Mother would tell me over and over that I was so fortunate when I was down with food poisoning because she knew a man in her church who died from it. I didn’t doubt that it could kill a person because I certainly felt like I was buying the farm. She’d say, “He ate soft-serve ice cream from a dirty container. He was a big man and he died.” Now, she could add to it that so and so had an ulcer and it started bleeding. I shouldn’t have said anything to her.
The stress of the hospital situation wasn’t going away and my stomach wouldn’t get any better long-term unless I made some modifications to my eating. For the short term, I cut out drinking a Sundrop every day. I took a good look at other things I was doing that could rile my innards. I knew I needed to back off on the spicy foods. Even though I hadn’t been brought up using black pepper (Mother had it in the cabinet but rarely to never used it) I had developed a habit of liberally sprinkling it on the hospital food I was eating whenever they had something meatless. It is well-known as an irritant and, between discontinuing those few things and the medication, my stomach healed. Even though I went back to Sundrops and spicy foods, I pretty much left off the black pepper. What is it They say? Baby steps.
Before the administrator had cut out, the CFO had left for a job at the hospital on the other side of the mountain. She would call me and say I should come over and apply for a job there. It was a great place to work, the benefits were better, I’d make more money. I wasn’t really interested in leaving, though she pointed out there was more security where she was. Finally, I submitted an application and my resume. The opening was a step down to assistant business office manager but, when the time came for the interview and salary was discussed, I let it be known I wasn’t willing to leave for less money or even the same. I was informed they couldn’t meet my demands. Fine with me. I didn’t want to make the move, anyway. I went back to the day to day problems I was familiar with. The next I heard from my former boss was that the honeymoon was over. She wished she’d stayed and stuck it out. Too late now. Another CFO had been hired.
Fortunately the new person was pleasant to work with and understood the trials and tribulations associated with dealing with insurance companies. She was very supportive. I was glad I hadn’t gone anywhere.
After the administrator left, someone was sent in from one of the other corporate facilities. The buzz was that he’d been sent to close the hospital but I chose to ignore that and pray instead.
Time went on as it usually does and I wasn’t aware of a whole lot that was taking place that was different.
I went to my gynecologist for my annual exam and the pap smear came back abnormal. The office nurse called and scheduled me for a colposcopy. My sister says I’m a Pollyanna and this was no different. I couldn’t believe anything was wrong. The procedure, itself, was no big deal. After it was over, all I had to do was wait for the results from the pathologist. Once again, I was contacted. I was hoping for “everything’s okay” but that wasn’t the case. I was to have a LEEP. It could be done in the office under a local anesthetic. Didn’t sound too bad. I had some information on it and studied it thoroughly.
The day for my appointment came. I was draped and the doctor explained the procedure and told me what to expect. He put the pad on my leg to ground me so I wouldn’t get electrocuted. There was a nurse assisting and she kept close watch on me.
Doc took his position (the ladies will know what it is) and proceeded to numb the cervix. He assured me that there are few nerve endings in that area and I shouldn’t feel a thing. I had complete confidence in him and his skills so I was relaxed. After a few minutes, he said he was going to proceed. Okay. Do what you have to do. He inserted the instrument and started lasering the tip of my cervix. SHOULDN’T FEEL A THING?? HE HAD TO BE KIDDING!! I felt it like a hot knife cutting into my tender flesh and I automatically jumped. Alarmed, he told me I would have to be still. The nurse objected and said, “She’s feeling it!” He had her get another injection and started all over again. This time, it went as planned.
He showed me the small piece of tissue he’d excised and dropped it into into a specimen container. The nurse labeled it and I was given some instructions about what to do and not do. I wasn’t to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for X number of days and I might have some spotting. There would be minimal discomfort. If I started having a fever, intense pain, heavy bleeding, etc., etc., I was to call him immediately. He left the exam room and the nurse got me tissues and wipes so I could clean up. I dressed and left.
I had to go to the supermarket and buy groceries. I was careful not to get anything that was too heavy. I didn’t want to be a non-compliant patient. I got to the house and unloaded.
Mother, of course, was alarmed and agonized over the fact that I was going through this all alone. I assured her I would be okay and for her not to worry. If there had been an Olympics for worriers, she would have gotten the gold medal. It was like telling a glutton not to eat. It wasn’t going to happen.
When I got the results of the LEEP, they showed that the dysplasia was isolated and the doctor had gotten it all. However, I was to have one more colposcopy to make sure and then pap smears every three months for a year. After that, if everything came back negative, I could go to six months and eventually back to annual visits.
The Today Show and the evening news were full of the dangers of taking hormones. Estrace became difficult to find and the doctor had switched me to Prometrium. He made sure, first, that I wasn’t allergic to peanuts. If I had been, I would have died long before from all the boiled peanuts I ate.
The news had me thinking that maybe the hormones had had something to do with abnormal cells that had shown up so I talked to my doctor. He said that he felt the studies were incomplete and since I was on what he called a “dinky dose”, I shouldn’t be concerned. Besides, the Prometrium was derived from wild yams. That alone was a comfort.
The dangers of hormones kept niggling at my mind and I started looking into alternatives. I did some reading on how miraculous soy was and I figured I was eating quite a bit, anyway. I could eat more. I bought soy milk, soy nuts and canned soy beans. I liked tofu, anyway, so it wasn’t a stretch to include it in my diet, as well. My closet was already stocked with fake steak, phony baloney, and not chicken. The church schools were benefited every year by a sale of such at the university supermarket and I wasn’t shy about helping out. I was set.