Friday, February 1, 2013

And We're Back!

Did ya miss me?  I've missed you.  There have been so many times when something has happened and I've formed a blog post in my head, thinking "Oh, they're gonna love this!"  But I just didn't feel like it was the right time to start back up.

I think it's the right time now.  Got your coffee or wine (depending on what time of day you're sitting down to read this)?

Here we go!

My Job:

When we last spoke, I had been laid off from the commercial real estate company (thank gawd) and was starting to play the role of Domestic Goddess.  It was then I decided to stop blogging, as I thought that it might be a bad idea while trying to find a job.  Everyone googles everyone now, and I was enjoying not working a little too much.

But then funds started to get a little tight and the lack of health insurance was starting to weigh on us, so in July I signed up for Volt, a temp agency, and got a few gigs.  Starbucks Corporate was the first job.  And it was awesome.  Free lattes EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I got pretty good at making my own.  Only scalded myself once!

The team I worked for was great, the environment was great, the commute was great.  My manager tried very hard to get me hired on permanently, but after two different interviews, and being denied for both of them, it was apparent that Starbucks was not as fond of me as my manager was.  She told me they were tough in interviews and it took her two years of interviewing to get hired on.

Um.  Two years?  Really?

I like Starbucks and all, but I don't have two years to prove to these people I want to work here and I know how to manage calendars.

While the Starbucks interviews were going on, my friend Amy started in again about trying to get into the Gates Foundation, where she works.  It was wonderful, she said.  They're so great, she said.  I read the job descriptions and was just kind of "eh" about it.  The Foundation does wonderful work, but it just didn't sound like an environment I would enjoy. 

But then a job came up on on her team and she was not taking no for an answer, so I submitted my resume and had a couple of phone interviews.  And I got really excited about the job.  Really excited.

I was called in for an in-person interview and it looked pretty solid.  Everyone loved me, they were impressed that I wasn't nervous, I had the right skill set.  We'll let you know.

In the meantime, I'd take a temp job at PATH, which does the same kind of work as the Foundation.  But PATH was quiet, and somber and oy.  I was only there for two weeks, filling in until the permanent assistant was to start, but one of my co-workers had already talked to HR and said he really wanted me hired on to the team.

During that time, I heard that I was not selected for the position on Amy's team at the Foundation.  And I was quite disappointed, as was Amy.  But she vowed that she would get me hired on and by golly, she started talking to people.  As it happened, one of her good friend (we'll call her KF) was hiring an Administrative Assistant for her team.  BINGO!

Amy told KF about me, we talked on the phone, she brought me in for an interview and a day later, the recruiter at the Foundation called to say they were going to offer me the position.  Two days later the paperwork came in the mail, I talked to the recruiter and went over everything, she told me how much I'd get paid, I said "Oh hell yeah!" and BAM.  I had a new job.

And I had three weeks off in between jobs.  Bonus!

I started on November 12.

And I am very, very happy.

My Health:

Since most of your are my friends on Facebook, you're in the know about my stupid liver.  But since this is a blog and not a status update, I'll give you some more background.

On October 27th, Todd and I went next door to our neighbors' annual Halloween party (and I'm not blaming them for the liver stuff - just so you know).  I had two glasses of wine while we were there, about three or four hours.  We left there and met up with a couple of friends at Shadowland, a bar in the Junction.  I had two jack-n-cokes.  In about an hour and a half.  Then we bar hopped with some people, went to another place, where I had another drink, and then after about an hour, the four of us went back to the house where I had one last glass of wine.  That I don't think I even finished.

I woke up the next morning itching from head to toe.  And to give you more detail than you'd probably like (but if you're reading this, you know there's no such thing as TMI here), my urine was extremely concentrated.  Much like it is after you have six drinks the night before.

While I wasn't really hungover, I pounded the water like a good little drunk does and showered and changed my clothes, thinking the itching was something I had gotten into the night before.

It's not unheard of.  I could tell you stories.

A week went by and the itching didn't let up, and the pee was still dark.  I continued to live my life (i.e. drink) thinking it was an external thing.  Then, on November 9, I noticed that my eyes were yellow.  And my skin looked a little yellow.  And being the smart girl that I am, I thought "Okay, kidney's aren't filtering, toxins aren't filtering, toxins are coming to the skin and making me yellow, which is probably what the itching is about."

So I went into the urgent care clinic on that Saturday and got some blood drawn.

On Monday the 12th, my very first day of my brand new job, my doctor called me to tell me that my liver enzymes were off the charts, my billirubin was off the charts and she wanted to do a host of hepatitis tests.

