Summer Cruise Ship on the Puget Sound

Hey y’all, what’s happening?

OK, I am not sure what I’m doing here with this little ol’ website of mine. Obviously, I haven’t written much the past year. I was planning on getting back into photography and at least blogging photographs and such, but then as with the past two or three years always in the month of January, I have fallen ill. This year, though, it wasn’t just a cold or bronchitis. This year, I felt like I was hit by truck. And then, that truck backed up and goddamn hit me again.

Motherfuckin’ trucks, man. They’re bitches.

So, I have decisions to make about the direction of this website.

But first, let’s have a quick-ish recap of 2016 to date.

Uh, I’ve been sick. I have been writing my novel. Not doing too shabby on that point considering how I have been feeling. And uh… have I mentioned I was sick?

2016: banner year thus far, people!

I have seen various doctors at various locations. Yes, I like to have my bases covered and spend wads of money on medical bills. So ya know, I decided to visit Urgent Care, the ER, my primary doc three times as well as take a little jaunt to have my belly scanned. It’s been fun times being poked, prodded, and looking into a doctor’s eyes to hopefully see an “Aha! I know what’s causing this!” moment. But alas, all I have seen are looks of puzzlement and a shrug of the shoulders along with “medical” guesses.

*Sidenote: I’d hate to be a doctor dealing with a patient such as myself. Much props to you guys.

I have had various diagnoses throughout this time from costrochondritis for the odd chest burning sensations I had for a while (um… OK sure, I was working out more) to gastroenteritis (what you commoners call the stomach flu that really isn’t the flu, but sure, I felt super crappy for a week) to a possible ulcer (highly likely given my history and family history of ulcers) to possible gallstones (sure, why not?) to increased lactose intolerance (I’m 1/2 Asian – no surprise there and high lactose foods were and still are causing more ummm… discomfort).

I worried and waited for a week while my insurance wanted “more information” to grant me prior authorization for a CT scan. FYI, I would have happily paid the total $250 for that scan. My insurance made it seem like it was a gazillion dollars. “Let’s make sure you need this…” *groan*

Anyway, it was approved through insurance. In preparation for the scan, I drank two huge bottles of an awful mocha cappuccino flavored barium drink that exited my body just as pleasantly as I gagged it down. They were out of vanilla. Would that have been more tasty as the receptionist suggested (“good choice”) before telling me they were out? I will never know.

After my delicious drink, I went in for the scan. I walked the hallway wearing nothing but my underwear and a hospital gown while rocking a pair of brown, slightly combat-ish boots. The lovely lady who prepped and performed my scan escorted me to the room while checking that I wasn’t flashing my backside to the construction workers roaming the hallways. Meh, what do I care? Modesty wasn’t out the window at this point. I would have walked around naked if it meant we found out what was going on with my stomach.

By the way, the intravenous dye makes you feel all warm and tingly for like two minutes before dissipating. It’s the oddest sensation. But if you ever need to do this, hopefully your scan technician, as mine did, also warns you that you will feel as if you pissed yourself. And indeed, you do.

The scan was over in a jiff. I then worried and waited a few more days for the results while my brain conjured up all the worst case scenarios that would bring forth my imminent demise.

I stressed myself out big time.

I stressed out my husband.

I stressed out my puppies.

CT scan came back normal.

Whaaa? Yay! SUPER yay! But whaaa? I was thankful it came back fine, but that also meant I still did not have an answer. My GP forewarned me that if it was an ulcer, it most likely wouldn’t be visible on the CT scan.

So, off to the gastroenterologist I went. During the two week wait for that visit, I experimented with my diet. I cut back on dairy. I did a blood test to determine if my body was making antibodies to gluten. That came back negative. Diet changes seemed to help but not by a significant amount (except for maybe some dairy), invalidating my theory that it could be a food thing. I was stumped. Maybe it was an ulcer, I thought. It just felt different than I remember… sort of. But when I was diagnosed with an ulcer the first time, I was 20 years old. Annnd, that was 20 years ago.

