
    xo
    Melissa

  21. Melissa Travis says:

    Hello Donna!
    Thank you so much for your comment!! I am so proud of you and happy for your healing moment!

    It is a wonderful place isn’t it! Slowly- little by little – our stories DO heal each other. We understand each other. Yes – some of us need complex medical care (and others do not)- but we also need UNDERSTANDING AND COMPASSION. And we get it.

    Our stories and our sharing work. Our love WORKS. Our tears and our laughter WORK.
    And I am proud of you for being the CEO of your own body!
    You are brave and you are allowed to do it!
    Congratulations. Keep coming back -keep sharing.
    Cheers!
    Melissa

  22. Melissa Travis says:

    Hello Laura!
    Thank you so much for writing in my sweet! You are always a welcome commenter because you have kept me bolstered and sane in the biggest shit storms of my life. And I love to hear yours – because everyone here deserves to know that they too can be bolstered and sane through their own (if they are happening now – of if they happen later)!!!

    Once again – I want to break doctors into small pieces who give out bad information to patients. It doesn’t take that much work to pick up a fucking phone and CONFIRM that you need to come in or can do an in office removal of a tube. It just doesn’t. That is just lazy doctoring. Ugh. The only (sad but real) lesson there is that you learn to be a bigger self-advocate and say- “FUCK YOU AND YOURS DOC – CALL THE OTHER GUYS AND CONFIRM.” GRRRR.

    Oh honey- Yes yes yes yes – I too would have had a PTSD moment if the SAME inept radiologist were going to be placing yet another horrific thing inside me… omg – I’m so sorry. I am always and forever in awe of the capability that we have to buck up and deal with things. And how you have been able to reach out to me — and then I read your stories and I realize HOW AND WHY.

    And when I’ve been so down or afraid you’ve been able to reach out to me THIS IS WHY. You’ve built up the strength of so many warriors inside you. I’m struck by it. Absolutely gobsmacked.

    And yes– the calm in the storm — I’m not always there. But I have found these GIANT times when I want to throw a hissy fit- after the 20th needle poke and the nurses are about to cry and I want to and I just say, “You’re doing a great job- it’s shit luck and scarry veins, we can do this.”

    And I FEEL the nurses get bolstered. And I FEEL my heart open more. And I don’t KNOW where it comes from. And suddenly I realize that LIVING with a GIANT OPEN HEART is the ONLY WAY I can do this. Because any other way and I will collapse. I have no other way. It is the strength that you used to reach out and touch me when I was going slowly mad. And it bolstered me just enough to steady me.

    And now I can be funny about it… and hopefully I can pass it on. And someone who is freaking out can be steadied… and so it goes.

    Fucking adore you Laura. YOU ARE MY HERO.
    xo
    Melissa

  23. Melissa Travis says:

    Hello Michelle!
    Thank you for writing in! So good to hear from you!

    I will say this – I’ve heard all about the botox too- and read the results and they just aren’t looking as positive as I would like – especially if you have two fissures. (which by the way- I’m so sorry).

    YEOUCH! If you don’t have Crohn’s you have an 80% chance of a good healing up from the spincter surgery and even then – you’re still probably going to be better off than without it… I myself was totally resistant to it but do not have active Crohn’s in my poop-shoot area and I’m making infections so we’re doing it so I don’t go septic.

    I have to say- in this case – I’m terrified b/c it’s my sweet spot. When I’ve read about them online people who have had them tend to be satisfied with the results. But I’m a crankypants and don’t like to presume my results will be like those given on tv.

    ugh- difficult options. I’ll let you know how mine goes because I’m the most terrified. And if MINE goes well with a little black cloud over my head you can at least say you know someone on the Internet who had it done. *snicker

    Best of luck!! You and your thyroidless self are awesome!!! Keep writing in! Keep your pooper well!! Love hearing from you!
    xoxo
    Melissa

  24. The years 2006-2009 taught me so much about being my own advocate, more than I ever thought possible.

    We are superheroes together, Melissa!

    xoxo

  25. Hey Melly, I read this and wanted to make a comment first time round, but I’ve been so busy. I’m loving the way you engage with your readers and your great sense of humour. Your pic of your “bush” really had me in hysterics.

    It’s tough to keep sane sometimes when you are sick – sometimes we are faced with rude insurance companies, ignorant doctors and clueless friends. Luckily, there are also those gems of good doctors and supportive friends and despite the fact that I bitch about my insurance, I do count myself lucky that they have at least paid most of my bills. There will always be stuff that they put up a fight for, but they really have paid the majority and knowing the astronomical costs of healthcare in the US really puts it into perspective. I think people here in Germany have it quite good and often they don’t even realise it. Insurance is more affordable and generally it pays for more.

    As for being whiny – we all have the right to be whiny every now and again, but in terms of knowing whether there is truly something going on with your body – I think a lot of this is about gut instinct. I have often trusted my gut instinct and I’ve usually been right – not only about myself, but also about Corey, my fiancé.

    In terms of self-esteem. I went through years of low self-esteem, mostly because of the unsupportive comments of people around me. My diagnosis and my illness have taught and brought me a lot. I have learned that being the perfect weight is not the be all and end all, but rather it’s about being healthy! I seem to have stopped losing weight for now, but because my blood sugars and triglycerides have gone down, I am not so stressed about it because frankly that is what is most important. My illness has been a gift in that it has enabled to me to “get my revenge” if you will against people who put down others and attack their self-esteem because of how they look. Now I have found my own voice and am able to help others regain their self-esteem. Illness really does put a lot of stuff into perspective. I am still tough on myself and I still have my bad days, but I have learned a lot in these past few months and I try to take it to heart so that I am easier on myself and treat myself with more kindness. After all, if I don’t, nobody else will. Being assertive and learning about your illness also gives you the gift of self-esteem as it makes you feel more in control and more able to talk to doctors and actually be taken seriously.

    Hugs,

    Sarah

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