Category Archives: Ponderings

Keep Calm and Carry On

Not even sure where to begin with this post. And truthfully, I don’t even know if it is something I should post. Well, at least not yet. With the exception of one person, it’s not something I’ve told my surnamed family about. I’m not really sure why I haven’t, aside that I feel that I think it might hurt my parents.

Twelve years ago, way back in October 2008, I wrote about being adopted. Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait….

Done reading it? Good. On with this story.

Back in January 2018, I sent in a DNA sample to 23andMe. The Husbear bought me one of those kits as a Christmas present. He knew the adoption question was something that was weighing on my mind again. I was going to be 45, and I had started having some medical issues present themselves that weren’t typical “wear and tear”. I was hoping to find a connection from the results, but alas, no such luck. The closest relations were all 3rd to 4th cousins, which is pretty much the equivalent of my relationship with you.

So in May 2018, I sent in a second DNA test through AncestryDNA. I figured the shotgun approach might work since most people only do one service or the other. And again, the closest relations were 3rd cousins or more out. I’m pretty sure I’m closer to bacon than I am them.

I was disheartened, but I figured that was probably how it was going to be. My brain assumed that anyone who gave up an infant through a service that sealed the adoption more than likely wouldn’t be out there providing their DNA to be matched.

I’d check back in periodically to see if any closer relationships surfaced, usually after the holidays when those kits seem to go on sale and people give them as gifts. But still no luck.

Until March 23rd of this year.

I received a message notification through one of the two services (AncestryDNA to be specific) from someone who showed up as “Close or 1st Cousins”. He shared a story that his mother had recently shared about giving up a son for adoption when she was a teenager. After multiple back and forth questions and answers relayed through him with his mother, we validated that his mother was in fact my bio-mother. (I know one or two of you read that in the Maury voice, didn’t you?)

My email address was passed on to my bio-mom, and we began to communicate. More of the same questions essentially, and some basic history about each of us. I’m not sure that either of us really knew how to begin or what to say. I was happy she was willing to communicate. Having read/heard many adoption stories, it was something for which I was prepared to not happen.

We have been in relatively (no pun intended) constant communication since that time, learning about each other, and me about my maternal side of the family. Medical history has been a little, well, lacking. Lacking may not be the right word. There’s not been any real medical issues that run in that side of the family that have been communicated so far. So there’s that at least.

One of the other surprises was discovering I have 5 half-siblings on my maternal side, 3 sisters and 2 brothers. I’m in fairly constant contact with two of the sisters and one of the brothers. The two sisters each reached out to me after the initial contact with my bio-mom. They had been made aware previously about the adoption. We seemed to click rather quickly (in my view at least). There’s definitely a separated-at-birth vibe going on between us. A plethora of interests, talents, quirks, and the like. As for the other sister and brother, contact hasn’t been made at this point.

As for my mental state about this entire chapter, I’ve actually been… well collected. Much to the surprise of people around me. I think even the Husbear is surprised. Don’t get me wrong, I was anxious and am excited. But I don’t know if it’s all because it’s something I have mentally been processing most of my life, going through so many variables that nothing really would have surprised me? Or if the medication I’m currently on for other issues has helped me maintain an even keel (* I’ll be posting about that at some further date. That’s what we do now when we’re less young, right?).

I just know I’m happy this chapter opened and has proceeded the way it has thus far. And for the dumpster fire that 2020 has been, this–for me–more than makes up for it.

Until next time...
Erik

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect…

Howdy there.

It’s been a lonnnnnnnnng while since I’ve posted any “real” content. Since roughly June 2018 actually. Everything since then has just been cross-posted photos from my Instagram account. There’s been a lot of personal events that have occurred, beginning with that date, some of which a select few (former?… I know a few people still stop by here on occasion) readers are aware of via other outlets. I’m working through getting those moments down now, as well as just life in general.

I’m not sure how consistent I’ll be with blogging, but I’m going to give it a go again. So here goes something.

Until next time...
Erik

Update on hospital stay…

For those who asked about what was going on with me being in hospital last week, I share with you this:

Tuesday morning early, I had several dizzy spells that were accompanied by auditory hallucinations (it sounded like a chorus singing) followed by me passing out and then coming to followed by periods of confusion, or staring off into nothingness unaware of my surroundings and the passage of time.

I had Robert take me to the ER, where they immediately began checking me for a stroke: a CT scan, lumbar puncture (x3!), a plethora of blood work, and an EKG mostly ruled out strokes and other vascular problems. But I continued to have passing out/lost in space episodes. So they admit me to the hospital at that point for monitoring and further testing.

Wednesday has me having multiple MRIs and a heart ultrasound, which also confirm no cardiac or vascular issues. But I continue to have episodes. They order a brief EEG test, and then bring in a neurologist. They think I am having some type of seizure based on everything up to that point. They start me on anti-seizure medication (Levetiracetam) and the seizures lessen but didn’t stop.

Thursday morning they increase the dosage of the anti-seizure medication to 1000mg twice a day, and the episodes finally stop. A 24-hour continuous EEG was started at 6pm Thursday night to capture brain events. Which turns into a 40-hour EEG after some strangeness was recorded.

I was finally discharged Saturday afternoon, and am now waiting on a follow-up appointment with a neurologist to go over the results of the EEG and determine what path to go down next.

Until next time...
Erik

Updates

Good news, I guess?

They’ve ruled out the Polycythemia vera, in at least as far as I don’t have the gene mutation. It’s still a 10% possibility, but they don’t want to do the bone marrow extraction yet. They are now testing for other things it could be that are way more rare.