After talking with the gastro doc and yet another blood test, it was discovered that my body was indeed making antibodies! To Helicobacter pylori! Which doing the research that I do for every little thing, I was already aware of this corkscrew of a bacteria. It is a nasty little bugger that is said from various sources to infect 1/2 to 2/3 of the world’s population. In most people, it causes no apparent problems, but it has been found to be the cause of 80-90% of ulcers and slightly increases the risk of gastric cancer. Yippee.

The GI doc didn’t deem it necessary to do an endoscopy or anything of that nature. Based on mild symptoms that were abating at the time of my visit and the presence of the H. Pylori, it was deduced that I had an ulcer or gastritis of some sort. More likely, it was/is an ulcer, and the bacteria has probably been messing with my gut for quite some time. It was definitely a lightbulb moment as I thought about the past couple years of increasing stomach issues and such.

As of this morning, I have finished 14 days of an awesome *sarcasm* cocktail of two different antibiotics and an acid reducer that at times made me feel worse than before I started. Normally I would prefer to not take antibiotics, but after much research, I discovered that antibiotics seem to be more effective at eradicating H. Pylori than natural alternatives. So, I opted for that route because I Want. It. Gone.

So, fingers crossed it is in fact gone and was the cause of all my issues. And hopefully in a few more weeks, that gnawing, spasming pain in my belly goes away for good. It can take anywhere from four to eight weeks for an ulcer to completely heal. And, all of this could very well be the cause of my seemingly increased lactose intolerance.

Ugh. When can I trade in some of my body parts for more efficient mechanical counterparts and declare myself a badass cyborg? Come at me, brah. My stomach can digest anything. That is what I’d say if I had a biomechatronic stomach.

So enough medical talk. I’m annoying myself with my health issues. Let’s talk about where the hubs and I are, how we’re doing, and what’s going on with our relationship with the Emerald City.

Seattle. Oh, Seattle. She’s a predictable little bitch of a city. The husband and I have just endured our second winter of the predictable gloom, ‘gray, cloudy, rainy, always 53°’ that the natives always crave after another summer of ‘sunny, sunny, way hotter than normal, sunny, sunny’. Seattle basically has two seasons with a touch of Spring and a touch of Autumn. As I’ve mentioned before, I miss proper seasons.

The East coast, maybe Boston and especially Portland Maine, is still calling us… at times, the yearning is strong, then wanes, and then becomes stronger. We’re about eight months in on our lease in Fremont (where does the time go!?), and we recently talked about what we wanted to do when this lease comes to an end. On one hand, we kind of just want to live where we want to live and do it now. The flip side is that despite our feelings about Seattle, we find Washington and the Northwest in general to be one of the most beautiful areas we have witnessed in this country. And, we have several more areas (Alaska!) we want too see before taking off for the other coast.

Autumn Colors & Clouds on Artist Point

Also, it remains to be seen if a certain terrible human wins the presidency. I have never been one to say “I’m moving to another country if so-and-so becomes president.” buuut the prospect does sound appealing if that large oompa loompa becomes our next president. *shudder*

So with that, we have decided to remain at least another year after our lease is up to explore more of the west coast. The only decision that will be pressing upon us sooner rather than later is whether we want to keep residing in our current place or move to a different place and/or area of the city. Currently, we have way too much space we do not use, and the husband’s commute really sucks. But then again, we have only one adjoining neighbor and packing/moving shit yet again is not much fun. But, we could take the opportunity to experience a different neighborhood or maybe move back downtown to the hubbub we kind of miss. Decisions, decisions.

At any rate, rest assured I will hopefully have more stories and more images of Seattle and the western United States to share with y’all. And with that, I bid you adieu for now and wish you all good health!

xoxo~ Frani 


*Images: Seattle waterfront & Puget Sound (1st image) and Artist Point (2nd image)