I want to start by saying thank you to everyone who have reached out and who have stepped up and helped during this health scare and crazy time. We are very grateful for our community, family, and friends.
I have received a lot of questions regarding our recent health scare and the events of the past few weeks. I figured this is the best way to update everyone and also to educate on how important it is to go see your health care provider when you’re not feeling right. You are not crazy and you should always trust your gut!
It took me a bit to decide if I was going to share our health on social media. It’s personal, emotional, and we are dealing with it in real time. I kept going back and forth, but I finally decided that it is important to share these types of situations because it can ultimately help others. If you keep things private, how will others learn? Also the reason I created this platform was to share all that inspires me, to always be honest and creative, and to share my experiences (good or bad) to connect and help others through their journey.
Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with an osteoid osteoma on the top right part of my skull. An osteoma is a benign bone tumor. It needs to be removed because it’s growing and causing pain, and I will be scheduling surgery for after the holidays. Last week I met with a neurosurgeon who put me at ease with the whole diagnosis. It turns out where my osteoma is located, the surgery for removal is not difficult and very straight forward. Recovery is quick and 99% of these osteomas are benign so all of that is good news. I’m still trying to grasp the fact a metal plate will be in part of my skull, but I trust my doctors. I know it will be ok.
Of course leading up to the neurosurgeon appointment, I was just so stressed because of the unknown. The unknown of if the osteoma was cancerous, or if the surgery is life threatening, or if the tumor is life threatening, or if this whole diagnosis could actually kill me. Then thoughts kept running through my head, like “I can’t die… my babies need me. My husband needs me. I need to accomplish so much more…”. The waiting for the neurosurgeon appointment almost made me lose my mind. It was a very stressful time to say the least but I tried to remain calm, be strong for my family and for my babies, and just keep a positive energy around my children.
BUT as if we weren’t already over whelmed enough, while gearing up for my big appointment my husband, Tom, had to go to the ER late Sunday night and was admitted for three days.
Tom experienced a totally unrelated freak health event that sent him to the hospital just a few days before my neurosurgeon appointment.
We were scared. We were confused. We were on system over load.
I am not going to get into the details related to my husband’s health to keep his privacy, but after he went through test after test after test, the diagnosis was that a bad virus was attacking a main organ. The silver lining is that every test came back that he is as healthy as can be, but he had a random horrible virus that viciously attacked his body.
He was ordered by the doctors to essentially stay in bed for a week, not go into work, to basically take it easy and to take the prescribed medication.
So that is what we have been dealing with these past few weeks.
We are so thankful that we are both on the path to recovery. Both of our diagnoses are curable and everything is fine and will be fine. We keep saying, it could have been much worse. We know people who are fighting for their lives. We know people who have lost the battle to horrible diseases. Tom and I just had a rough couple weeks, but we will be ok.
We are breathing. We are here. We are alive.
I have had a bump on the top of my head for about 7ish years. I have gotten it checked out, and every doctor I have seen has told me it’s a cyst, but I’ve always had this feeling that it was more and I should push harder to get it checked out further. But when I first felt it, I was so busy with my social life, and my career, and then moving, and then having 3 kids… I can keep going, but I chose to trust my doctors and left it alone.
Fast forward to today, recently I have been so tired, like exhausted, to the point that it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning. When I’m up, it feels like I never really woke up. Yes, I know… I have 3 kids, but this exhaustion didn’t feel “normal”. Also my anxiety has been at an all time high. I’ve been losing hair. I can’t sleep and I’ve been very forgetful. And to make matters worse my hearing has been funky, my sight has been weird, and my migraines have been more frequent. Then I realized the bump on the top of my head has gotten bigger, and it’s now painful when you touch it or apply pressure to it. So I decided to go to a new primary care doc to just get things checked out.
She ordered blood work and an ultra sound.
