Ouch! That looks a bit painful, doesn’t it? I did not have my camera or my phone handy earlier this week when I finished the last of three tests ordered and performed by Dr. G., my neurologist, otherwise I would have asked her to snap a lovely photo. I’ll let you imagine the awkward shot of me in a blue paper gown. Nevermind. Erase that, please.
Dr. G. is a bit of a Sherlock Holmes of medicine. She is the first physician I’ve encountered on this long health journey who believes every bit of data is important. For example, one of my previous blood tests showed the presence of cryoglobulins. I don’t know what a cryoglobulin is, but their presence in my blood five years ago sent me off to an oncologist, a pulminologist, and to an imaging center for a couple of CT scans. I pictured a PacMan goblin wreaking havoc in my veins. But the goblin…er, cryoglobulin, never reappeared in subsequent blood tests. The oncologist told me I was a “mystery patient” and sent me on my way. Perhaps there was a lab error with the test?
Yet Dr. G told me that info was significant. She also told me that I am not crazy, that I have a neuropathy, and that I do not have fibromyalgia — fibro is a “garbage” term used when doctors know something is wrong but aren’t sure what it is yet.
The photo above is of an EMG, or electromyography. Dr. G. told me that the test would likely be “uncomfortable.” I imagine the roast chicken I made last night would have felt “uncomfortable” when I stuck the temperature probe in his thigh — if he had been alive. Unlike the dead, cooked, chicken, I was very much alive, and the needle registered a bit higher than “uncomfortable.” My pain threshold is fairly high, though, so I just took deep breaths and tried to ignore the sound generated by my muscles.
What I didn’t know going into the test is that the EMG measures the electrical energy coming from muscles and converts it to an audio signal. I wish I could tell you that my muscles sang Amazing Grace or some other spiritual miracle, but really they just sounded like the irritating loud static on the weather radio.
Unfortunately, Dr. G. found something wrong with my muscles. She used the words “highly suspicious” and “myopathy,” ordered more blood tests to check for enzyme levels, and told me that many doctors begin looking for problems with nerves only to discover problems with muscles AND nerves.
So the waiting begins…again. You know, when I first began this health journey with all the goblins…er, cryoglobulins…, I was so impatient. I wanted the test results and a diagnosis STAT! (My dear husband is still a bit in this category as he has to live with me and my various pains every day.) But God is really teaching me about trust. Every leaf that gets uncovered, every abnormal test result, every mystery that unfolds — they all point to my Creator and give me the opportunity — yes, the CHANCE — to trust Him in a way that I don’t think I could have if my health was 100% normal. I sort-of understand what Paul was talking about when he wrote that he was boasting in his weakness.
Now, that was the “spiritual” me talking. The “fleshly” me is STILL impatient. I check my email fifty times a day (not really. Maybe 49) to see if the blood test results are in yet. I’ve burned up the internet looking up “myopathy” and “neuromuscular diseases” and have learned that I most likely don’t have dermatomyositis or Barth syndrome because I don’t have a rash and I am not a male. Beyond that, I have to wait until next week when I go back to Dr. G. to hear her diagnosis and/or recommendations for additional testing.
I always knew I was a featherweight weakling. Now I have the (medical) test to prove it.