So I haven't blogged regularly in a while and I know some people might find this blog and not have any idea what is going on. But I also know that most of you find my blog from my links on Facebook, and that means you're a friend, or at least a friendly acquaintance.
It is probably taboo to point this out, but guys, I know how many people view my posts. And I'm a little disturbed by the number of people who viewed my last post, in which I revealed I need to be tested for breast cancer, without commenting. I received no comments here, no comments on the Facebook post where I linked the blog post, and no private messages.
I know I posted a donation link. I don't care about that. I don't care if you can't donate. But like, talk to me. I'm going through some scary shit right now, and I need to know who is going to be there for me and who isn't. I realize talking to people about their breasts, especially talking to trans people about their breasts, is uncomfortable, but please say something to me. If I hear only silence, it feels pretty lonely.
With that out of the way, let me give you more info on what is going on.
I found this lump about three weeks ago, and was hoping I could wait until my MassHealth got straightened out before I saw anyone about it. 80% of lumps are benign, and lumps often come and go throughout the hormone cycle, so I figured it was something I could wait out. But after a few weeks, it hadn't changed. I could feel changes in the texture of the breast tissue around it - my breasts are lumpier now than they were a few weeks ago - but the lump itself persisted. I was finally pushed to go to the doctor when I had some unrelated but extremely uncomfortable medication side effects. At first they weren't going to let me see the doctor without paying $170 up front, which I didn't have. I started crying in the middle of the waiting room and said "I really need to see a doctor." The receptionist made some calls to the financial department, and they finally let me in. I am unclear on whether I will eventually receive a bill for the $170.
The doctor performed a breast exam and noted that my breasts are lumpy overall, but that this lump definitely felt different. She recommended I schedule an ultrasound right away - which I haven't done yet, because I'm still trying to figure out how to handle that financially. I plan to call MassHealth and tell them I need to be screened for cancer and see if that might speed the approval process or at least get me some temporary assistance. I also plan to contact the Women's Health Network and see if I can be evaluated for free.
The lump is hard, smooth, and oblong. It's a couple centimeters wide, and doesn't move. Based on the way it feels, I think it is either a benign fibroadenoma, which are common in my age group, or cancer. Obviously I'm hoping for the fibroadenoma. I don't have any other outward signs of cancer such as bleeding or skin changes.
What the ultrasound will determine is whether the lump is solid or fluid-filled. To me, it feels solid, which means there's a good chance I will need a biopsy to determine if it is cancer.
I was pretty calm about all this at first, but as time goes on and it doesn't go away or get any smaller, I'm getting pretty scared. I could use lots of emotional support right now.
I'll post updates here when I know more.
Friday, February 22, 2013
I'm having some pretty horrible medication side effects and can't think clearly, so I'm just going to copy-paste from my Tumblr to tell you what's going on.
Please help if you can, and please pass this along.
I’ve been really hesitant about asking for money, but I ultimately decided going without money will be more harmful to me than any backlash I may receive, so it can’t hurt to ask.Update as of today, Feb 22: I went to the doctor without insurance because I was experiencing really unpleasant neurological side effects from one of my medications. I also got the breast lump examined. The doctor ordered an ultrasound, blood tests, said to follow up in a week and see my psychiatrist next week also. I don't suppose I'll have insurance by next week, but I don't want to let this wait if it could be cancer. I feel like I'm having a nervous breakdown right now. My body has so many things wrong with it and I just want to be okay.
I am a disabled, queer trans person who is in the process of applying for food stamps and state health care. For the past few months I have been unable to work due to severe depression and anxiety. I also have a lump in my breast that needs to be evaluated and I strongly suspect that I have sleep apnea that needs treatment. I am planning to apply for disability to help me out in the long run, but that is a long process that often involves several appeals. My therapist would also like me to go into a DBT (type of therapy) day program for some period of time, which will also make it difficult to work.
So my current holistic treatment plan is as follows:
In the meantime, I need help affording my living expenses. My partner helps me somewhat, but he works retail and makes barely over minimum wage. Our lease runs out at the end of March and we need to afford rent and deposits for a new place in April, and a Uhaul. I also have to pay a small amount to keep my phone on, and pay other expenses related to having a car, such as insurance.
- continue with my weekly therapy and monthly psychiatry appointments, which costs gas and parking money + a fee
- continue with my currently prescribed medications, which cost $75 and $50 a month without insurance
- consult my doctor for referrals for a mammogram and sleep study
- attend at least three weeks of a DBT or other therapy day program
- continue on vitamins and omega-3s, which are not covered by insurance or food stamps
All of this adds up very quickly. I have set my GoFundMe goal at $800 for now, because I think that will at least get me over the hump until I have health insurance and food stamps in place. But what I’m really concerned about is helping my partner to pay rent. He cannot afford rent for himself, me, and his other partner all by himself (his other partner is also unable to work). These people are the only family I have, as all of the people who raised me have died and I have no siblings. I don’t want to burden my partner, and so I’m reaching out to people who might have some extra money they can throw my way. Any contributions would be greatly appreciated.
Please help if you can, and please pass this along.
Monday, February 4, 2013
6. You don't need allopathic medicine
I don't talk about this a lot, but my mother had schizophrenia. She had to take powerful antipsychotics in order to have any semblance of a normal life. I had relatives who would suggest that she didn't need to be medicated, and that in fact it was the medication itself that had caused her mental illness! But I've seen her off her meds, and she was simply not the same person. Haloperidol allowed her to connect with people and freed her from terrifying hallucinations and delusions. It allowed her to be my mother.
I've known people who needed allopathic medication to keep their hearts going, to manage their diabetes, even to digest food. There are people who can only stay alive because of CPAP machines, colostomies, or shunts. I'll try an herbal remedy if I have a cold or a headache, sure. But when I couldn't keep liquids down and was running a 104F fever that turned out to be caused by a kidney infection complicated by sepsis, you better believe I went to an ER for some antibiotics and a saline drip. I've seen people actively discourage friends from going to the hospital to get checked out when they had symptoms that could point to something life-threatening. That's dangerous and irresponsible.
7. You wouldn't be ill if you went on x diet
If a person asks for suggestions on how to manage their illness, it's perfectly fine to mention that you've heard a specific diet might help. But I've seen people claim that if a person refuses to go on a raw-vegan or gluten-free diet, they are to blame for being sick and deserve no sympathy. As heartless and rude as this is, it's also factually questionable. If anyone had found a 100% effective, works-for-everyone cure for diabetes or cancer, they'd have a Nobel Prize. I know not every treatment option has been empirically studied and that "big pharma" exerts some influence over this, and I'm willing to accept that there are "alternative" treatments out there that could bring people some needed relief. But when people start blaming the victim for being sick in the first place, I stop listening.