The ultra sound lead to me getting a ct scan. The ct scan lead to the diagnosis that the growth on the top right part of my skull is a benign osteoma aka bone growth aka bone tumor. This lead me to the neurosurgeon where I will soon schedule surgery to get the osteoid osteoma removed.
My blood work revealed I was anemic and my B12 levels were extremely low. This was very significant to me because my main symptoms that made me think the worst was all because of low iron and low B12. I was told that my exhaustion, my hair loss, my anxiety, my memory, my insomnia, and my hearing will all improve once my iron and B12 levels were higher.
I now go into the doctor and receive a B12 shot every week, I take a B12 supplement, and I take an iron supplement.
I have been following my doctor’s every order, and I can say I have never felt better. I just thought being tired, and not sleeping, and the hair loss and my major anxiety, and everything else I was feeling, was related to motherhood. I just thought it was my new normal and I had to accept it. When I got my first B12 shot and felt the results, I started crying. It was like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. If I just had gone to the doctor earlier, I would have felt normal a long time ago.
Never put your health second. Never make excuses why you don’t need to go in and get checked out. Even if you are healthy, you need to see your doctor.
Why it took so long to see my doctor.
As you know, I have had 3 babies in less than 4 years and when you have 3 babies as close together as I did, you see your OBGYN often. They are your doctor and who takes care of you and who orders blood work etc. So I never thought the need to go to a primary care doctor since I was a healthy active woman and saw my OBGYN often. Also I moved around a lot in the past 5 years (Fairfield, CT to NYC, to Dallas, to Greenwich, CT) so I never had a consistent primary care doctor ever since I moved out of my parents house. Plus I have 3 young children who’s survival and well being depends on me. I am always at my children’s pediatrician’s office for regular well visits or sick visits or getting flu shots, vaccination shots, whatever! I mean, who has time to take care of themselves when you have three littles to take care of?
Bottom line is, I need to do a better job of listening to my body and seeking medical attention when something feels off and advocating for myself. I need to put my health first. It’s easy to brush off symptoms as ‘part of life’ or claim you just don’t have the time for the doctors, but in my case there were real underlying issues. When I did get the chance to see a doctor, I’d mention the growth on my head, but the doctors I saw never made it a big deal and brushed it off and told me it was a cyst. I never had any symptoms, the bump was tiny and it didn’t bother me – so I never pushed further, but I always had a gut feeling something wasn’t right.
Put Your Health First.
Going through what I’ve gone through these past few weeks, I have realized that you can never take life for granted. My diagnosis is curable. I now physically feel better because of the supplements that I am now taking, and I will schedule my surgery to remove my osteoma and then move on. But for a brief moment, I thought it wasn’t going to be ok. I just had this dark cloud of thought following me around. What if it won’t be ok… what would I have done differently? What would I want to teach my children? What would I want my legacy to be?
These past two weeks were stressful, but they also put things into perspective.
It’s a cliché, but what I’ve learned these past few stressful weeks is to live life like it’s your last day. To be thankful for your health. To love fiercely. Forgive quickly. Laugh uncontrollably. Remember that it always could be worse. To go after your dreams. To be grateful and to never regret anything that made you smile.
Life is precious. Health is precious. Love is precious. Never take life’s simple pleasures for granted.
So everyone who is reading this, please do these 6 things to make your health a priority.
- Go to your physician regularly. Make an appointment and get checked.
- Exercise regularly. I’m not talking obsessively, but be active. Go for a walk or run or bike ride. Just stay active.
- Eat a balanced diet. Eat healthy, but when you want a little treat, treat yourself. It’s all about moderation.
- Trust your gut. If you think something is wrong or you don’t feel “normal”, trust that voice inside and be an advocate for yourself.
- Meditate. Be gentle on yourself and allow time for you to breath.
- Engage in activities and/or hobbies that make you happy.
“Life is precious. Health is precious. Love is precious. Never take life’s simple pleasures for granted.” – Modishmel