Health Concerns

So once again, it has been a while since I last posted.  I’ve thought about sitting down and writing up a post for a while, but I wanted to wait until some things got figured out first.  A few weeks ago I got a really bad upper respiratory infection that lasted two weeks before the symptoms really started to fade.  At this point I just have a little bit of a cough left and a little pain in my chest/back, but all else has passed.  The pain is supposedly from coughing so much for those two weeks, but with how much my cough has died down, I would have expected that to pass by now.  It’s mostly if I move a certain way or put pressure on certain spots that I feel the pain, instead of the general soreness that I had for most of the time I was sick.  I almost wonder if I pulled something or some other unusual thing happened because of the cough since it became a sharp pain during the second week of the infection.  Regardless, the pain is starting to go away as well, just very slowly.  Anyway, the point of this is I was sick and it wasn’t getting any better for a while there.  They took chest x-rays to make sure it wasn’t turning into pneumonia, twice actually.  After the first set of x-rays the doctor told me that I had a viral upper respiratory infection and that it also looked like I might have asthma, so I answered a bunch of questions related to that.  After the second set, a few days later taken at a different location than the first set since those guys were at lunch at the time, the doctor told me that the radiologist noted an area of one of my lungs that looked like it might have some scarring.  At that point he referred me to a pulmonologist and I set an appointment for three weeks later, giving me time to finish getting over the infection before they took a look at my lungs again.

If this was scarring, there were several things it could have been, some of which were very scary possibilities.  I figured with two different sets of x-rays by reviewed by two different radiologists coming back saying there was probably something going on, hoping for it to be absolutely nothing wasn’t very likely.  I did hope that the first radiologist was right and it was just asthma and nothing else.  Asthma I could deal with, get a prescription for an inhaler, use it before working out as I’ve seen others at my gym do… probably improve my workouts since I’d have better oxygen intake during them.  If this was what had been going on and why I have never been able to learn how to control my breathing when running and always felt that my chest was so restricted at the time (something I used to blame on sports bras and would tell myself everybody that has to wear them feels this), then discovering the true cause and correctly addressing the issue could only be beneficial.  However, I also prepared myself for the idea that it could be a more serious chronic condition, just in case.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as they say.

So, Monday I went to pulmonary and did lung function tests, answered questions about difficulty I have controlling my breathing and feeling like I can’t get enough air during cardio workouts, such as running, as well as my tendency to have a lingering cough for much of the day after any running that is much more than a mile.  He diagnosed me with exercise induced asthma on the spot.  He also ordered a CT scan to take a look at what the radiologist thought was possible scarring in my lungs.  He told me he’d give me a call after he got to take a look at it and let me know if he saw any scarring or not.  I expected the call to come later this week, but it came later that night, much faster than I thought it would.  Good news, he didn’t see any scarring in the CT scan.  He did however see something that he referred to as “ground glass”, though I don’t really know what that is.  I Googled it after I got off the phone with him and found two different things, ground glass opacity and ground glass nodules.  I don’t know if they are the same thing, related, or completely different from one another.  He told me that it was something that happens sometimes when people get pneumonia, which my general practitioner didn’t think it had become judging on the x-rays, but I was really sick for two whole weeks, so it’s possible that it had progressed into pneumonia at some point and wasn’t caught for some reason.  The pulmonologist said that usually this is something that heals on its own and will go away, but that I need to go back for another CT scan in three months.  If it doesn’t seem to be going away at that point, we’ll have to look into it more as it may be a sign of something else going on.

So three more months of hoping for the best – that it was just because I was really sick and that it’ll go away.  I stopped trying to figure out what ground glass means or looking at other things associated with the term “ground glass” in regards to lungs because I am trying not to let myself freak out for the next three months.  Three months is too long of a time to be in that worried state of mind, three weeks was bad enough before.  There are few things more stressful to me than not knowing something.  Even if things are worst case scenario, knowing that is better than wondering what is going on.  Once I know, I can figure out the best course of action and properly address the issue.  Not knowing… well I can’t do anything then, I just sit there powerlessly waiting as my imagination runs wild with the morbid possibilities.  So yeah, three months is too long to let that happen, so doing my best to force myself to assume it is just because I was really sick and in three months I’ll find that has gone away or is at least in the process of going away.  I won’t let myself look into what the worst case scenario is.

One thing I do wonder about, however, is my plans to begin T as soon as I leave this job (actually was thinking about a little before I leave the job but close enough to the end that there shouldn’t be any noticeable changes before I leave).  The problem is that my contract isn’t technically up immediately after my last day in the office, I’ll just be essentially taking vacation days at the end.  The hospital I’ll be going to for the follow up CT scan is the same one where I got the originals taken, and this hospital is connected to my line of work.  By that point if I start hormone therapy when I was hoping to, I’d be two months into it, so there may be changes that the pulmonologist might notice.  I almost feel as if I should wait until after this second CT scan to start, delaying what I’ve been waiting so long for some more.  I guess there’s not really anything they could do about it by that point, all my paperwork to leave will have been finished and processed by that point, even though there would still be a short amount of time left on my contract.  There’s another concern about this subject bouncing around my head though – if there is something more serious going on, could taking T potentially have a negative affect on this, or interfere with what the doctor thinks he sees going on?  I can’t really say how it would affect things without researching what the possible outcomes of the CT scan might be, and then we’re messing up my whole assume the best case scenario plan I have going right now.  As much as I hate the idea of putting this off another couple of months, perhaps it’s best if I wait to see how this plays out before I get going with my transition plans.  It’s just a couple extra months, and after almost two years (that’s about how long ago it was that I came out to friends and family) of waiting, what’s another couple months, right?  Maybe I’m being overly cautious, too, I don’t know, but better to err on the side of caution, I guess.  If there wasn’t a ban on trans individuals in my line of work, then I could just outright ask the doctor these questions without fear of the consequences.

In other news, school is going really well.  My first semester back should end up with a pretty high GPA, maybe even a 4.0 if I keep things going.  Next semester will be so much easier since I won’t be trying to balance school with work.  I’m going to have more free time than I know what to do with.  It’ll be nice to have time and energy again, to take on more of the stuff around the apartment as August’s schedule gets busier.  Going to try to learn how to be a better cook, which I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as August.  However, if I can get better and more confident in my cooking ability, I can do more of the cooking for us since my school schedule will have my afternoon and evenings a lot more free than they have been in a long time and I’m sure as August finds a job he’ll be coming home later and be feeling more exhausted throughout the week, so might like to not have to worry about preparing meals as much.  Despite the stuff I wrote above about my health, things are going well right now as stuff starts to change for the better and my life is moving forward.  Having my freedom back is just around the corner, and I’m really looking forward to it.

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