They still don’t know what is causing any of this blood thickening, which is a concern because it means I have a stupid high chance of having a stroke or clot. Especially in combo with the high blood pressure. And none of the medication has been bringing my blood pressure down at all. It was extremely high today.

The two red blood cell numbers that were high all this time came down a little after the last pint of blood removed, so they did another pint blood draw again and will see how that compares at the next appointment.

Until next time...
Erik

Happenings and such

Hello… world! It’s been a long time since I did a legitimate post here. A lot has been happening in that time. This post is more for me in the sense of I’m just trying to record what’s been going on, but also makes it easier to just point family members here so I’m not having to tell the story a hundred times.

That said, here we go…

I ended up in hospital yesterday. I woke up feeling dizzy, and almost passed out when I got out of bed. Sat down for a bit and it seemed to subside. Went to get ready for work, and had a difficult time of doing so. More dizziness. Confusion. I texted the Husbear (who was at the gym) and told him I didn’t feel right, and that I was going to lay back down for a bit. He scurried home and made me call my nephrologist to ask what I should do.

Nephrologist? Yeah… kidney doctor. And I guess I’m telling this story out of order.

In June of last year, I was wandering around Sam’s Club. They have one of those blood pressure machines there, so on a whim I sat down to take mine. It was so high that the pharmacist came out to check on me. Maybe they have an alarm in there or something, I don’t know. He recommended I should go to my doctor right away and see what’s going on. I had noticed my blood pressure had been somewhat elevated other times I’ve used similar machines in various places, but always assumed it was because I was walking around and frustrated by being in a store and having to deal with people.

So I made an appointment with my primary care physician, and lab work was done. Super high blood pressure! He put me on Lisinopril 10mg and Atorvastatin 10mg to decrease both my blood pressure and my cholesterol levels. But something else was also off in my labs, so he referred me to a nephrologist for further testing. /joy

It took a couple of months to get in to the nephrologist, and over the next month a lot more lab work was done. She finally determined I have chronic kidney disease. Stage 3b. Drastic diet change to help slow the eventual decline. No more potatoes, tomatoes, citrus, bananas, or raisins. As little sodium as possible. No more red meat. Pretty much every one of those was my primary food groups. I guess the bonus is it’s helped me lose some weight. She also upped my Lisinopril dosage to 20mg.

I’ve been keeping up with my blood pressure at home thanks to a BP cuff that syncs with an app on my phone. The readings never really came down much, and I figured I’d follow up with my PCP at my next exam.

Fast forward to my one-year checkup with the nephrologist a couple of weeks ago. Well, a new nephrologist, as the other moved away. More labs. She was reviewing my labs historically and found something… new. Which she wanted to do more labs for. And which in part might explain why the blood pressure medications I’m taking aren’t doing the job at all. For which she referred me to an oncologist.

And back to the start of the story.

While waiting for a callback from my nephrologist, things got a little worse for me. So the Husbear took me to the ER. More labs, and they confirmed what my nephrologist also suspected. Something called polycythemia vera (more info on it here). Basically, I have to many red blood cells which makes my blood thick. Which in turn messes with my blood pressure. It also explains a lot of the random things I’ve been noticing going on with my body over the last year:
Tiredness (fatigue)
Sweating (at night)
Blurred vision
Early feeling of fullness when eating
Pain under the left ribs
Problems concentrating
Dizziness, vertigo, lightheadedness
Insomnia
Reddening of the face
Ringing in the ears

Add to that the depression and anxiety I’ve been experiencing since this all started a year ago, and other issues that occurred midway through this year, and I’m sure it has all done wonders for my blood pressure anyway.

I received a call from the oncologist office today, and I go in December 21st. To talk, probably more labs, and start whatever treatment they advise. From what the ER doctor said, and what I read online, seems to consists of regular blood letting. Fun times!

And that’s what’s been happening. I’m dealing with it, working on at least maintaining where I am with the kidneys, and getting everything else as “better” as it can be.

Until next time...
Erik

12 of 12, November 2018 edition

The 12 of 12 Challenge was created by Chad Darnell and picked up by a number of random bloggers who linked back to him and vice versa. Chad stopped doing the 12 of 12 Challenge in December 2011, but passed the torch to someone who hasn’t kept up with it. I am giving my shout-out to Blobby of Blobby’s Blog as he is the one who initially inspired me to do the Challenge, and he still does it as well.

This is my 83rd “12 of 12.” A Monday. My Sunday. And I’m a few days late getting around to posting this. And I somehow ended up 2 pictures short this month. Fail.


12:37 AM: I am not a gamer in any sense of the word, but my bestest buddy Patrick started me playing Red Dead Redemption 2 a day ago, and I have to say, I love it. Mostly because it’s a fairly open world, and you can wander around and do whatever you want for the most part.
12:07 PM: Working on some paperwork for the businesses. It never ends.
1:11 PM: Post-shower selfie. Because monitoring progress over time is good, right? Not that I’m actually doing anything.
2:09 PM: A monetary break from one game to try out another a friend has. An old one. Bioshock. I like it just for the Art Deco design.
4:07 PM: Monday Beveraging. One of my local hangouts: JJ’s!
5:06 PM: Some of my peeps.
6:32 PM: Meowingtonne pre-warming. It’s cold today. 18 degrees!
7:10 PM: Venue change. Monday night pool league. I don’t play, but all my buddies do.
8:09 PM: HQ!
8:57 PM: Another bathroom selfie. And yes, I dressed myself today.

Until next time...
Erik