It figures

“Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face” – Alanis Morissette, Ironic

I think everyone gets songs stuck in their head sometimes. I believe sometimes the song is supposed to point you to, mean or warn you of something. At other times I think God is just playing the most annoying song game and you are it.

If you have never played the most annoying song game, you must try it with family, friends and co-workers. Before you just run out flailing your arms spouting off song titles, stop and consider strategy. You must develop your arsenal of either horrible or catchy songs and they must be songs that the general public will readily recognize and flinch when they hear it. Not to offend anyone, but some of the most powerful ones in my arsenal are; “Mickey” by Toni Basil, “Barbie” by Aqua, and “Dancing Queen” by Abba. You see, you already hate me!

You must consider your target’s preferred genre. You can’t throw out a dance song to a person that loves country music, unless perhaps you can use “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex. What you don’t want to happen is to get pawned at a game you started. You can play this game without anyone catching on for a while if you are really good. Walk past someone humming one of your chosen songs. If the song is good and they are paying attention, you will find them sometime later cursing either you or the fact they can’t get the song out of their head and they don’t know where it came from! In the infamous words of Charlie Sheen, “Winning!”.

This song came to mind this evening while we were watching an ABC “News” program about one spouse murdering another. I’ve always told my Husband “To his death do we part”, so one must do the research. Anyhoo, this spouse either gave the other spouse ethyl glycol to poison them or took it themselves to make the other spouse pay. Kill yourself, that’ll teach them!

We had a wonderful dog that died because of ethyl glycol poisoning. She just gave the dried spot of anti-freeze in a neighboring lot a lick or two and her life was short from there. It is a quite painful death that we did not allow her to have, but the result is the same in the end and a story for another time. From my understanding ethyl glycol moves through your system very quickly and basically crystallizes your internal organs. The kidneys shutting down quickly and a horrible death follows.

I had gallstones back in 1994 or 95. Time passes quickly and I can’t always keep up. I had a few episodes of acute attacks and decided the gall bladder and I needed to part ways. It seemed to me it was trying to leave anyway. When you get to the emergency room at 2:30 am, one of the first things they ask you is “Can you rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10?” I always reserve 10 for childbirth, so I could never rate pain at a 10. I’ve never had a child, but logistically, I have seen a newborn and am familiar with the area they push and tear their way through and that’s gotta hurt to an 11.

In triage they also ask the location of the pain and what it feels like. In this short experience in writing the blog, people have commented on my descriptive nature. Imagine having me in the room telling you about my pain. My gall bladder pain presented as if I was in the movie “Alien” when the damned thing comes out of Kane’s chest like a Jack-in-a-box from hell. That usually either got me stares or “Wait here, I’ll get you a room”. Apparently the calcium crystals formed stones and were blocking my duct on a whim. Well, we got rid of that problem pretty quick, but found a bigger one.

My lymph nodes in my chest cavity were swollen when I had my pre-op chest x-ray. There were several differential diagnoses listed when the report came back such as Castles’ Disease, Hodgkin’s Disease, and Sarcoidosis. My maternal Grandfather had died of Hodgkin’s Disease before my parents were married. The other two I had never heard of before. The plan was to remove a lymph node from my groin area and do a biopsy.

That was the most fun surgery I have ever experienced. I was awake and the surgeon allowed me to bring in a thunderstorm CD (thunderstorms relax me) and a chime ball I could roll between my hands. I think those really helped me relax and the Demerol/Vistral shot in the rump was pretty sweet as well. We talked through the procedure and the nurses kept feeling my toes and saying I was the most relaxed person they had ever seen. The tufts of smoke from the cauterizing scalpel amused me and when I asked to see my lymph node, it looked like a piece of stew meat! That made me giggle until the drug wore off. Then I hurt.

The biopsy came back as Sarcoidosis. So, being me, I went to the hospital library and looked it up. At the time, I wished I had cancer. “Sarc” as we “Sarkies” like to call it, is systemic, but can effect any organ/system at any time if feels like it. Basically, the body is paranoid and sees enemies everywhere and rallies the troops (helper T cells) until they form giant cells and literally change the architecture of organs by crystallizing.

Ninety percent of people diagnosed with Sarcoidosis have it in their lymph nodes and lungs. It effects my lungs, lymph nodes, skin, kidneys (hypercaluria causing kidney stones), and more than likely, but unconfirmed, nervous system. Treatment options for Sarcoid are usually Steroids or Methotrexate, both immune system lowering medicaitons. I was on steroids for several years, but when I was planning my wedding, I didn’t want the “balloon face” I had been developing and switched to Methotrexate. I have been on that since 2004.

Some lucky people will spontaneously go into remission. Not me. We have tried to lower medication a couple of times, but it really wants to stay with me. The prognosis for survival with sarcoid has been reported at about 20 years post-diagnosis. My 20 years will come around in 2015. I want to have a big party then as a celebration of beating the odds.

If you haven’t noticed there was a word that appeared throughout this post. I’ll wait while you find it.

My Mom tells me that when she was pregnant with me, they went back and forth over what to name me. She wanted to name me Cindy Lou or something like that and my Dad wanted to name me Tokana. Yeah, I don’t really see a compromise there either. I was probably rolling in my embryonic fluids listening to those discussions. So, at the baby shower, a hat was passed around for suggestions on what to name me. The slip of paper Mom pulled out was Crystal. They liked it and gave it to me. It was pretty unusual when I was younger and you would never find it on bracelets, tags or other jewelry. Then one day, I was taken aback my women calling my name in stores and finding them yelling at small girls. Hmmm. Then, it seemed like every time Jerry Springer had a hooker or stripper on her name was, you guessed it, Crystal.

Well, I just figured out how ironic is was that some mysterious person would pick the name Crystal and that is what this disease does to my body, crystallize it.¬† “Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you….”

Say goodnight Gracie.


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