Did I mention that my health insurance kicked in on the very first day of my job?


So I immediately made a doctor's appointment with my primary guy, and went in for tons of tests.  All said the same thing - liver enzymes off the charts.  My primary guy referred me to a liver specialist.  Actually, my primary guy called the liver specialist and made an appointment for me and told me "Go see him now."  Which freaked me out a bit.

I had numerous vials of blood drawn from my body to test for every hepatitis under the sun.  I was also sent in for an abdominal scan, as they were thinking it was maybe gallstones or a blockage of somesort.  My primary doc actually said "If you were elderly, I would consider pancreatic cancer, but you're only 37". 

Ha!  I reminded him that my husband's late wife died of a cancer that usually affects older men...and she was in her mid 30's.  So that wasn't really a comfort.

But the ab scan didn't show anything abnormal anywhere.  Liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidney...everything looked fine.  And all of the hepatitis tests were all negative. 

And yes, I asked several times, what about alcohol damage?  Cause, really?  That seems about right.  Doc said nope, alcohol damage presents in certain patterns in blood tests and this is absolutely not alcohol damage.

However, my liver specialist, Dr. D, reiterated "No alcohol."  Wha...?  At all?!

"Come on!  It's Thanksgiving!"


"But our Christmas party is this Saturday!!"


He's a hardass, that one.

In early December, Dr. D started me on prednisone, and that did some good.  So much good, in fact, that on my December 21st appointment, when I asked once again "Wine?  Can I please have a glass of wine?!  New Year's is coming up!!" he replied, "Okay.  One glass of champagne on New Year's eve.  And because I like you, one glass of wine on Christmas."


He also started weaning me off the prednisone, in hopes that my levels would stay down and all would be dandy.

So I had my one glass of wine at our Bellingham Christmas gathering, but then completely blew the shit out of the water and had a glass of wine, two pints of hard cider and a sip of champagne on New Year's. 

At my next doctor's appointment, my levels were elevated.

Could have been the alcohol, could have been the weaning of the prednisone.  We'll never know, really.  Let's not dwell.

So, back to absolutely no alcohol.

After all the testing, and working with the prednisone, Dr. D has officially declared this autoimmune hepatitis (did you know that hepatitis just means "sick liver" really?  Funny how that word freaks people out - like I'm contagious). 

At this time, I am still on the prednisone (until the most recent blood panel comes back) as well as azathioprine, which suppresses the immune system and is usually prescribed for organ transplant patients.

Yee haw.

The combination of the prednisone, the attacking immune system, the ill functioning liver and the immunosuppressant makes me very tired.  And that's saying a lot.  You thought I could sleep before?  Boy howdy, I'm good for about four days, and then I need a three day nap. 

There's also the anger and the weight gain.  Good times, I tell ya.  What the hell good is giving up wine if I'm just going to gain weight because the prednisone makes me hungry CONSTANTLY?  There's no winning here.  Really.

I'm all about "there's a reason for everything".  Granted, this isn't a terminal disease or any great life threatening thing - my immune system is pissed off - but it still makes me a Sick Person and it still makes me re-evaluate things in life.  Maybe that's the purpose?

We can talk more about that later.

Anywho - let's move on.

My Family:

My family is good.  Todd is good and still juggling five project while thinking of 10 more.  Kayleigh turned 15 in September and is a Sophomore in high school.  She still plays guitar and has even taught herself to play piano, which is just awesome.  We started up Guitar Night again, so she's major contribution now.

Tyler turned 18 in May and now has his GED and took some courses at South Seattle Community College before realizing he's just not ready for this grown up shit.  And really, when you think about his "childhood" years, there really was no childhood.  He, and Kayleigh, were both made to grow up pretty quickly and they missed a lot of crucial kid stuff.  So Tyler is catching up and growing into himself.  Much to the delight of me and Todd.

And the cats are just awesome.  Of course. 

So!  I think we're all caught up on the major developments over the last year.  Shall we get back to quick posts about our weekend, our glamorous social life, and how much I hate traffic?


Cousin Kristin said...

I love you :) And I'm so happy you're blogging again! Whew!

The sorta blonde one said...

Medical Latin, so obnoxious. The worst is dermatology. Once I was diagnosed with "red nodules". The other time with "inflammation in a ring". Really, I could have told them that without a doctor translating it into something fancy-sounding...
And just so you aren't left hanging: in both cases, cause unknown, treatment = steroids. Again...really?
Hugs, sympathy, and shared eye-rolling!